Posts Tagged ‘Chargers’

The NFL draft begins Thursday and I am noticing I’m not really looking forward to it.

That’s an odd feeling in that I covered the draft as a professional more than a dozen times at either the professional or college level. And always made sure my Saturdays were clear to watch it prior to that well before this decade’s dumb three-day format.

Analyzing things, I can see why I’m not all that interested in the 2017 NFL draft.

That’s because this is the first draft in my lifetime in which my hometown doesn’t have an NFL team.

Not the least bit interested in who the Los Angeles Chargers pick. Geez, it is hard writing that city’s name before Chargers.

The Chargers belong to San Diego, not the smog clowns and silicone fakes of Los Angeles. The draft is really the first time a big NFL event happens in which the Chargers aren’t referred to as “San Diego Chargers.”

When Roger Goodell reads that phrase off the cue card as the Chargers make their first-round pick, it is a loud reminder to the football world that San Diego is no longer an NFL town.

Dean Spanos had ample opportunities to make it work in San Diego and didn’t have the big-boy leadership abilities to make it happen. Good riddance to him and his poorly run organization.

That is where we will miss the draft — mocking the Chargers for their sad first-round picks.

The lousy picks roll off the tongue easily — receiver Walker Gillette in 1970, running back Leon Burns in 1971, fullback Bo Matthews in 1974, cornerback Mossy Cade in 1984 (Google him to see what a total reject he is) and the biggest draft bust of all-time in quarterback Ryan Leaf in 1998.

There are many other busts — one of my favorites being receiver Craig “Buster” Davis in 2007. I called up Davis’ receivers coach at LSU while writing a profile story and got greeted with all kinds of criticisms of Davis’ desire, toughness and inability to stay healthy.

Guess what Davis was known for during his 26 total games over four seasons with the Chargers? Yep, low desire, no toughness, always injured.

During Davis’ second season, I already wrote song lyrics about him called “Wasted Draft Pick,” to the tune of Rod Stewart’s “Infatuation.”

Great pick, A.J. Smith! Might want to talk a player’s position coach before you select him.

Of course, there were superb first-round picks over the years too — defensive tackle Gary “Big Hands” Johnson in 1975, tight end Kellen Winslow in 1979, defensive end Leslie O’Neal in 1986, linebacker Junior Seau in 1990, running back LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001 and the great quarterback maneuver of 2004 when Eli Manning refused to play for the Chargers but Smith drafted him anyway before working out a trade with the New York Giants for Philip Rivers.

General manager Tom Telesco has fared well in the first round of the last three drafts with cornerback Jason Verrett, running back Melvin Gordon and defensive end Joey Bosa.

The Chargers select seventh this time around so they are positioned well to land another good talent.

But there will be a different feeling when Telesco makes his pick.

You see, these aren’t the San Diego Chargers anymore. So it no longer is a big deal if the team scores with its pick or lands another bust.

Perhaps that is why the draft’s appeal isn’t there for me this year. My hometown doesn’t have a team and the fun is gone.

You see, I could care less if a team from Los Angeles messes up its draft.

Weekly links is back and what a weird week for San Diego football fans.

Dean Spanos is finally taking the Chargers to Los Angeles and he has become a national laughingstock. It felt like only San Diegans were aware of what a dork the guy is but the announcement of the move displayed that all football fans are fully aware.

Even other pro sports team were mocking the Chargers … ouch. And you could almost hear that spineless public relations director yelling “Take a chill pill” if you recall that silly incident from the 2012 season.

My favorite thing I ran across was some Los Angeles writer giving a rundown of the organization and wondering if the move to Los Angeles could affect the Chargers’ on-field play in 2017.

Ummmmmm, they are 9-23 over the past two seasons, dude. And they were the only team in the NFL to lose to the dreadful Cleveland Browns.

If moving to Los Angeles is going to affect the record, the Chargers will BE the Cleveland Browns.

Happiest team about the Chargers’ move to Los Angeles is the soccer team that will share the StubHub Center with the Chargers.

That’s because the LA Galaxy are guaranteed to still be the highest-scoring team playing in that venue.

 

OK, on to the links.

It will be interesting to see how the Dallas Cowboys fare against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Quarterback Dak Prescott and fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott (NFL-best 1,631 rushing yards) haven’t looked like novices during a 13-3 season. But how will they handle the playoff pressure?

Prescott has handled everything well while going from projected third-stringer to making Tony Romo forever irrelevant. But the playoffs are a completely different animal and things can go wrong quickly.

You might recall Dan Fouts’ first career playoff game as the leader of the Don Coryell Chargers. He threw five interceptions and the heavily favored Chargers lost to the Houston Oilers.

If a Hall of Famer like Fouts could fall flat on his face, so can a fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State.

Not to forget that Aaron Rodgers is hotter than lava (you bet lava made it into my lead) and is an experienced veteran of the playoff wars. Rodgers has thrown 18 touchdown passes without being intercepted over the past seven games.

Here is the stellar Packers-Cowboys preview — http://www.upi.com/Sports_News/NFL/2017/01/12/Green-Bay-Packers-vs-Dallas-Cowboys-Aaron-Rodgers-Dak-Prescott-under-the-microscope/9991484249346/

 

Now that it is mid-January, it is time to start figuring out which college basketball conferences are good and which ones are pretenders.

I haven’t yet figured out where the SEC stands but I know what direction I’m leaning.

Kentucky is pretty talented but we saw South Carolina collapse late last season to be relegated to the NIT so it is hard to take the Gamecocks seriously.

Which brings me to Florida.

I’ve had to watch the Gators play a few times lately and write about them because I’m paid to do so and their record (13-3, 4-0 SEC) appears to be better than the sum of its parts.

In Tuesday’s 80-67 victory over Alabama (now that school is a pretender), it was Florida’s ninth-leading scorer playing the hero. Some guy named Keith Stone and his 14-point effort improved his scoring average to 4.6.

You can say it is a good quality when a team can have its ninth-best player lead them in scoring. But the other fact is that teams like this typically start displaying their true colors in mid-February.

They don’t tend to get better — and often will decline.

Florida has one good scorer in sophomore KeVaughn Allen. Senior Canyon Barry (son of Rick) provides scoring punch off the bench but it isn’t a team that scares anyone.

The Gators play Georgia (I’m leaning toward pretender for the Bulldogs) on Saturday and I will be watching closely.

Here is the stellar Georgia-Florida preview — http://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/no-23-florida-goes-for-7th-straight-vs-georgia/

 

The Los Angeles Rams hired a coach who turns 31 years old on Jan. 24.

That’s correct — 31 years old. Not 41. Not 51. Not 61. Heck, not 71.

Sean McVay was hired by the Rams to turn around their fortunes and perhaps he’s too young to know that’s nearly impossible. And since Kroenke the Donkey owns the team, is there anybody anywhere that wants to see the Rams win?

McVay is the youngest coach in NFL history as I’m sure you figured out. He was most recently the offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins.

The fun part about stories like this is you see a report and you start writing and reporting like a madman. It took just 15 minutes to write this breaking news and that includes doing all the research on McVay’s background and searching for statements from McVay and the Rams.

This story was out on the national wire 20 minutes before the Rams even released the news themselves.

That is part of the fun as you never know what you might have to write on a moment’s notice.

So now I’m well-versed on Sean McVay.

Oh, there is a player on the Rams who is older than McVay. Now that’s funny.

Here is the stellar breaking news story — http://www.sportsxchange.com/tsxfiles/?page_id=211&max_colums=60&story_id=156335

Earlier this week, I learned that the San Diego Padres were ready to move All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, a ridiculous notion no matter how you shake it with Gonzalez being the best financial bargain in baseball.

I wrote that they would become the West Coast version of the Pittsburgh Pirates (read: complete laughingstocks) if they traded Gonzalez, the lone reason to even care that the Padres exist in the summer of 2009.

But the Padres proved that they are indeed the Pittsburgh Pirates of the West Coast on Friday anyway by giving away 2007 Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox shortly before the trading deadline.

The Padres received one major-league caliber pitcher (Clayton Richard) and three I-sure-hope-one-of-you-pans-out pitching prospects from the White Sox, who pulled off one of the swiftest and boldest trading-deadline moves of this decade.

But perhaps that’s why the White Sox can look back on a recent World Series title and the Padres can look back on … um, well, all the Padres have to look back on is all the top talent they’ve given away over the years as they wonder how come they have ZERO World Series titles to crow about.

Jake Peavy, in the prime of his career, is the big winner in this whole deal. Hey, he’s going to an organization that actually wants to win. The Padres are doing all they can to prove they have no interest in winning — hey John Moores, you broke every promise you made about how Petco Park would allow you to retain key players.

Let me spell out the word that describes you: L-I-A-R.

You will never heard such sentiment from the soft San Diego media columnists, who are more interested in sucking up to the bad pro sports owners in town than bucking up and writing the truth. Hey, the Padres and Chargers have won the same number of World Series and Super Bowl titles as the local bus driver: None.

Peavy is in Chicago because there’s a owner (Jerry Reinsdorf) on the South Side of Chicago more interested in winning than hosting fireworks nights or having his players wear ugly camouflage uniforms.

I love the fact that Reinsdorf was orginally against trading for Peavy on Friday when general manager Kenny Williams approached him 90 minutes before the deadline. But upon hearing out Williams and assistant GM Rick Hahn, Reinsdorf signed on and approved taking on the financial commitment. (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090801&content_id=6181978&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb)

That right there is the difference between an organization committed to winning and an organization now mentioned along with the Pittsburgh Pirates as the two biggest laughingstock teams in baseball.

Somehow, I get the feeling that Padres general manager Kevin Towers called Williams up and pleaded with him — “come on Kenny, please, come on, please do the deal” — under orders from the cheap Padres management.

Peavy will earn $15 million in 2010, $16 million in 2011 and $17 million in 2012 with the White Sox holding a $22 million option for 2013 (or they can buy out Peavy for $4 million). And now that he’s teaming up with All-Star lefty Mark Buehrle (he of two no-hitters, including a recent perfect game), I can predict a World Series ring in Peavy’s future.

I sure couldn’t predict that for Peavy if he had stayed in San Diego. Oh, no, not at all. You see, the Padres are run like the Pirates — you know, a minor-league franchise.

So say hello to your new franchise — the San Diego Pirates.

Chatted with David Eckstein the other day and have to say it was a nice rarity. No, not because he likely joins only Darren Sproles of the Chargers as pro players I’ve interviewed that I’m taller than. It was a joy because he was a total class act to deal with. Eckstein might be the most modest World Series MVP and two-time All-Star in baseball history. We discussed his early-season impact on the Padres, the way he plays the game and his propensity for fouling off pitches (yes, sometimes he does so intentionally). Manager Bud Black and general manager Kevin Towers both had glowing things to say about the player off to an Eck-ceptional start … http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2009-04-27/sports/eckstein-defines-hustle-other-baseball-cliches

Pretty stunning to me is that the release of the NFL schedule suddenly requires two-hour television shows by the NFL Network and ESPN. I guess the NFL Network needs to find some reason (any reason) to get people to tune in (the schedule release was just the second time I watched the network since the season ended) but you can’t tell me ESPN couldn’t have used the time better by televising a baseball game. (Hey, at least the Eastern Sports Pansy Network wasn’t showing more Red Sox-Yankees junk that 90 percent of the country doesn’t care about.)  When you factor in that there was very little mystery (we already knew the Chargers’ opponents for 2009, we just didn’t know the order) it’s amazing to me that a 30-minute schedule release show can’t suffice … http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2009-04-17/sports/mike-sullivan-schedule-schmedule

The mile-low feud in Denver has ended with the Broncos trading disgruntled quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears. The Chargers are one of the big winners from Cutler’s departure from Denver because they now don’t have to worry about facing Cutler twice a season for the next decade. In fact, Cutler’s departure from the AFC West extends the Chargers’ championship window and it appears they should be able to cruise toward another division title in 2009.  Stopping Kyle Orton or Chris Simms is a much easier assignment than Cutler, one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL … http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2009-04-03/sports/mike-sullivanbroncos-loss-is-chargers-win

When I first heard rumblings last fall that LaDainian Tomlinson might not be employed by the Chargers in 2009, I scoffed because it just made no sense. He wasn’t performing up to the unreachable level he reached in 2006 but it wasn’t like he had become a stiff. He was playing through a toe injury and still finished as the NFL’s 10th-leading rusher so it wasn’t like there was proof that he was suddenly over-the-hill. You just don’t let the face of your franchise go unless it is clear that he’s finished because you don’t want him to go star somewhere else and make your organization look silly (you know, like Rodney Harrison did).  Here was my opinion on the Chargers doing the right thing and making sure Tomlinson was part of the 2009 Chargers …  http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2009-03-17/sports/keeping-lt-a-good-decision