Tag Archives: Kansas City Chiefs

Three Things To Watch For This 2014 Chargers Season

With training camp now open the San Diego Chargers enter the upcoming NFL season with big expectations after a surprising wild card berth and visit to the second round of the NFL’s playoffs. The Chargers have stayed consistent with the plan, bolstering the overall depth of the squad at several important positions, especially on the defense. Here are three key things to watch as the Chargers training camp progresses.

Chargers Pass Rush, “The Freeney Factor”: if healthy Dwight Freeney is the rare type of edge rusher that can have a major impact on a defense. The veteran pass-rusher made a return to contract drills as camp started, a good sign that the Chargers will have a healthy Freeney as the season starts. After tearing his quad Freeney made just four starts last season, registering just a half a sack. When healthy he’s one of the best pass rushers in football, but coming off of an injury and at the age of 34 it’s hard to project what the Chargers have in Freeney for the upcoming season. Freeney isn’t the only Charger coming off of a major injury. Melvin Ingram tore his ACL in training camp and missed the majority of the regular season, while Donald Butler missed a handful of games due to a groin injury. If all three players are healthy, as they are currently, the Chargers pass rush should be greatly improved.

 The “other” Wideout: The Chargers struck gold when they drafted Keenan Allen last season. The rookie quickly become the top rookie wideout in football and arguably should have been chosen the NFL’s rookie of the year over Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers. Allen had 71 receptions for over one-thousand yards and 8 touchdowns last season, forming a tremendous partnership with Philip Rivers. The Chargers entered last season with major questions at wide receiver, until Allen stepped up. This year the Chargers again have major questions at wide receiver, beyond the presence of Allen. Malcolm Floyd, returning from injury, is the likely number two starter, with Eddie Royal the best option in the slot and as the third receiver. The nine-year veteran has been a consistent second and third option throughout his career. Royal started the season strong but fell off towards the second half. He’ll be challenged by Vincent Brown and potentially by 7th rounder Tevin Reese. With the presence of a legitimate number one receiver, the Chargers have to feel a lot more comfortable about the position. Like the pass rush though, the big question is whether Floyd and Royal can stay healthy.

 An Elite Group of Defensive Backs?: With acquisition of Brandon Flowers and the draft of Jas Verrett do the Chargers now have an elite group of defensive backs? Elite defenses in the NFL are punctuated by a strong pass rush and good cover cornerbacks. Last season the cornerback position was a weakness for the Chargers. This offseason San Diego greatly upgraded the position through a bit of luck and the drafting of Verrett. When the Kansas City Chiefs cut Brandon Flowers for salary cap reasons the Chargers quickly pounced on the veteran who was motivated to say in the same division as the Chiefs. Flowers has regularly been rated a top ten corner by Pro Football Focus. His veteran presence and confidence could have a domino effect that helps the overall Chargers defense, especially the defensive back group. With Flowers in the fold the Chargers can now play Verrett, a talented cover corner, as a fifth defensive back and slot corner. In a division that includes the Denver Broncos and enhanced secondary is crucial.

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Broncos Get Home Field Advantage

Denver Broncos

Broncos

Needing a win to take home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs the Denver Broncos went into Oakland and took care of business defeating the pitiful Raiders 34-14. The Broncos scored early and often, running out to a 31-0 halftime lead behind another incredible performance by soon to be MVP Peyton Manning. The Broncos veteran quarterback destroyed the NFL records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season, throwing four more touchdown passes in the Broncos victory. Manning finished the regular season with an incredible 5,477 yards passing and 55 touchdowns. As usual Manning spread the ball around, throwing two touchdowns to Demaryius Thomas and strikes to Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno.

Payton Manning

Manning

Where the game was won: It was all Manning once again. The future Hall of Famer completed 25 of 28 passes, the highest completion percentage in his career in a game where he threw at least 28 passes. Oakland, playing out the string in yet another tough season, provided very little opposition in the game. The Broncos had 458 total yards en route to resting Manning for much of the second half. In addition to the huge game from Manning the Broncos had another game of balanced rushing with Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and Moreno combined for 129 yards rushing. The Broncos defense, without star passing rusher Von Miller, was huge early, only giving up two late garbage time touchdowns to the Raiders. After re-setting the record for touchdown passes on a season last week when Manning passed Tom Brady’s record, the Broncos quarterback passed Drew Brees’s record for passing yardage in a season. Manning’s passing efficiency rating of 113 was a full 16 points over his career average. Victory in hand the Broncos will wait to see who comes out on top in the AFC wild card round before they host a divisional round game in two weeks time. The Broncos will face the lowest ranked winner between the Bengals, Chargers, Colts and Chiefs.

Up next for Denver: Based on the wild card games the Broncos would likely prefer to face anyone but the Colts who beat them behind in Indianapolis two months ago. The Broncos swept the Chiefs this season, and split with the Chargers. If the Bengals win the Broncos cannot face Cincinnati since they are the third seed in the playoffs. The interesting matchup for Denver could be San Diego. The Broncos lost at home to the Chargers two weeks ago behind a big defensive performance for the Chargers. San Diego did the best job of slowing down the Broncos offense of any team Denver faced this season. If San Diego can manage to defeat the Bengals they’ll travel to Denver. If Cincinnati beats the Chargers the Broncos are guaranteed to play either the Colts or Chiefs. By: Chris Cabrera

Chargers Pull Off Miracle Against Chiefs

SD Chargers

Chargers

Just when it looked like the San Diego Chargers would suffer a disappointing loss to a Chiefs team without quarterback Alex Smith the Chargers overcame a ten point fourth quarter deficit to win the game and make the playoffs in Mike McCoy’s first year as the team’s head coach. After Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop missed a field goal that would have won the game for Kansas City in regulation Chargers kicker Nick Novak nailed a game winning field goal in overtime. The Chargers moved the ball into field goal range after a gutsy fourth down fake punt call. Eric Weddle gained the fourth down for San Diego on the fake, extending the Chargers eventual game-winning drive. The Chargers were able to clinch a playoff spot after both Baltimore and Miami lost games that could have clinched them a playoff spot. The Chargers, one of three teams to make the playoffs from the AFC West, will travel to Cincinnati next weekend to take on the AFC North winning Bengals. Chargers Tickets for the all road playoff games are available now.

SD Charger Fans

Charger Fans

Where the game was won: The Chargers, who many counted out just a few weeks ago, had a tougher than expected time overcoming a game Kansas City team. The Chiefs were playing without their quarterback Alex Smith and star running back Jamal Charles. Chase Daniel, the former Missouri Tigers star, put together a solid game for Kansas City, leading them to an eventual ten point fourth quarter lead. The Chiefs defense held tight and scored the game’s only third quarter points on a Succop field goal to make the score 24-14. Down ten Philip Rivers and the Chargers pulled within a touchdown on an Eddie Royal six yard TD catch. The Chargers would score again on a Nick Novak field goal with just over three minutes left to tie the game. Succop’s miss would send the game to overtime where the Chargers prevailed.

Bengals Fan

Bengals Fans

Up next for the Chargers: The Chargers travel to Cincinnati to take on a physical Bengals team that defeated San Diego 17-10 in San Diego just a month ago. The Bengals have one of the most talented young rosters in the NFL, led by quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver AJ Green and running back Giovani Bernard. The Bengals held San Diego to a season-low in points in their last meeting, stymieing the running game while overcoming the Chargers with a solid running game. The combination of BenJarvus Green Ellis and Bernard gained 164 yards on 34 attempts. To defeat the Bengals on the road the Chargers will need to control the Bengals running game while not giving up any turnovers to Cincinnati. If San Diego can hold onto the football and play their usual ball control offense they can force Andy Dalton to beat them.

The Chargers pull the upset behind a solid performance by Rivers. The Chargers quarterback and running back Ryan Mathews lead a ball control offense that keeps the ball out of the hands of Bengals star receiver AJ Green. 24-23 Bengals. By:Chris Michaels.

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2012-2013 preview for Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders 2012-2013 Preview

The Oakland Raiders will be a different organization beginning with the 2012 NFL season. With the passing of legendary Raider icon Al Davis, the unwavering face of the Oakland franchise since 1963, the 2012 Raiders must now fashion a new identity beyond what Al Davis had formed. The first step of that new identity began when the Raiders traded for quarterback Carson Palmer from the Cincinnati Bengals during the middle of the season last year. The Raiders ended up with a record of 8-8, resulting in a three way tie for first place among the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers, barely missing the playoffs due to tie breakers. With a tragic and tumultuous season behind them, what will the brand new Raiders look like in 2012 and beyond?

With a new beginning supporting them, the Oakland Raiders hired new general manager Reggie McKenzie during this past offseason and in return, McKenzie hired on Dennis Allen to fill the head coaching void left over by Hue Jackson. Also, new offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp has begun to implement a new offense to help supplement both Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden.

Carson Palmer was in an intense deadlock between himself and the Cincinnati Bengals around this same time last year with Palmer demanding to be traded or else he was going to “retire” from football. About half way through the season, Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell went down with a season ending injury and the Raiders made the trade for Palmer. With an entire offseason and a new offensive coordinator, Palmer looks to regain his prolific passing and playmaking ability. Palmer will have some promising young wide outs in Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford. Both these wide receivers will look to take over the passing game in the wake of departed Louis Murphy and Kevin Boss. Darren McFadden was on pace to lead the league in rushing until he was injured and sidelined for the remainder of the season. Both McFadden and Palmer essentially have not played a regular NFL game together. With the mix of both McFadden and Palmer healthy and on the same page, the 2012 Raiders offense should be leaps and bounds better than last year.

Oakland’s defense on the other hand is something that needs to be improved. The Raiders lost defensive players Kamerion Wimbley, Lito Sheppard, Stanford Routt, Jarvis Moss, Trevor Scott, John Henderson, Quentin Groves, and Darryl Blackstock this offseason. In response to this mass exodus of defensive players, the Raiders used four of its six draft picks selecting defensive players, none of them looking like an immediate impact player. Oakland did lock up All Pro safety Tyvon Branch to a multi-year deal securing the safety position for awhile. However, the remaining secondary looks to be a prime target for opposing offensive air attacks. Linebacker, Rolando McClain looks to take over the defense but off the field issues could ruin that notion. The one bright spot on the Raiders defense is its defensive line, anchored by defensive tackles Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly.

The Raiders have gone through a transformation moving from a solid organization knowing exactly who they are and where they come from however a new chapter has begun with the passing of legendary icon Al Davis. With so many changes to the franchise and roster, it is hard to tell where the Raiders will end up when the 2012 season concludes. They play in the AFC’s weakest division but the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos have also made significant improvements this offseason however they have done it with fewer turnovers within their respective organizations. The Kansas City Chiefs have a solid team but were plagued with injuries last season. With so many variables and changes to the Raiders, the outlook for this season may not be as bright as the other three teams in its division when all is said and done.

San Diego Chargers 2012-2013 Season Outlook

San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers

Last year the San Diego Chargers finished in a three way tie for first place in its division with a record of 8-8, losing out on the playoffs due to a tie breaker over the Denver Broncos. Ryan Mathews was ready to take on the lead running back role and was injured for the majority of the mid season while Philip Rivers threw 20 interceptions and noticeably choking under pressure during the fourth quarter of close games in one of his worst seasons as a starter. With the departures of big time pro-bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson and goal line running back Mike Tolbert, what does the 2012 season hold for the San Diego Chargers?

The Chargers have taken the necessary steps to try and replace both Jackson and Tolbert. Personnel brought in wide receivers Eddie Royal, Robert Meachem, Michael Spurlock, and Roscoe Parrish from free agency. Obviously not all the receivers can start at the same time and all are light years away from being the talent of Vincent Jackson however the Chargers would not have let Jackson go via free agency as easily as they did if they did not have the confidence in Malcolm Floyd. Floyd has the same physique as Jackson and flourished last season with most of his catches going for first downs and leading the league in average yards per catch. The Chargers now have a deep threat opposite of Floyd in Meachem and an excellent slot receiver in Royal to go along with last year’s rookie wide out Vincent Brown. The addition of Roscoe Parrish for kick return duties should help the special teams get back to where they once were with Darren Sproles.
The Charger’s front office also brought in veterans Ronnie Brown and Le’Ron McClain to help fill the void left over from Mike Tolbert. Ronnie Brown is a proven pro-bowl player in the league and should be a solid back up for Ryan Mathews. Le’Ron McClain comes in as the immediate starting fullback, primarily brought in for blocking assignments. Look to see the Chargers regain its offensive firepower from years past as Philip Rivers now has a dynamic offensive attack. With the addition of Meachem and Royal, look for Rivers to find Antonio Gates a lot more in the redzone rather than the middle of the field. With McClain blocking and Brown a viable backup, Mathews also looks poised for solid season, if he can stay healthy.

The Chargers also addressed its defense through the draft by using its first three selections on defensive players. With the 18th overall pick the Chargers selected diverse and flexible linebacker Melvin Ingram. Ingram is said to be undersized but he has great hands and excellent footwork. Don’t be surprised if Ingram is in the running for defensive rookie of the year toward the end of the season. Still the Chargers have some holes on defense especially at nose tackle and corner depth. Marcus Gilchrist, second year player, looks to start opposite of Quenton Jammer at corner and expect a battle between Antonio Garay, Corey Liegut, Louis Castillo, and rookies Eddie Brown and Garrett Brown to fight for the starting positions on the defensive line.
Although the Chargers are not nationally recognized as one of the top teams in the AFC, San Diego plays in one of the weaker divisions in the NFL and therefore still has an excellent shot at making the playoffs in the 2012 season. The Chargers have favorable schedule, only having to play the Steelers, Saints, Ravens, and Falconsd as teams that had 10 or more wins last season. Watch for Week 10 when the Chargers travel to Vincent Jackson’s new team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The road to the playoffs won’t be easy as Peyton Manning will be calling the audibles in Denver, and the Kansas City Chiefs look to bounce back from an awful 2011 season as well. The Chargers have a good enough team on paper at this point to contend for the division title but the pressure will be on Philip Rivers and Norv Turner to produce a winning playoff team especially when Rivers’ two cohort draft day quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning have both won a pair of Super Bowl rings.