Well folks it happened. Fans frothing at the mouth for football have completed the journey through the desolate off season, past the rugged barriers of spring training, beyond the shores of pre-season and now stand on the brink of the promised land; the NFL season.
Yes at times in March and April it seemed like it would never get here. But it has, with it comes more roster cuts. Players, rookie and veteran alike face the prospect of having played their last game in a Chargers uniform as the team must trim it’s roster from the current 75 man count to the 53 man roster size by Sunday, September 5.
Players on the bubble hope that they have done enough in pre-season to show that they deserve to be on the team, or at least get one of the few practice squad spots. Some who are cut will find spots on the rosters or squads of other teams, others will be looking to start a new careers.
Young players on the bubble are players like Seyi Ajirotutu (yes I had to type that slowly to get it right). Seyi, an un-drafted rookie free agent had a respectable pre-season where he pulled in 7 receptions in four games, but was able to get a 19.55 yards per catch, and a catch of 56 yards.
Another such player is Curtis ‘Boonah’ Brinkley. Curtis is a player I personally pulled for, many fans will remember he was the player who last year in Philadelphia was shot and nearly lost his life. In communicating with this young man and proud new father, he displayed courage and a positive attitude many of us could only hope to have in the face of such adversity.
Curtis has done some interviews with BoltTalk during the off season, which further makes me pull for him, but it was seeing him in the pre-season opener take the hand off, run to the right side of the line, hit the wall, and have the vision, speed and presence of mind to bounce what would have been a stop for a loss of yardage into a 14 yard gain that really made me take notice.
I will readily admit that I was nervous when I did not see him in the second game against Dallas, and saw him for only a few plays against New Orleans. But Against the 49’ers it was his night to shine. He produced 57 yards on 13 carries scoring a rushing touch down. He also added 5 receptions for 43 yards.
Curtis made an impression on me by always telling me that his “dream was differed, not denied.” While he was recovering from his gun shot wounds. I hope now he can live the dream, but come Sunday we will know for sure.
Curtis ‘Boonah’ Brinkley interview; after the 49’ers game:
Other rookies and some veterans wait anxiously for the cut downs Sunday. However, the core group of veterans, the first and second string players looked good in per-season. Mind you it is not time to start selling those stocks and bonds to buy that Super Bowl package just yet, but the Offense looked to be hitting on all cylinders, even without the notable hold outs of Left Tackle Marcus McNeil and Vincent Jackson. Enough talk about them, on to the players who are on the field!
The Offense as I stated before looked to be continuing to eat yardage like they have for the last few season under Head Coach Norv Turner. Quarterback Philip Rivers in what playing time he had threw for two touch downs and continued to display a confident, ‘gun slinger’ mentality of throwing the ball into places where other QBs would consider tightly covered. Unfortunately as a leader of the team, Rivers decided to play defense, tackling a defender who had the audacity to intercept one of his gun slinger passes.
While it did bring a huge smile to my face, and I am sure buy him more credit with his fellow players, arguably it displayed a ‘lead by example’ mentality, it also made me cringe! Philip, buddy, it is pre-season. Love the spunk, but don’t go tackling anyone in pre-season! :lol:
Malcolm Floyd showed up as one of Rivers favorite targets, which is good because they will have to hook up many times in the regular season. Ryan Matthews showed that with him in the backfield the Chargers will have a balanced Offensive attack that should leave defenders guessing who is going to get the ball.
The Defense showed some flashes and trickery. The Defensive line to me looked solid most of the time, either holding their own or getting good push against the opposing offensive lines. I think it is important to clarify that you do not have to touch the opposing QB to get pressure. If the DL and the Line Backers, or Secondary blitzers can force the QB to throw the ball early, disrupting timing often that is as good as a hit. Now I admit, I want the hit on the QB from our D. I want to see the opposing QB lying on the ground under a Charger defender.
Now looking into my crystal ball (which strangely looks like a plastic 8 ball full of blue liquid) and I have to say baring major injuries the Chargers have to be the favorite to win the Division, and with a balanced attack on O, and a stout line on D, we should be able to challenge for a Super Bowl birth. Those are a lot of ‘ifs’ though for a game of focused violence, such as this.
I will leave you with one last thought. History is just that, it is history. The Chargers have been knocked out of the playoffs early. But this is a new year and THIS history remains to be written. The talking heads who predict doom and gloom for our bolts because of a few players who do not want to be on the field, or because of history are sadly mistaken. I am cautiously optimistic that our NEW history will be one we can all enjoy and look back on in fondness.
Lets see how I feel come January.