Will 2014 be another Cinderella season for the Chargers? Take a look at some of the cast who could change the franchises future.
Returning veterans from the 2013 Divisional Playoff team include such fan-favorites as Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd and Keenan Allen on offense, as well as Eric Weddle, Melvin Ingram, Kendell Reyes, Manti Te’o and Dwight Freeney on the defense. Training Camp also is the fans’ first chance to see the Chargers’ 2014 rookie class, led by cornerback Jason Verrett and outside linebacker Jerry Attaochu, as well as key veteran signees such as cornerback Brandon Flowers and running back Donald Brown.
Pro Player Insider’s Theresa Villano caught up with the Bolts at training camp to see what fans can expect from them this season. Watch their message here:
Here is a further break down of the nuts and Bolts that make up the Qualcomm cast:
The Future, Jason Verett
As a cornerback in his first year is expected to play out as successfully is another legendary horn frog from TCU LT. Verrett fills an obvious need and the Chargers defense. He is far from short, his instincts on the field take him to new heights. At the camp you could see the competitiveness come out in him. He has the electric spark the bolts need.
The Big Man, Kendall Reyes
Kendall Reyes is the big man. Weighing in at over 300 pounds and being 6ft 4 inches, calling him a big man is an understatement. It’s an understatement especially for the way he plays. Reyes going into his 4th year is primed to explode this season playing alongside fellow defensive end Corey Liuget. Reyes was second on the team to Liuget in sacks, QB pressures, and QB hits. Reyes with his size and speed will be a definite impact player with coach Pagano’s revamped defense. Not many know Reyes was a wide receiver in high school that may be why he has that quick twitch at the line of scrimmage and is still able to take on two blockers and play the run like a nose guard.
The Brain, Phillip Rivers
Last year was a career year for Phillip Rivers, who threw for 32 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. This is the biggest TD/Int. differential in Mr.Bolo’s career. He is “the Brain” on the field and the obvious respected leader of this team. The Chargers go as he goes. With the new addition of first time offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, Phillip is well on his way to becoming a playoff contender again this year. His 69.5 percent completion percentage is a gigantic boost to the offense. It shows his ability to make the right call and decision on the field which leads to more completions and longer drives. In Bolo we trust.
The Pro Bowl Beard, Eric Weddle
Eric Weddle, the mature bearded Pro Bowler, is heading into his 9th season. Since his days at Utah, he has been a groundbreaker and an impact performer. One of the reasons he continues to be as successful and feared as he is, is due his ability to play smart. He is unquestionably the quarterback of the secondary. You don’t get to be a 4 time all pro selection by being second best. His 12 interceptions over the last 3 years tie Weddle for 3rd in the NFL. Please note “The Beard” returned 3 of his 18 career interceptions for touchdowns. Playing smart is probably the reason why he hasn’t missed a game in 4 years. Weddle doesn’t miss games, but has he missed his appointment with the barber?
The Roots, Brandon Flowers
Growth in the back field is need. Now the that the former Kansas City Chief is here with solid roots and expertise at cornerback the defense can only get better. Coming off his first Pro Bowl season, Flowers is used to covering slot receivers, where he had 68 tackles, a sack and an interception. Defensive coordinator, John Pagano, will allow No.26 time (like true root) to soak up the Bolts was to play certain routes and put the quick shooting Flowers to work capitalizing further on his 17 career interceptions in his career. His speed, craftiness and unique look in Chargers blue, calls for a fresh start to a pass defense which ranked 29th last season. The Roots hit songs describe Brandon’s future in San Diego best, “Here I Come” in “The Next Movement.”
The Sack Man, Jerry Attaochu
Another first-year defensive threat looked versatile and strong out at training camp. The Chargers traded up and even sacrificed their fourth round to take Jerry as their second. Jerry’s ability to get right to the quarterback and his versatility will ensure success. Training Camp solidifies that he brings energy to the defense of line and San Diego.
The Diamond Keenan Allen
With so many players in the NFL we don’t always recognize the emerging stars. But coast-to-coast last season Keenan Allen made a name for himself. After being seen at the NFL Honors because of his impressive rookie of the year status, Allen will now be acknowledged as a diamond in the Chargers offensive ring. In the 2013 season, Keenan set the team record for the most receiving yards by a rookie at 1,046 yards. He was voted runner up for the AP offensive rookie of the year and training camp proved that he will get the majority of snaps as a starter. It was obvious the chemistry between he and Rivers is continuing to build.
The Passion, Darrell Stuckey
Darrell Stuckey exudes passion for the game. The only way you can be a special teams captain and special teams “Player of the Year” is by embodying relentless and fearless passion. Everyone knows that special teams determine many a game’s outcome. A fumble, a bone crushing hit, or a stop inside of the ten yard line can skew the outcome completely. Darrell’s hunger to ball out has led him to top the NFL special teamers with six stops and six tackles inside of the 20 on punts. Stuckey is now primed to see more action in the secondary, as well.
The Pilot, Malcom Floyd
The Hope, Manti T’eo
The Supa Melv, Melvin Ingram
Melvin Ingram, John Gruden once said the “most exciting player in the draft”. His ability to play multiple positions in college has made him so valuable. Supa Melv’s speed is tremendous and he is ready to be the next great pass rusher for the Chargers. After tearing his ACL he was back on the field after 5 months proving his ability of being super human. As a rookie alone, Ingram played in all 16 games and record 12 special teams’ tackles. Melvin is a rare talent and I truly believe he is destined for greatness. Up, Up, and Away! The AFC offensives look like a job for Supa Melv.
Here are more shots of the Chargers … their foundation will be everything in 2014 as the fulfill their aspirations of winning the Super Bowl.
–By Theresa Villano and Victor Hourani
Follow @Theresa_ppi and @vicaint
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