Nov 1, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (left) holds on to the ball as San Diego Chargers inside linebacker Donald Butler (bottom) and cornerback Marcus Gilchrist (38) bring him down as Chiefs tackle Branden Albert (right) looks on during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Taking One For The Team, Part 1


Sometimes, in the never ending quest for excellence, you have to make unspeakable sacrifices. No matter at what personal cost, we, as humans, can sometimes do things we never thought possible, if something that important is at stake. That is why this week, I spent most of my free time on Bolt Beat, our sister site dedicated to, yes, the San Diego Chargers.

Now let me make one thing clear at the onset: Bolt Beat, as part of the FanSided.com family along with Arrowhead Addict, is a great site with smart writing and passionate fans. But being submerged in Charger-world for  a week would make any Addict want to (a) shower; (b) crawl into a deep hole; and (c) get the heck back to Arrowhead Addict.

I decided to spend a week with the blue and yellow because I consider the Chargers our most immediate competition for the playoffs. My way-to-early prediction for next year’s division winners is:

  • AFC East: New England Patriots
  • AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals
  • AFC South: Houston Texans
  • AFC West: Denver Broncos

For the two wildcard spots, I think the following teams will be in contention:

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • San Diego Chargers
  • Kansas City Chiefs

The Ravens are a lock. The Colts will be even better than their surprise 11-5 record last year, but with a much, much tougher schedule. But the Chargers and Chiefs have two games with one another. A sweep by the Chiefs could push us into that 10-6 range that we’ll need to make it into the playoffs, and importantly, could close the door on the Bolts’ postseason hopes.

Here’s what I learned over at Bolt Beat.

New leadership: D.J. Fluker. The Chargers picked right tackle Fluker with the eleventh overall pick in the first round this year. Fluker is absolutely huge – 6’5” and 340 pounds – and could well be a perennial Pro Bowler at right tackle. Fluker also took charge at the rookie mini-camp last week. New Head Coach Mike McCoy said, “When you see kids that come from Alabama, the way they’ve been coached, he really was the leader out there on offense today. It’s great to see that because we need more guys like that. Very vocal. Very positive to everybody. (He) broke the team down at the end, and I didn’t ask him to. I wanted to see who would step up, and he stepped up without hesitation.” Chargers’ fans are ecstatic over Fluker, and with good reason.

Growth potential: wide receivers. Bolts fans are equally excited about their wide receiver corps. First and foremost, Vincent Brown is back this year from a season-ending broken ankle in 2012. He was a promising third round pick in 2011. McCoy said Brown is a “great route runner” and “very disciplined” at his position. Of course, Brown joins starters Danario Alexander and Malcolm Floyd, as well as four hundred year old tight end Antonio Gates (who has that Tony Gonzalez gene. Both those guys can probably play until they’re fifty). To make matters worse for us Addicts, San Diego also picked up running back and pass catcher Danny Woodhead in free agency, whom Bolts fans believe will be the next Darren Sproles. To round out the unit, the Chargers drafted Keenan Allen in the third round this year, although he has first round talent. Allen tore up his knee last year but will be ready for training camp. Needless to say, Charger fans are excited to have this set of weapons to receive passes from quarterback Philip Rivers.

The big worry: left tackle. The San Diego Chargers may have the worst left tackle situation in the National Football League, and that’s no exaggeration. They got skunked in free agency and the draft. This year’s starter may be right tackle King Dunlap. Or it may be Kevin Haslam. Or perhaps Mike Harris. The Bolts Beat is abuzz with desperation about the left tackle hole. The Chargers pushed hard to land Ravens’ left tackle Bryant McKinnie, but McKinnie re-signed with Baltimore. Now they are looking at 31 year-old Max Starks from the Steelers and have even brought in veteran right tackle Winston Justice, formerly of the Colts, for a look.

The Chargers were a decent defensive team last year, and rookie linebacker Manti Te’o will make them even better. They took great steps to upgrade key offensive positions in right tackle and wide receiver, and they still have Philip Rivers, who remains a top ten quarterback. But Chargers’ fans are freaking out about left tackle. I mean FREAKING OUT. Check out some of these posts:

Well, BoltFam, I know this is a delicate topic [left tackle] we´re discussing here and we’re all not too amused about the current situation at this specific position.

Unless the Chargers want to make a trade, it seems like we will be going into the season with King Dunlap as the starting left tackle and Kevin Haslam as the top backup on the left side. SCARY!

Just reading the report off of him [Dunlap], it sounds like he had a couple of AWFUL games. His pass protection is the best part of his game, but the consistency seems to be an issue. At least he won’t get Philip killed? Maybe?

This week, the Chargers hosted free agent (and recent super bowl winner) Left Tackle Bryant McKinnie, only to watch him leave and re-sign with the Baltimore Ravens. Chargers fans have been very concerned about the vacant hole at left tackle. Depth is needed, but San Diego does not have a lot of salary to spend on a coveted or premier left tackle.

It’s gotten so bad, Bolts’ fans are resorting to this:

The San Diego Chargers currently have no permanent solution at the left tackle position. We have King Dunlap, Mike Harris and another undrafted free agent, Nick Becton who will hold down our left tackle position until otherwise noted. Or we can call up two-time Sumo World Champion, Ulambayaryn Byambajav! Byambajav, stands at 6’-1” and 350 pounds of pure meanness! He’s also entered over a hundred sumo competitions and has won nothing less than gold. See, now this guy knows what it means to be a champion!

Hmmm…let’s see, Addicts. Who would be playing over the Chargers’ left tackle. Could that be…Tamba Hali?!!! If it’s Hali vs. Dunlap, I’m taking Hali ten times out of ten. This mismatch means that it just doesn’t matter what the Chargers did at right tackle, with their receiving corps and with their defense. Hali will be in Rivers’ face all day long, forcing sacks, hurries and interceptions. When they bring help over, that means Justin Houston and Dontari Poe get one-on-one coverage, forcing pressure from the Chargers’ right side as well as right up the middle. Gotta love it, Addicts!

Addicts, in a nutshell, I learned during my week in Bolt Beat that the Chargers strengthened key positions and their passing game has the potential to be downright scary, but they have a huge Achilles Heel at left tackle with little prospect of improvement. This week was ugly, it was difficult, sometimes it was downright gross, and yes, it was painful, but hopefully, we now all know a little bit more about one of our enemies. Addicts, what do you think are our chances of sweeping the Chargers this year??!!!

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • ArrowFan

    Don’t forget there only stud pass rusher has gone down this week during their OTA with a season ending knee.

    • chiefridgy

      Oh darn ;)

    • NativeSanDiegan

      See my reply posted above….. ha ha ha

  • ArrowFan

    I like this thanks for the insight and the sacrifice.

  • Tyler Alexander

    Woodhead is no Sproles. Not even close.

    • Darkwolf1414

      I like Woodhead (well not anymore he’s a Charger) but I think you’re right. He’s no Darren Sproles.

    • Lee

      to be clear, we never said he was gonna be a replacement. we said he has the same skill set that sproles has and rivers likes that. he’s nothing close to sproles though i do agree

      • Tyler Alexander

        “To make matters worse for us Addicts, San Diego also picked up running back and pass catcher Danny Woodhead in free agency, whom Bolts fans believe will be the next Darren Sproles.” That statement is what I was referring too.

        • RussinSactown

          I think you need to take that up with Mr. Yi. I mean if he’s going to be a proper mole, shouldn’t he at least report correct information? Miles, you suck at spying!

        • Lee

          thats what your writer said, not ours!

  • steve james

    Defense will win both games this year. I like to think Poe will blow through and they will be picking up Cry me a Rivers with a spatula.

    • http://www.facebook.com/megan.schied Megan Schied

      This Defense will shut everybody down! Just wait

  • Calchiefsfan

    I’m not sold on their receiving corps at all, a lot of ifs. There o line will propbably be terrible again this year which means Rivers will probably suck again this year. Flucker is best known for his run blocking but not so good at pass blocking which is why he was projected to be a RT only. Which is antiquated thinking, (please see Andy Reid’s comments). So you’ll have Hali against a patchwork LT and Houston against a RT who’s not that good at pass blocking, hmm. I like our chances this year.

    • KCMikeG

      Agreed! Rivers has struggled and without an OL that can protect him it won’t matter who the WR’s are. Besides none of them have had any sustained success – all potential no proof.

      • Darkwolf1414

        You’re both right. The only receiver of quality is Gates and he’s been hurt so much lately that he’s a shadow of his former self. I hope that fool retires soon. Also, with Norv Turner gone, they won’t be playing sandlot football in SD anymore so Gates’ numbers will be reduced anyway.
        Rivers is going to be doing a whole lot more crying after he’s sandwiched between Houston and Hali about 12 times. Plus, the defense is going to have more of an attacking style this year, which means more sack opps for DJ.

    • delamerica93

      Imagine the Chargers with a running game though. Adding Max Starks and Fluker makes “them” a way better running team. Maybe Ryan Matthews will actually be able to get out of the backfield this year. With a solid veteran at LT, the passing game will be immeasurably better. Philip also loves those big WR’s, too, and he has them in Danario Alexander, Malcolm floyd, Keenan Allen AND Vincent Brown. Even if one of them doesn’t turn out, that’s 4 solid starters. Go Bolts!

  • thabear04

    I wont worried too much about Danny Woodhead I dont think the Chargers will use him right. Like the way Coach Belichick did in his system. I hope this year the Chiefs come out with fire and stay on fire they will have some close game but should have a great season Lets Go Chiefs…. I bleed red and piss yellow

    • NativeSanDiegan

      Looks like you’re doing your best thinking with your pisser-you have no idea how CHARGERS will use Woodhead. Wait a minute, are you pissing??? No, what are you doing??? Is that how you “get your mojo up??” Or getting mayo for your hamburger? YUCK!!!!!

    • Rob Daniel

      “I bleed red and piss yellow” Was that inspirational?
      Only a KC fan would say that. Sounds like you are dehydrated… I piss yellow… Now that’s funny!

  • chiefer

    I agree

  • Danny W

    The Ravens are far far from a lock. They lost Lewis, Reed, Kruger, Boldin, Pollard, Ellerby, and Birk (all starters if not stars of the team). They picked up Dumerville (good but frequently hurt and on the decline) Canty (also injury risk) and Spears. I think they will be solid but in no way a lock. Joe Flaccoe screwed this team by not doing a cap friendly deal where more guaranteed dollars were given and the higher ego number was the cost. Thus the Ravens as a whole lost out. I’m not saying hey don’t go get the money but the guy is payed way way too much. Ed Reed and BP will be sorely missed I promise you that.

    • KCMikeG

      Exactly what I thought when I read the Raven’s lock statement. Boldin was huge for Flacco and caught a ton of balls that were not well thrown. With less of a defense to protect their lead more pressure will fall on Flacco and that will be an issue.

    • Darkwolf1414

      I agree. Their defense is going to be NOWHERE near as good and you take Boldin’s clutch catches away and they’re in a severe decline.

  • KCPauly

    I give us a 98% chance of the sweep, sorry for your miserable week, that truly is taking one for the team, way to be a team player…Go Chiefs!!!!!!!!!!

    • Alter Ego

      kcpauly…98% chance of a sweep…? Let me write that down so I remember who actually said that in the 2nd week of OTAs. I imagine you have some sort of plausible reasoning behind the bold boast. It certainly can’t be the recent history between the teams. Hmmm – all I can come up with is that your knowledge is based on being a homer. 98%…just going to throw that out there as if you have some sort of mathmatical formula to achieve that number. So tell us, with a 2% chance of losing – is that set up just in case God intervenes and punishes the heathens in KC land?

      • KCPauly

        Well Paul I am a long time Homer FYI, but I think coaching and a good QB will be the reason, and because crybaby Rivers will be flustered and crying when Hali, and Houston are crushing him to the turf, that he will be throwing the ball to flowers and smith, and 98% sounds better than 100% , you must be a charger fan, trying to take one for the team yourself? well read up bolt boy, and right it down so you can come back after and cry like your baby QB does :~))…GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Alter Ego

          Thats the best you got?….oh, read a few of your other posts, I guess it is your best.
          Last year we swept you. Beat you by 17 and 18 points.
          The Chargers had a poor year last year – even with that being the case…KC was still gum under our shoe.
          This year SD is improved…KC…ha – ha.
          I hope SD gets out of KC without being arrested…it looks like its gonna be a prison rape. kcpauly, you look good in your lipstick.

          • ArrowFan

            So we missed a year when Rivers didn’t fumble a win away to us or let us intercept the win from him. He will make up for it this year. After all he has developed this habit of passing the ball to the other team and loosing games because of it. He just happened to not do that against us last year, just everyone else.

          • Alter Ego

            Sorry ArrowFan, it was terribly impolite of SD not to give you a game last year. But heck….you earned the first pick in the draft fair and square.

  • jbyrd

    Melvin Ingram is out for the season with a torn ACL. A Chiefs sweep is looking more and more likely!

    • Justin R Groth

      Lol I was about to say that

      • NativeSanDiegan

        Good sport to lol at a serious injury to a young man. Don’t worry because you WILL apologize after you fill Arrowhead with your tears of blood red…BTW has it drained from last year yet? hahaha…..

        • ArrowFan

          No one around here is making light of a serious injury to a young talented player, we know all about that sort of thing in Chiefs Nation. However he is injured and out for the season and that fact make your D weaker, significantly on passing downs.

          • NativeSanDiegan

            Thanks for your civil explanation. True, Melvin is out for this year, but our NEW GM was able to replace him with a healthy, still effective Dwight Freeney. At the very least Dwight will require double-teams & chip blocks, thus opening things up for our other pass rushers. Albert isn’t quick enough to handle him one-on-one. Then in 2014-15 we will hopefully have Freeney and Melvin and you probably won’t have Albert.

    • dw96003

      Freeney is just as good as Ingram, and he’ll be with us for two years… so 2014 will be fun watching Ingram and Freeney together going after Garcia. Get your popcorn ready…

  • NathanaelL

    New leadership: J.D. Fluker. Typo? Its D.J not J.D.

  • http://www.facebook.com/megan.schied Megan Schied

    Ravens are mos def not a lock man. Watch out for my Chiefs and I am also picking the Fins to be in contension. I like the Bengals odds and the Pats are always around the top. Watch out for Minnesota and their veteran QB leading the way! hahahahaha……ahhhh….. ur welcome vikings.

  • William Campbell

    I’m sorry but with SD line problems I don’t see them being a threat.. rivers does not do well when facing constant pressure. Put some big guys in his face and he becomes unstable, starts throwing a big baby style fit (yelling and screaming at teammates) that really has to divide his team.. imho rivers hasn’t been good as of late cause teams figured out that if you bring enough guys to stay in his face he will breakdown

    • Pels04

      Have you seen the size of our OL now? Specially if Clary moves to guard. Which is what hes been playing in OTA’s. Our OL has gotten a lot better since last year, not to mention the addition of one of the top OL coaches in the league.

    • Lee

      we have one of the biggest lines in the league with starks coming in now. be afraid…be very afraid

      • William Campbell

        Yeah cause size of the o line is all that matters lol typical dolts fans

        • Lee

          it totally matters idiot…

  • Travis

    Two Words: Starks & Freeney

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-P-Derrick/1654577989 James P Derrick

    Sorry in advance(ie I hate to burst your bubble KC fans)… SD now has Max Starks at LT….Secondly, Dwight Freeney the Sultan of Thee Spin Move was recently signed…..Thirdly I pray for Alex Smith…along with the rest of the AFC West QBs….one of SD’s front 7 will be taking a QB’s block off….so let’s hold off on all this sweep talk until they are all in pads…

    • Pels04

      Dont appologize…..never apologize!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-P-Derrick/1654577989 James P Derrick

        Thanks Pels04…..that’s sarcasm…as in I hate to burst your bubble….Hell if Alex Smith is so $h!t hot, he’d still be a 49er…….we shall see…

  • PakMaN

    Look at all you KC fans shitting your red panties!

  • RussinSactown

    The last thing from KC that got this close to me was my ex wife so while you need a shower, I’ll be going for a full chemical detox.

    That said, the beauty about this year is that our GM is actually being a GM, not some old fool who walked around in old white man shorts. The problems have been addressed. If I was you I’d worry if Alex Smith will regress into the QB he was before 2011

  • Pels04

    So where is the follow up article since the additions of Freeney and Starks? I will be right back, im going to go get my popcorn ready.

  • Lee

    BLAST YEE FOUL SPIES!!!

  • Brandon Reisinger

    This

  • I_Bleed_Powder_Blue_801

    Miles Yi…you have not been paying attention….McCoy has gone on record saying he will take the best players he has and use what they do best on the field…your fans need to be afraid because DJ Fluker is a strong run blocker as well as Clary…so while Houston and Hali are pass rush specialists, your friends here better hope DJ doesn’t injure them when he pancakes them on a run play….you should not worry about our weaknesses but worry about our strengths…I read your fans predicting a sweep of SD….SD will be ready…teams have barely gone thru OTAs…a mere dress up of practice & already all this sweep talk…wow…

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Great research. Seems like the only flaw you could find got fixed this week. See you on the grid iron. We’ll get the broom ready for you… Saaaaweeep ; )