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I have now watched 33 preseason games in 2017. The single worst thing I have seen preseason-to-date – the Los Angeles Chargers…the entire team. This organization is a cluster.
Blown out by Seattle in the preseason opener…I mean, humiliated. Then lost 10-7 here…the 7 coming from a pick-six 99-yard return. The offense didn’t score for LAC. The Chargers’ RBs combined for 26 carries for 40 yards rushing. 1.54 ypc…against the Saints. The Chargers completed less than 50% of their passes for 92 yards passing. Anthony Lynn may set the NFL record for fastest coach firing in-season in NFL history at this pace.
To be fair, like what I discussed with the Jets in Week 2 preseason…it’s hard to evaluate the team when the starting QB is not playing and your backups are awful and are afforded no blocking and you have an offensive game plan straight out of the 1970s. The Chargers’ coaching staff is literally a ‘who’s who’ of failed head coaches…wildly overrated from some good random moment they had as assistant years ago. When you hire a head coach from the Rex Ryan ‘coaching tree’…you get what you deserve and the Chargers are about to get flushed down the toilet for another season…again.
The Chargers were so bad in this game they made the Saints look good. The Saints basically scored on their very first play and then no more TDs from there. So far, this preseason, the Saints scuffled by awful LAC and struggled with/lost to the Browns. Both teams can feel free to make vacation plans for January right now…they won’t have any schedule conflicts.
Fantasy player notes…
— Alvin Kamara (5-61-1, 1-22-0/2) took the very first play for the Saints for a 50-yard TD…a virtually untouched run. He had 11 yards rushing his next four carries (2.8 ypc). Let me explain what I saw on this TD run, and why not to go too overboard yet on Kamara…and he looks fine, confident, capable…but consider the situation…
The opening play, the Chargers have two inside linebackers playing that are not Jatavis Brown or Korey Toomer…which is already insanity from the LAC coaches, but fine…it’s the preseason. Jatavis is in the game, but he moves from 4-3 outside linebacker to the edge to rush the backfield on the very first play…so the Chargers have two not-top 3-4-5 ILBs on their team holding down the middle. Jatavis rushes from the outside, and of course, the running play is called to go right where the 4-3 OLB would likely be – off-tackle/middle as Brown is going around the running lane rushing the backfield. Kamara pops through the hole…the two ILBs were slightly out of position to start and aren’t fast enough to close the gap – Kamara shoots through with someone reaching out and touching his jersey from a far as the only heat he had. Kamara hits the second level and blows right past the DBs for a quick score. Absolutely, nothing against Kamara…just that it could have easily been a 2-5 yard run with a different defensive alignment/grouping. No big deal, nice moment for Kamara.
After that play, the next LAC defensive series, Jatavis Brown is moved back to ILB. Kamara’s next few carries are limited as Jatavis moves fast enough to find him through any hole. Kamara did get past the LOS on one other run and met Jatavis head-on and it sounded like Kamara ran into a brick wall…and he did as he went down with no extra yards after contact. We might not be as excited if Kamara had run 6-7 times for 15-20 yards and no slick opening TD run in this game.
I only mention all this to caution your valuations on these young players that have ‘a moment’ that the media takes and makes it the greatest play they’ve ever seen running it on a video loop…and talk so self-satisfyingly that all their scouting paid off on this one play. Kamara’s ADP is rising from this one play. Crickets are chirping over Tarik Cohen’s brilliant Week 2 performance. He didn’t score a TD though…and he didn’t go to a top D1 school…so he doesn’t matter as much. Fantasy football GMs are so swayed by the emotion of ‘what just happened’…be careful on that with Kamara. He’s a good enough player working behind a rough O-Line with two other major RBs to have to share time with. The long, untouched TD here confirms nothing but what we already knew – Kamara is fast and the Chargers are an ill-prepared mess.
— You know I don’t care for Melvin Gordon (5-8-0), but I have to note…he didn’t look bad. Looks a little slimmer and quicker. That’s the struggle with Gordon – he’s a tweener. He’s not athletic enough to work well at 215-220 pounds, but you worry about his durability at 205-210…and will he be less effective around the goal line at a smaller mass.
I don’t care for Gordon, but wow…the Chargers have no RBs whatsoever on the roster. It’s embarrassing. Melvin Gordon is arguably the 4th best RB on the Saints today. The Saints will cut UDFA rookie RB Darius Victor (14-58-0), and he would be the 1st or 2nd best RB on the Chargers right now.
The funny thing is…the Saints will release Victor because they’re already deep at RB and Daniel Lasco works for special teams…and the Chargers will be too dumb to pick him up. I got clued into taking a longer look at Victor, and I gotta say despite the weak measurables he’s that figurative bowling ball that would work in the NFL if you needed him to. He has nice burst on tape that the measurables do not foretell.
— I watched Keenan Allen (1-9-0/3) on several snaps in this game. Yikes. Either he’s disinterested in the Chargers offense without Philip Rivers…which, join the crowd…or he ate a big bowl of fettuccini alfredo right before kickoff or there were Gale-force winds pushing against him as he ran – he was meandering around as slow as a turtle on his pass routes and after his one catch…no enthusiasm or effort or urgency at all. I’m not a fan and I don’t know a client I have who owns him, but this game made glad we don’t…especially with him coming off more injuries. The injuries are mounting on a guy with a pretty thin frame as it is.
— Tyrell Williams saw one target…about 10-foot over his head. He was open often but…well, you saw the QB tallies from this game. Tyrell’s rise in redraft ADP last week is petering out this week.
— 2nd year WR from Montana, Jamaal Jones (5-47-0/5) seemed to be the apple of the eye of the 4th-quarter Chargers’ offense. He looks capable. His measurables are no bueno, but he looks pretty useful/handy as a #5-6 WR.
— Chargers rookie IDP DB we like a lot Desmond King (2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 PD) is always around the ball doing something positive it seems – he was that way at Iowa and the same Weeks 1-2 in the NFL preseason. He’s a player. If he starts, he may matter for IDP 2017.
— Korey Toomer (5 tackles, 1 TFL) did not start for the lost-to-injury Denzel Perryman, and for the life of me — I cannot understand why. Again, on that Kamara play I described…I’m not even going back to look at who was in the middle to start, all I know is I didn’t recognize them and one of them was moved away right after. Toomer was awesome last year. Anthony Lynn is not interested, I guess. Not surprising.
— Cardale Jones (7-15 for 61 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) probably meets his NFL fate in Los Angeles in a few weeks. He is raw, and I also know – the NFL does not like to develop QBs. They either come in awful or great and that’s that in this era. There’s no time or anyone who could develop them anyway. Sean McVay with Kirk Cousins is about the only break of that theory. Jones is probably done in the NFL and doesn’t know it yet.
How the hell did Cardale single-handedly carry a college team to the National Title as the best player on the field, coming off the bench to do it…and now is DOA in the NFL? Cardale should go to the CFL and take 2-3 years to develop.
— I’m an Alex Anzalone (2 tackles) fan, and the Saints rookie ILB looked solid here…not sure if he will start Week 1 or not. Rumor is he will, but not confirmed.