Jerry week has come and gone, my oh my. I just finished watching the first preseason game. There were a lot of positives, but I was a little surprised that the consensus among Charger fans was that we looked really strong. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot to like. The offense looked really strong. I was less than thrilled with the Mathews fumble, but I don’t think it’s a sign of things to come. Remember how he fumbled in Arizona on the goal line last summer as well. That was on that bizarre play in which we got the ball back and scored. I believe that Gates took it in. By the way, I didn’t want to seem crude with the photo above. I’ve also included a stylish shot of our starting tight end, who tragically lost his sister recently. Anyway, Mathews really got his shit together after his fumble in Philly last year. That one, on the heels of Gates’ fumble, looked to put us on the path to 0-2 at the time.
I’d be more concerned about Mathews’ health. But I do like the depth we have at running back this year. Brown looked good and Woodhead is always dangerous as long as he’s not expected to be the featured runner. Braden Oliver looked great and it was nice to see someone wearing #43 again. Kevin Acee seems to think that he’ll make the team. If you read his U-T chat that I’ve linked, he also has the Bolts at 6-3 at the bye week. That’s impressive, especially since he’s usually more pessimistic. In this case, I hope he’s right. The oddsmakers, like the good folks at top online sportsbooks, give us a little more than a one percent chance to win the Super Bowl. Since we’ve never won before, I guess that’s fair. But I think there’s a better chance than that.
The defense is where I have more concerns. Right now, Eric Weddle is the only guy that other teams fear. I like Butler, but he still needs to prove that he can stay healthy and keep making big plays. Liuget is already coming off a surgery and was looking to bounce back this year. His foot problems aren’t helping. The Acee chat touches on Reyes’ inconsistency dating back to last season. Te’o looks a lot more confident, but he had a lot of room to improve already. Both of our additions at cornerback were on the sidelines on Thursday, so I won’t get too worried about the pass defense. But Brandon Weeden was telegraphing his passes and we didn’t make him pay. I’ll give him credit for the touchdown, however. He got drilled on that. Nonetheless, Weeden could be the dorkiest looking player this side of Jeromey Clary. We can’t let that guy throw on us.
I guess Clary is trying to get back quickly. If you can still get to the Acee chat, you’ll see that. I really hope Watt continues to play well. I’m not sold on Troutman. Clary was missed in Denver, but he won’t be once we make sure that he’s not one of the more talented players on that line. Joe D’Alessandris has a great reputation right now. It will be interesting to see how Pagano fares. I don’t know what to make of Freeney. If Ingram becomes the player we drafted, he becomes expendable. If he gets sidelined by injury or his own limitations, that’s a different story.
That was AJ’s last draft. It would be nice if those guys were able to really blossom this year. Now that English, Mouton, and Taylor are gone there’s nothing left of Smith’s legacy.
I just booked my plane ticket to Buffalo for Week 3, thanks to my good friend Mike. I saw two games in ’01 and ’02 that we lost up there. I skipped ’06, which we won. But before you accuse me of being a jinx, remember that I also skipped the 2008 game. We lost that one on a late Rivers touchdown. It was a also the game where some electrical failure caused the television broadcast to go out. I remember listening to Malcom Floyd’s touchdown on Sirius. Floyd, by the way, looked pretty confident out there on Thursday. It was nice to see him draw that flag in the end zone.
When I’m in Buffalo, I will certainly try to meet some Boltheads in the lot. But I don’t think I’ll be bugging the team again. I met Dan Fouts in Washington last year, so I can’t imagine there’s much more I can hope for. Plus, it will also be a chance to hang out with a bunch of college friends in Western New York, where we spent four years.
I would dwell on our red-zone failures from Thursday, but the second drive was led by our second string. Clemens looked pretty good and it was good to see him exorcise some demons from Kaeding’s jersey number. That’s all for now. Sam and I are taking the kids to Martha’s Vineyard on Sunday for a week. I will post something on Saturday, regardless of how much of the Seattle game I can get through.
This installment of Justice is dedicated to Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.