These are my weekly Chargers Power Rankings. They should be taken very seriously.
Here are some good Chargers (from best to less best):
- Philip Rivers. 125/1 odds to win league MVP this year. Hmm ...
- Keenan Allen. Brutally underrated outside of San Diego. And better than the 15th-best overall wide receiver, where he is currently being taken in fantasy leagues. (I have him about eighth, ahead of Sammy Watkins and Brandon Marshall).
- Brandon Mebane. Team is counting on you, “Bang Bang” (his nickname in Seattle), to single-handedly improve the run defense. “Help up us Brandon Mebane, you’re our only hope.”
- Jason Verrett. Let’s make fun of the Browns! It’s really hard to believe Verrett was taken 17 picks after Justin Gilbert and three selections after Johnny Manziel in the 2014 draft. Good scouting, Cleveland!
- Antonio Gates. Hall of Fame résumé with just the one blemish. Of course, this league didn’t start testing until 1987, so plenty of Hall of Famers should probably stay mum on that particular topic.
- Melvin Ingram. Let’s see if he makes it difficult on NFL Live panelists next July, when, with a 30-minute show to waste on stupid lists, they rank the best pass rushers in the AFC West and Melvin forces his way into the top three.
- Denzel Perryman/Travis Benjamin. More players from the “U” would help, Tom Telesco. (Honorable mention: Orlando Franklin, Asante Cleveland).
- Mike Bercovici. Might’ve seen more from him against Arizona on Friday if his coach hadn’t elected to punt on 4th-and-1 near midfield in a preseason game. Has the “Berco Files” (trying out that nickname) played well enough to risk exposing him to practice squad waivers?
- Isaiah Burse. A valley guy from Modesto who Mountain West fans know was very solid at Fresno State (and has kick return experience). Also, it’s easy to root for guys that only got two stars as high school recruits.
- Shaq Petteway. Babies named during Shaquille O’Neal’s prime in the 1990s are making their way into college and professional sports. This Shaq started at West Virginia as a bandit safety. Bio information!
Honorable mention: Brandon Flowers. Spero Dedes and Dan Fouts in preseason (when they’re not shilling for a new stadium).
Here are some bad Chargers (from worst to less worst):
- Dean Spanos. Wanted to move the team to Los Angeles.
- Whoever in management approved/thought up that Chris Cate advertising attack. I’m not really sure there’s upside in a Facebook ad telling fans to inundate a city councilman’s office with phone calls. Maybe to let everyone know the Chargers are about to get a little dirty in the stadium campaign? Instead, it had the effect of giving free publicity to Cate, who I’d never heard of before this. (I’m in Sherman country). Downside: Team comes off vindictive and petty. Allows Cate an easy higher ground any time he talks about the stadium issue. ... Related: When was the last public relations victory for the Chargers?
- Ed McGuire, player contract chief. Now in his 19th season. As GMs come and go, it’s comforting to know the Chargers will always lead the league in holdouts (LT, Jammer, Rivers, Merriman, Bosa, as well as Gates, Vincent Jackson). Different agents, different draft positions, different CBAs, same negotiating nonsense.
- John Spanos, president of football operations. Told the UT’s Kevin Acee about the Bosa stalemate: “It’s so overly clear we had no choice.” Actually, John, you do: give Bosa 100% of the bonus money. Reports say the Chargers have already gone from 60% to 85%. What’s another 15% to help your team and get the player into camp? How many lifelong Chargers fans (I am one) are surprised this ownership group is letting a few bucks (relatively, speaking) come between its best chance of winning? ... Financially related: The Chargers would like you to vote “yes” this fall on the biggest bond offering in San Diego city history. Cool.
- Joey Bosa. Availability is an ability. I bet Mike McCoy says that all the time. In terms of these rankings, Bosa is below McGuire and J. Spanos because: players > management.
- Mike McCoy. The head coach on Friday night before the Cardinals exhibition: “Don’t count the reps, make the reps count.” I’m sure that resonates with the players.
- Stadium banners. “Danger: High Boltage.” So, so lame.
- Preseason sideline journalism. Player interviews are (sometimes) good. Leading into a Fred Maas question saying the convadium is getting “widespread support” is bad. Might as well give out Chris Cate’s phone number while you’re at it.
- Kellen Clemens. Is he good? It’s OK to worry. He’s probably not good.
- Zach Mettenberger. I always thought it should be spelled “Zack.” I want to pronounce that “Zatch.”
Honorable mention: Kicking 20-yard field goals in the preseason. Coaches sideline shirts this year.