THUNDERING BLURB » San Diego Chargers ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 en hourly 1 Around the NFL – Vick/Kolb, Vincent Jackson, Braylon Edwards Wed, 22 Sep 2010 17:29:11 +0000 admin Hey folks, been a while since I last did a plain old, normal blog post but felt like with so much going on around the league the last day or so, I should pontificate.

To Vick or not to Vick?

Well, Andy Reid made his bed and he’ll lie in it – messy as it is. I’m not saying it’s a bad decision, if he thinks he will win more games with Vick than Kolb. Remember, Kolb looked pretty brutal in the preseason as well as that one half of concussion-free football in Week 1.

Vick looks better than he ever did – we’ll see if he fares as well against a defense preparing for him.

But can Reid go back to Kolb if Vick flops? I’m not saying I want him to flop, I think a success story for Vick could be something special. But if he does flop – what will the locker room think? What does it think now?

And I wouldn’t have batted an eye if we were in Week 5. Or even Week 3, if Kolb had choked for two weeks straight? But now?

If you were in ‘win-now’ mode either you keep McNabb or start Vick from the get-go.

Michael David Smith (writer on put it best when he said:

Lesson NFL players will take from Kolb-Vick switch: “If I get a concussion, no way I leave the game and let my backup take my job”

You have to wonder if guys who normally wanted to get back in there will hide a bad hit even more.

Rumor has it that the Cleveland Browns called the Eagles about Kolb and were turned away.


The AJ Smith/Vincent Jackson staring contest is now officially ridiculous. By the time you read this maybe a trade has happened but you know what?

I wouldn’t be a damn bit shocked if it hasn’t.

The Rams have reportedly dropped out, The Vikings allegedly have a deal in place with VJack, but won’t toss a 3rd round pick in with a 2nd they already offered.

What’s Smith doing? Does he think Jackson will get with the program if he shoves being a Charger down his throat? When does this become less about ego and more about getting something for a player who will not happily play on your team again?

Smith never blinks but I think this time he’s over his head. I could be wrong.

Sidenote: Is a team willing to put two picks on a guy one bad decision away from a year long suspension?

Speaking of bad decisions….

Braylon Edwards is a dumbass

Sorry, he is. Especially when there are programs designed to pick a player up and get him home safe AND I”ve heard some of those programs have a second guy show up to drive your car home.

But Bomani Jones put it perfectly on The Morning Jones today.

What was your plan Braylon? You knew you were getting tipsy tonight so…. you drove? Did you think ahead to 5am and what shape you might be in? (Let’s not point out that practice after a 5am return home….. yeah not pleasant I imagine)

At what point were you thinking at all?

I mean, you just had one of your better games as a Jet in a huge win on a team you want a big contract from…. and you Plaxico yourself?

The next good decision Edwards makes could very well be his first.

On the flip side, I’m wondering what exactly is the source of the ’suspend him’ crowd in the media.

Listen, I think drunk driving is pretty stupid and we can all thank whatever God you worship nobody was hurt here and we didn’t have another Donte Stallworth incident.

I’m not sure that it’s instantaneously suspension-worthy. Other players have had a DUI (or DWI if you’re in another part of the country) and I never heard a call for their heads.

Why this reaction and why Braylon? (is it the Beard? It is rather intimidating.)

I don’t have an answer for that, maybe you do. If so, leave it in the comments. But honestly more than Edwards making a dumb choice (yet again), the media reaction in NYC has been almost as harsh as the traffic.

And if you’ve listened to the show at all since I moved here, you know how bad I think that is.

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2010 Draft Blurb Appearences Mon, 26 Apr 2010 20:15:04 +0000 admin So I did a bunch of radio work this past weekend and didn’t have time to post it (and at times, didn’t have time to get a link to it) until now.

When you get a chance, check out the following bits of audio:

Friday Night I appeared on Brian Carriveau’s Cheesehead Nation show on We talked about the first few rounds of Packer picks, which I actually like quite a bit. (about 10 minutes at the front  but the ep goes much longer)

I’m at the top but stick around for the whole show as they break down some of the picks more in depth later on. It’s good stuff, and Railbird Central is a great place to go for Packer stuff.

Saturday I joined my good friend Matt Levine of The Final Score of WSTC/WNLK in Connecticut to talk some Jets and Giants as well as some general NFL Draft stuff as well. I uploaded it here so you can hear what I had to say from Radio City. (about 20 minutes long)

On Sunday I got to hoof it to the home of Sirius Satellite Radio and join Cecil Lammey of 104.3 The Fan in Denver and as well as Russ Lande, analyst for’s NFL Draft Warroom and head of GMJr for three hours of 2010 NFL Draft recap.

As Cecil’s show (every Sunday on the Fan) is on in Denver, we covered a lot of Broncos (and Tim Tebow) but also hit on the Draft in general and the AFC West as a whole.

You can also get a behind the scenes look at the three of us on this episode of Blurb TV. In fact you can get a look at ALL of my experience at the 2010 NFL Draft here at Thundering Blurb or over at my channel on Viddler as well.

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NFL Late Hits Mon, 16 Nov 2009 15:40:12 +0000 admin I’ve been throwing out my thoughts on Monday mornings on Twitter and will probably continue to do so, but felt like a proper article makes a ton of sense.

With that in mind, welcome to NFL Late Hits, my new Monday article here at The Thundering Blurb. It won’t cover everything that happens in the NFL on a Sunday, just the stuff that for whatever reason sticks in my brain by day’s end.

Two huge plays yesterday have caused some chaos in the NFL media and Fantasy Football community – one was the 4-2 call to go for it by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, the other, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew taking a knee at the one to milk the clock in the Jets game.

Let’s start with the call by Belichick. I’ll admit, I didn’t see it when it happened.

I did discover a new food allergy so, you know, win!

Instead, I went over the hightlites and looked over the game info at I can’t say I thought it was the best call, but I’m not sure it’s the worst ever.

Say what you will, but Belichick goes on fourth pretty often and it works out for him more than most coaches. I may be remembering wrong, but on NFLN last night, I believe Mariucci said it worked somewhere in the neighborhood of 78% of the time for him.

It’s not a bad percentage – on the other end of the field.

Look, Belichick has forgotten more about football in the time it took me to type this sentence out than I know now. So I’m sure he had all the facts, figures and percentages in his head when he made the call.

I just don’t know why you risk giving Peyton Manning the ball on your side of the field.

A great coach rolls the dice. Sometimes you hit the point, sometimes you crap out. Like The Hoodie said in his press conference, people will question you anyway.

I think it was a bad call. I also think the media shouldn’t be pulling their hair out over it.

Especially since, had the Pats made it, we would have had another round of ‘This is the kind of GENIUS which has made him so successful’.

A little perspective please.

Speaking of perspective – ok, so if you lost your Fantasy Matchup because Maurice Jones-Drew took a knee on the one yard line, you might want to skip a few paragraphs to where I chat about Brian Westbrook.

This was the right call. Could Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee have biffed the extra point kick? Sure. It happens less than 2% of the time, but like the man said ’so you’re saying there’s a chance?’.

Listen, when people say Fantasy Football is ruining enjoyment of the game, it’s because of reactions like this.

Scobee – shaky though he has been – wasn’t missing that kick. A short, high, kick is very hard to block. I know it cheeses you off not to get the 6 points but the Jags needed to milk the clock.

Whether reports are true that Head Coach Jack Del Rio called for a knee prior to the play or not, it was the right decision.

Seemingly overlooked in the ‘DAMMIT MJD YOU COST ME MY GAME’ shouting was the fact that Jones-Drew picked up the first down. That game was done. They could burn the clock all the way to the wire (which they did) and kick a ‘gimme’ field goal (which they also did).

It’s a no brainer. Sure, like Belichick’s call above if something bizarre had happened and the Jets had gotten the ball back and won, it would look foolish.

But the best way to finish a game and win is to keep the ball out of the hands of the opposing offense’s hands. They did that. As much as I don’t love the thought of Mark Sanchez having to lead his team 80 yards to a win, all it would have taken was a missed tackle and the Jets could have walked away with a win.

Why take that chance? Keep the ball in your hands as long as you can. Milk the clock. Kick the field goal.

It’s maddeningly simple to me, as it was when Brian Westbrook did it previously.

Hell, MJD even apologized to you which he really didn’t need to. Of course he admitted he had himself and screwed himself too, but also pointed out that hey ‘you play to win the game’.

Side note: With players owning themselves and other players in leagues that often deal with pots of prize money, is the league going to come down on this as gambling?  I know the arguement has been Fantasy isn’t gambling, but you have to wonder if the NFL worries.

Things didn’t go all that well for the guy who last took a knee at the line either. Brian Wesbtrook suffered his second concussion in less than a month yesterday and you have to start thinking we’re seeing the end of him in the NFL.

Listen, I’m no doctor – in fact I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night – but twice in a month is bad. In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s awful.

The more often you get them, the more easy it is to get them. More than one player can testify to that and with the recent discussion in the media and NFL circles about head injuries and their long term effects I cannot imagine the Eagles rushing him back out there.

Especially not with LeSean McCoy there. I mean, isn’t this what you picked him for?

Maybe not, if you run a grand total of 13 times.  The Eagles only threw to the backs a total of five times as well.

Sure, they were down and yes they moved the ball through the air effectively in the fourth quarter. Still, there was never a threat that they were running the ball – I wonder if the success moving the chains via air freight than on the ground says more about deficiencies in the Chargers secondary than the Eagles pass attack

Either way, one hopes the Eagles – and Westbrook himself – are very cautious this time out.

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Running Back Blurb Breakdown: Ladainian Tomlinson Fri, 26 Jun 2009 02:25:00 +0000 admin
CURVE BALL. Instead of the number three back, I pull out old LT2 who I think is NOT dead yet.

Here’s why:

Ladainian Tomlinson
I always love movies where some guy is counted out – be it in the boxing ring, a classroom, a board room – the comeback story is a favorite.

Maybe that’s why I’m higher on LT than many others. I think Tomlinson has another year – at least – in him and will put up solid numbers this year.

By all reports he’s healthy, so he won’t be starting the season banged up as he did last year. Now staying healthy – that’s the trick and at LT’s age, it might be no mean feat. Also a question is the play of the offensive line, which was borderline criminal last season and left LT, Darren Sproles and Phillip Rivers exposed to mad abuse.

That certainly didn’t help Tomlinson’s numbers.

A lack of a pure blocking fullback hurt as well. That also remains a question mark though Jacob Hester’s blocking improved as last season wore on.

Still I believe LT has at least one last hurrah in him and in fact will benefit in getting spelled for some carries by Sproles. He’s on the mat, bruised and battered by the pundits and I think the story ends with him getting up one last time and sending those pundits to the mat.

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Thursday Game Breakdown – Chargers vs Oakland Thu, 04 Dec 2008 06:23:00 +0000 admin Oakland

JaMarcus Russell –

This might be a better than average start for Russell, but does it matter when the average is this bad? You can’t start him unless you are in the deepest of trouble. Yes, the Chargers are a fantastically awful 31st vs the pass. But Russell has struggled too early and often to count on in the fantasy playoffs.

Justin Fargas – The run defense here is just good enough to have me worried (15th with only 6 TDs allowed). Michael Turner did get 120 yads but that was Turner and with a good offense. Fargas is not as good and lacks that good offense portion of the formula. And he may split carries with Darren McFadden. A flex? Maybe but a risky one.

Darren McFadden – Boom or Bust with DMac2 – he can put up some numbers but is splitting carries with son of Huggy Bear and having to run with no real threat of passing offense behind him – it could be tough. Again, the Chargers aren’t great against the run, but good enough and McFadden may put up a little of this, a little of that and not enough to be worth the start. He might be an early flex or real low end #2. He is a Hail Mary early in the week and I hate those.


WR core – no thanks. Seriously.

Zach Miller – Miller has been the only somewhat stable thing in the offense for a while and given how shaky many TEs are, he will be a decent though not fantastic start most weeks.


Phillip Rivers - A few weeks ago this looked like a much better matchup than it does now. But the oline in SD has actually gotten worse and allowed Rivers to get massacred last weekend against Atlanta. And turns out special teams player Chris Johnson (whom I admit to having less than stellar opinion of) is a pretty good CB. With him opposite Nnamdi Asomugha they might keep the passing offense and Rivers on their toes. Check that – they WILL. If I can avoid Rivers this weekend, I would.

Ladainian Tomlinson – Sure he hasn’t been himself this year. And yes the oline has been sub-par and losing Lorenzo Neal was unfortunate. Still, he is facing the 29th run D and on his own with the same bad oline scored 2 TDs and had 100+ yards. They will key on him and I think – while it will be meh for LT – he will have a good enough day to warrant starting him in all leagues – no lower than the #2 and more than likely worth at least a low level RB1.

Chris Chambers – While he is getting more targets than Jackson, he’s still not impressing me and isn’t doing anything much fantasy-wise. I wouldn’t trust him if I could avoid it, there are better #3s and a few #4s I might like more – including his teammate Jackson. Toomer, Hixon, Ginn are all guys I would rather start.

Vincent Jackson - Jackson is not getting as many targets as he had in the past but the ones he gets are red zone targets. If Chambers could play a little better, opposing secondaries wouldn’t be able to blanket Jackson and he would have more room. But he gets some redzone love and between that and his more reliable hands, I don’t mind having V-Jax in my lineup as a 4 depending upon other matchups.

Antonio Gates - Gates has not had a very good season, didn’t play great last time out (though was the only guy with a receiving TD) and struggled last week. If the Chargers cannot protect Rivers, Gates is in for a long day. I can only hope he plays well – this is almost a bench-worthy matchup right now – with a lesser TE it would be. But Gates can go off – so it will be hard to find someone you trust more often and can count on.

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NFL Commisioner Goodell on ‘Rome is Burning’ Thu, 20 Nov 2008 05:40:00 +0000 admin Here is the interview I talked about on tonight’s Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football Show. It runs 14 minutes and I thought it was pretty good, touching on several hot subjects from thsi week including Pacman Jones and the Pittsburgh/San Diego debacle.

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Chargers leave no doubt against the Jets Tue, 23 Sep 2008 13:21:00 +0000 admin The Chargers looked like the team we expected them to be last night. With the exception of a pick-six early, Rivers looks like he is taking a big step forward. The defense played better than it has in the past two weeks – Antonio Cromartie especially looked good. And while LT looked ok but not great, his 2 TDs saved his fantasy value. I still stand by the call to bench him as risky. If Sproles had stayed in o nthe first TD or Jackson had been able to make two more steps we’d be feeling differently about LT’s performance. But if you had him in, you’re happy. Sproles put up ok points. Cotchery had a huge night PPR wise, otherwise ok. And Brett Favre is who we thought he was – a gunslinger who can get you the huge play but also turn over the ball a whole lot. Was glad to see the Jets air it out more though dissappointed to see the receivers and Favre are not remotely one the same page at times.

As I said just after the trade, this team was not a ‘Brett Favre’ away. It’ an 8-8 team and they will get there. But nights like last night are not surprising.

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Tomlinson Update Mon, 22 Sep 2008 23:55:00 +0000 admin ESPN has reported that – according to Norv Turner – LT cannot make hard cuts effectively.

So – if it wasn’t clear earlier – Sproles is the play. If you have a choice between LT and any of the following:
V Jackson
C Chambers
Thomas Jones

- you may want to bench him. Jacob Hester and Leon Washington would be a little more dicey to bench him for.

Bench LT – what is the world coming to?

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Merriman Article on Wed, 10 Sep 2008 04:14:00 +0000 admin Hey folks – as some may remember I write the Chargers blog over at Just posted an analysis of Shawne Merriman’s belated decision to get his knee cut on.

Check it out (and other stuff I write during the week): HERE

Lots of good articles on teams there – check it out folks!

The gist of the article is: Merriman leaving is tough but could be a good thing for the season once the Chargers adjust.

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Tuesday Stampede Tue, 12 Aug 2008 16:18:00 +0000 admin I will be posting my top 20 College Football rankings this afternoon either all at once or in halves – depends on how long the list is with commentary.

Onto the NFL -

Arizona Cardinals
Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt says that Matt Leinart has improved his audibling and red zone work and will not be coming out of games at that spot on the field. While I still think Leinart is a shaky choice for a Fantasy QB until he shows me he can be consistent, it’s good to hear he won’t get ‘middle relievered’ during an important Fantasy sequence on the field and it does lessen my concerns a bit.

Oakland Raiders
From ‘The Sky is Falling’ column – rookie RB Darren McFadden fumbled 3 times in Monday’s practice. While I don’t think think the sky really IS falling (first fumbles of the preseason) you will now recall that one of the issues some people (including me) had with him pre-draft was his 15 fumbles his last year at Arkansas. This was a concern and will continue to be until he proves otherwise, but as these are his first fumbles in camp, I won’t worry much, he shouldn’t be going so early in drafts that a fumble problem will leave you hanging too badly.

Cincinatti Bengals
Rookie Keith Rivers seems undaunted by missing a teeny bit of camp – he led the Bengals with 7 unassisted tackles Monday night and didn’t even start. He will probably be an intriguing late round/waiver pickup in IDP leagues, asssuming people chalked him up to ‘rookie’ and he went undrafted in the first place. He certainly seems to have stepped right up for the Bengals which they really needed to have happen. Tight End Ben Utecht seems to really be getting those promised looks in the offensive scheme. He had a good Monday night and the staff is putting ’special plays’ together for him. I might be starting to believe it…..

San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates is running but also in a lot of pain, and apparently very frustrated with his lack of progress. He says he will not play early if it damages the season long term, which is good for your overall season, but bad if you want to draft him. If you get Gates, you may be in the position of being forced to take a back-up TE early to cover for him if he’s out a few weeks. If you go early on a tight end, my advice is to think of Jason Witten or even Tony Gonzalez. Better yet, get one of the later tier guys and keep an eye on the waiver for value. Amongst the TEs I like later are Jeremy Shockey, Vernon Davis on the earlier side, Owen Daniels, LJ Smith, Ben Utecht on the later side.

Baltimore Ravens
More great news for McGahee owners – the knee he just had scoped? It’s the one he has had multiple surgeries on, the one he wrecked in the Fiesta Bowl 5 years ago. He showed up to camp out of shape so rehab is an iffy proposition. Ray Rice continues up the boards as McGahee drops.

That’s all for now – questions and comments can go to as well as the comment section below.

College rankings coming later this afternoon (my afternoon, not the East Coast’s).

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