The Evster: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the San Diego Chargers, But Were Afraid to Google

The Evster: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the San Diego Chargers, But Were Afraid to Google

Ohhhhhh, baby! This Sunday rekindles the bitter rivalry between our beloved Eagles and their longtime enemies to the west, the San Diego Chargers. There's no love lost between these two teams, like the Steelers and Browns or Duke vs North Carolina, Philadelphia and San Diego are separated by only a short 2,695 mile drive across the Pennsylvania Turnpike, then over to I-70 West, then a quick turn onto 55 South, then continuing onto 44 West through Oklahoma, then merging onto I-40 through Texas, New Mexico and a little bit of Arizona, then around 37 more turns leading you to zip across I-8 until you can hear the sweet sounds of waves crashing in the Pacific Ocean. If you leave now you could probably make it there by Sunday's kickoff, especially because the game is being played in Philly. Then again, traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway can be pretty jammed up at times, so you never really know.

Who can forget some of the all-time classic games between the Birds and the Bolts? How 'bout the 13-6 thriller in 1974 that saw Eagles linebacker Clint "The Spleen Crusher" Jenkins crush the spleens of 17 different Chargers running backs, only to have his own spleen crushed by teammate Bob Bogdanov during a post-spleen-crushing celebrashe.

[PHOTO GALLERY: Check out the new upgrades to the Linc this year]

This year's Chargers head into week 2 with their spleens intact, but carry with them an 0-1 record after dropping their season opener 31-28 to the Houston Texans. San Diego led by 21 points early in the 3rd Quarter last week, but they're unfortunately still quarterbacked by Captain Noodle Arm, Philip Rivers, who threw a devastating Pick Six during the 4th Quarter. This week, as the Bolts look to get back to .500, I did some internet sleuthing to learn a little more about their key players.

So let's break down the Chargers of San Diego position by position.

Quarterback

Ole Linguini Limbs Rivers comes into this weekend riding the NFL's second longest consecutive games started streak behind only Eli Manning (113 to 128). Nothing would make Philly fans prouder than to see that streak end after Mychal Kendricks crushes Rivers's spleen into 49 different pieces.

From the looks of Rivers, he seems to be a total douchenstein extraordinairre, but he was actually named a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award back in 2011. Seems as if he and his wife Tiffany help find safe homes for abandoned and orphaned children. That's nice, I guess, if you're into that sort of thing. Side note: Rivers met his wife in middle school so there's a very good chance that she's the only woman he's ever slept with. Despite his charity work, faith-based values and monogamous lifestyle, I'd still love to see his rib cage explode on live television.

Seeing as Philip may not be as big of a douche as he seems, let's take a look at the current list of the top 5 douche-jobs in the NFL.

1. Jay Cutler - constantly yells at his O-Line, somehow married a Playboy Bunny, absolutely unacceptable hairstyle for most of his NFL career.

2. Ben Roehtthhislerberger - just the 2 rapes for Big Ben.

3. Floyd Mayweather - technically not a football player, but there's no denying that a good portion of the American public would love to watch him die in the ring this Saturday night.

4. Mario Lopez - San Diego native is way too happy about life.

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5 (tie). Tony Romo (obvs) and DeAngelo Hall - scooped up a Michael Vick backwards pass last week after pretty much everyone had stopped playing, then sauntered 80 yards to the end zone like Mikhail Baryshnikov where he proceeded to dance like Deion Sanders (HE DIDN'T EVEN DO HIS OWN DANCE, HE JUST STRAIGHT UP IMITATED DEION) despite making a play that any living, breathing human being (including Nate Allen) could've made.

Running Backs

Ryan Mathews (JUST THE ONE "T" IN MATHEWS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH), Ronnie Brown (YEP, THAT RONNIE BROWN) and Danny Woodhead (NOTHING TO REALLY SAY HERE).

If there's one person who is most likely to have their spleen shattered on Sunday, it's Ryan Mathews. That guy is fragile, having played only 12, 14 and 12 games a season during his 3-year career. Luckily, the Chargers also have Ronnie Brown and picked up Itty Bitty Danny Woodhead in the offseason. Fun facts about Woodhead (from his bio at Chargers.com): Danny was homeschooled up until 9th grade (red flag) and all of the men in the Woodhead family are nicknamed "Woody" except for his father, Mark, who goes by "Big Woody". Can't make this stuff up, folks. Cannot make this stuff up. Big. Woody. Also, are you aware of what Little Woody looks like?!?!

And he's got some hair on his chinny chin chin!

Receivers / Tight Ends

The Chargers' receivers are all terrible (Eddie Royal is currently banned in 74% of ESPN's standard fantasy leagues), but they still have Antonio Gates, the 8-time Pro Bowler who seems to suck more and more butt every year. Even if Gates turned back the clock and showed up as his former self on Sunday, it wouldn't matter because the Eagles have the most dominant linebacker in the history of football, Mychal Kendricks, a guy who most Philadelphians didn't even know existed until roughly five days ago.

Offensive Line

Any time a person pretends to know anything about an offensive line, they are LYING. The only person with any knowledge about this position is Ray Didinger. All I know is that during Week 1, Ryan Mathews averaged a paltry 2.5 yards per carry, so the Chargers O-line probably stinks. Also, one of their starters is former Eagle, King Dunlap, which totally explains the whole 2.5 yards per carry thingie.

Something you probably didn't know about King Dunlap: His sister Victoria plays for the WNBA's Seattle Storm and averages a Ryan Mathews-esque 2.6 points per game.

Semi-interesting Information About the Chargers Logo:

During their initial years in the AFL, the Chargers had a lightning bolt AND A HORSE in their logo. It wasn't until the NFL-AFL merger that they decided to ditch the horse. Frankly, that seems kinda stupid considering only 9% of people die from lightning strikes whereas 98% of people who get kicked in the face by a horse get their entire heads blown off.

Nice horsey.

Defensive Line

After spending his first 11 seasons with the Colts, future Hall of Famer Dwight Freeney signed a free agent deal this summer with San Diego. Technically, Freeney is listed as an outside linebacker, but he pretty much rushes the quarterback any time he's on the field. Honestly, I have no idea if he's still any good and am really excited to move on and talk about the Chargers linebackers.

Linebackers

So, so, so, so, so, so sad that we won't get to see Manti Te'o in uniform this week. The ChristianMingler.com is nursing a foot injury and has no timetable for his return. BUT DON'T FRET MY GOOD 700 LEVEL FRIENDS, because in his place the Chargers are starting a guy named Bront. Yep, that's his name. Bront. Bront Bird.

Bront led the Chargers in tackles last week and is seriously, honest to God named Bront. Turns out, Bront went to Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, which just so happens to be the same school that Buzz Bissinger wrote about in Friday Night Lights. Not quite sure why that's relevant here, but it does sort of make the whole Bront thing a little more understandable. Also, guess what Bront's nickname is. Nope, not "Brontosaurus Balls" (that's what I thought, too), it's "Big Bird".

Secondary

Pro Bowl free safety, Eric Weddle, is probably the Chargers best player -- and is so popular in San Diego that he recently wrote a book entitled "No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story". Obviously I didn't read the whole thing, but I did skim one excerpt from the first chapter and came across this gem:

The author describes the birth of little Eric.

Within a few years, Debbie and Steve (Eric's parents) discussed the idea of starting a family. Shortly thereafter Debbie learned she was pregnant, and they had a baby girl. Kathleen arrived without incident ... and even though she was a girl, Steve considered naming her Eric. While he loved his daughter, he had also always wanted a son, and he wanted to name him Eric, a name he picked out for his future son when he was a teenager. "It was a strong name," Steve said. "I loved it."

Okay.

Okay okay okay okay okay hold on.

Eric?

That's a strong name? I don't know about you, but I grew up with around 13 different Erics and pretty much every one of them went on to sell life insurance. I'm not saying there's not strong Erics -- Erik the Red was a bonafide beast -- but the name Eric pales in comparison to something like Bront. Expect Desean Jackson to rack up over 200 receiving yards against the Weddlenator.

How 'bout Shefty getting a quote on the front cover!

Special Teams

Normally this is a spot devoted to weenies, but both the Chargers' kicker and punter appear to have a little street cred. Kicker, Nick Novak, was close friends with Kellen Winslow Jr. growing up and the two buddies actually share the same godmother (NOT KIDDING).

San Diego's punter, Mike Scifres (actual last name), was a high school teammate of notorious spleen crusher, Ed Reed. Sadly, back in high school, Reed was considered the far superior punter so Scifres was relegated to kickoffs, field goals and extra points. Even sadder, Scifres and his wife Stacie named their three children Berkeley, Bristyn and Brodyn, proving that they are by far the worst parents in the history of Western civilization.

Mascot

Say hello to Boltman.

It's a bolt and it's also a man.

Boltman obviously sucks, but it must be stated that the San Diego Chicken is without a doubt the second best mascot of all time (behind you know who). My favorite San Diego Chicken memory was from an episode of The Baseball Bunch back in the day in which Andre Dawson aka "The Hawk" was scheduled to drop by. The Chicken spent the entire half hour bugging out because he thought The Hawk might eat him.

Broadcasters

The dynamic duo of Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will be calling the game for CBS. Kickoff is scheduled for 10am PST. Dierdorf is working on his own consecutive games streak as he will attempt to broadcast his 147th straight game with his testicles firmly implanted inside his own throat.

Coaching

Doesn't matter. Chip Kelly is a GOLDEN GOD.

Prediction

Eagles 358 Chargers 4

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Eagles' QB-rich support system for Carson Wentz paying dividends

Eagles' QB-rich support system for Carson Wentz paying dividends

In the wake of the Sam Bradford trade, the Eagles' announcement a week before the opener that Carson Wentz would start Week 1 was met with some skepticism and overwhelmingly tempered expectations.

But it looks like the kid can play.

And the Eagles aren’t just looking smart for drafting and playing Wentz. They’re also looking pretty smart for filling their coaching staff and quarterback room with decades of quarterback experience.

“It's a tight room,” head coach Doug Pederson said.

It’s also a knowledgeable one.

Pederson is a former NFL quarterback and NFL quarterbacks coach. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich is a former NFL quarterback and NFL quarterbacks coach. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is a former college quarterback and NFL quarterbacks coach. And backup Chase Daniel has been in the league since 2009 and in Pederson’s offense since 2013.

If Wentz has a question, he has plenty of guys to ask. And it seems like this support system, which at one time looked like overkill, might be one of the keys that has allowed the rookie to take the NFL by storm.

“There’s no doubt. There’s no doubt,” the veteran backup Daniel said. “Obviously, he’s a very bright young mind, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the coaching in the quarterback room has played a good part into his maturation and his bringing along so fast. There’s no doubt about it.”

Through three games, Wentz has completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 769 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. He's the first rookie in NFL history to put up those numbers in the first three games of a career. Oh yeah, and the Eagles are 3-0.

It’s hard to believe that about a month ago, Wentz was gearing up for a redshirt year as the third quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Daniel. Now, he isn’t just the future franchise quarterback. He is the franchise quarterback.

And Wentz gives his quarterback-heavy coaching staff plenty of credit.

“It’s huge having them,” Wentz said. “I could never say enough how much they understand the game. They get it. They know what it’s like. As a former quarterback, they know what I’m going through and how I’m seeing things, so it’s been huge.”

The Eagles were clearly smitten with Wentz from the time they saw him in Alabama for the Senior Bowl. Eventually, de facto GM Howie Roseman was able to maneuver to the No. 2 pick to draft Wentz.

But Wentz went No. 2 and not No. 1, so it’s almost impossible to not peek over at Los Angeles and see how first overall pick Jared Goff is doing. So far, he isn’t doing much of anything. It doesn’t mean that eventually Goff won’t be a good quarterback, but through three games, he’s been inactive once and hasn’t yet played. The Rams are sticking with Case Keenum for now.

NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling compared the support system for Goff with the Rams and Wentz's with the Eagles. We’ll take a deeper look into what he started:

Rams
• Head coach Jeff Fisher: Defensive coach

• OC Rob Boras: Never a QB coach; coached tight ends in NFL from 2004-15

• QB Coach Chris Weinke: Former NFL QB for seven seasons; was highly-thought of QB draft guru with IMG academy for four years

• Vet QB Case Keenum: In league since 2012; best QB he's played with is Matt Schaub

Eagles
• Head coach Doug Pederson: 12 years as NFL QB; QB coach in Philly; OC in KC

• OC Frank Reich: 14 years as NFL QB; QB coach in Indy with Peyton Manning in 2009-10; QB coach and OC in San Diego

• QB Coach: John DeFilippo: College QB; QBs coach at Fordham, Columbia; QBs coach with Raiders, Jets, OC with Browns

• Vet QB Chase Daniel: In league since 2009; learned under Drew Brees; has been in Pederson's offense since 2013

It’s very possible if Wentz becomes a great quarterback that other teams copy the Eagles’ quarterback-heavy approach.

But it’s not just about getting a bunch of smart people and a talented rookie in the same room. Everything else has to work. The rookie has to be a diligent learner and all of the teachers have to check their egos and work together.

“I let John (DeFilippo), I let the quarterback coach run the meeting,” Pederson said. “If I interject, I interject. The way it works is I send my message through Frank (Reich), Frank through the position coaches. At the same time, if I want to interject something, I will interject. Just making sure there's one voice in the meeting room and they are not hearing three different answers from three different people, the message is the same.”

Practice squad quarterback Aaron Murray, who joined the team a couple weeks ago, thinks the quarterback room has “definitely” helped Wentz achieve his early success. While he is just a practice-squader, go ahead and add Murray — who was in the offense for two years in Kansas City — to the list of quarterback minds happy to help Wentz.

Murray, a fifth-rounder out of Georgia in 2014, has been impressed with Wentz’s ability to pick up protections and schemes at a young age. He compared him to Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith in that regard. While Murray, along with everyone else, is happy to give Wentz tips, he tries to not overload him.

“You still want him to just go out there and play,” he said.

Murray is the newcomer to the room, but he’s been impressed with the dynamic so far. He’s not the only one. It looks like this quarterback experiment might just work.

“It’s awesome. It’s great,” Daniel said. “Everyone has a say in there and everyone in the room, it’s pretty crazy, everyone in the room, really except Carson, has been around it, has been in it and played. Obviously, he’s played, but been around for a while. He’s just a sponge, he’s just taking it all in.

“Maybe some stuff he doesn’t need to take in. Maybe some stuff he wants to do his own way, which is great. You want your own personality out there. But yeah, he’s been great. It’s been great for us too as players. We have almost a 2-to-1 coach-to-player ratio. It’s been great. Everyone has little tidbits here and there and we roll.”

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Pete Mackanin unloads on Phillies' bullpen after latest collapse

Pete Mackanin unloads on Phillies' bullpen after latest collapse

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA — The Phillies’ bullpen continued its ugly, late-season collapse on Tuesday night. It was tagged for six runs in a 7-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves rallied for the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth inning (see Instant Replay).
 
The loss came two days after the bullpen gave up 14 earned runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday and it left manager Pete Mackanin more than a little bit frustrated.
 
“The bullpen has just not been doing the job,” Mackanin said.
 
Jerad Eickhoff gave up just one run (on a solo homer by Freddie Freeman) over four walk-free innings to open the game. He was up 6-1 after four innings when the rains came and stopped the game for an hour and 53 minutes.
 
With Eickhoff bounced by the weather, Mackanin had to go to his bullpen. He used four relievers — Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez and David Hernandez — and all gave up runs.
 
Phillies relievers have pitched 77 1/3 innings this month and allowed 69 earned runs for an ERA of 8.03. So that’s one more thing Matt Klentak has to fix this winter, along with the offense that Mackanin wants to see addressed (see story).
 
Ultimately, Hernandez took the loss when he gave up three hits and a run in the bottom of the eighth. The other run in the inning was charged to Rodriguez.
 
As unbelievable as it may sound with rosters being expanded in September, the Phillies played this game shorthanded.
 
They did not have reliever Edubray Ramos. He had a sore elbow, Mackanin said.
 
They did not have outfielder Peter Bourjos, who had gone home to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
 
They also did not have outfielder Tyler Goeddel, who is out with a concussion.
 
Not having Bourjos or Goeddel forced Mackanin to use Darin Ruf in left field after Roman Quinn went out with an oblique injury in the sixth inning. Ruf failed to make a catch on a long fly ball by Tyler Flowers to the gap in left-center. The non-play extended the eighth inning and fueled the Braves’ comeback.
 
“It should have been caught,” Mackanin said. “If Quinn's out there, he catches it. He wasn't out there.”
 
Hernandez was the only free agent that the Phillies signed to a major-league contract this winter. The Phillies signed him with an eye toward using him as the closer. But Hernandez struggled much of the season and slipped into the middle innings while Ramos, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez rose to high-leverage roles.
 
Gomez lost the closer’s job last week and Mackanin was saving Neris to close out this game. That meant Hernandez had to pitch the eighth. He couldn’t protect the lead. He gave up the game-tying hit to Mallex Smith and the go-ahead hit to Emilio Bonafacio.
 
“Neris was going to close for us,” Mackanin said. “I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That's unheard of.”
 
The bullpen’s unraveling threw cold (rain) water on Eickhoff’s solid start and Ryan Howard’s big night. Howard belted his 24th homer, a grand slam in the first inning, to highlight a 14-hit attack and help the Phils jump to a 6-0 lead.
 
“Eickhoff looked like he was having one of his best games and then the rain came. So that was our first disappointment,” Mackanin said. "Other than that, Howie swung the bat great. Hit that grand slam. We got 14 hits, but we stranded 12 runners. We have to keep adding on.”
 
Quinn had three of the Phillies’ 14 hits then added to his collection of injuries with the oblique strain that bounced him from the game in the sixth. He hurt himself taking a swing.
 
Oblique injuries generally keep a player sidelined for at least three weeks, so Quinn’s season is likely over. He missed six weeks with a similar injury at Double A Reading this summer. The 23-year-old outfielder came up from the minors on Sept. 11 and has been auditioning for a spot on next season’s opening day roster.
 
“It looks like it,” Mackanin said when asked if Quinn was done for what remains of the season.
 
Injuries have been a consistent hurdle for Quinn ever since he was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft. He has missed significant time with a ruptured Achilles tendon, a wrist injury that required surgery, a torn quad muscle and an oblique strain. Now he has another one.
 
“It’s the same one I hurt before,” Quinn said. “It’s frustrating.”
 
Right now, just about everything is frustrating with this team. Good thing there are only five games left.

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