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Q: What's the status of WR Vincent Brown? – Edson Contreras
A: This has been a popular question ever since I started my mailbag. Vincent is improving, but he doesn’t appear all that close to returning. Still, things are beginning to look up as he was on the field in a jersey with his gloves on while assisting with practice on Wednesday. Typically I see him off to the side or in the trainer’s room getting treatment, so Wednesday marked a move towards improvement. Nonetheless, his rehab has been a slow process and hopefully he starts to practice again within the next few weeks.
Q: I'm really loving all the articles and videos on the site this year. I was wondering who you think is the best interview on the team. Keep up the good work! – Dallas Charles Jr.
A: Thanks for the kind words, Dallas. It really means a lot! I can’t give just one player as there are a bunch of great interviews on this team. To name a few, I’ve really enjoyed the interviews I’ve done with Nick Hardwick, Le’Ron McClain, Philip Rivers, Malcom Floyd, Takeo Spikes, Shaun Phillips and Ronnie Brown. They all give very honest, candid answers and most of the time they are quite profound and thought provoking. I’ve worked for two other teams before in my career, and these guys hands down give the best answers over anyone I’ve ever been around.
Q: A little over midway through the season, who would you say is the most improved player on our team this year? – Brianna Jamie
A: Donald Butler had a good year last year, but he’s really taken his play to a whole nother level so far this season. If there’s a big play on defense, odds are he’s in the middle of it. He currently ranks second on the team with 55 tackles and has also recorded one sack and a pick six. Another player I’d say is most improved is Corey Liuget, who has grown by leaps and bounds in his sophomore year over his rookie campaign. Last season he finished with 19 tackles, one sack and two passes deflected. This year, he already has 18 tackles, two sacks and ranks second in the league among all defensive linemen with six batted balls.
Q: I just finished reading your scouting report. It says TB has the worst pass defense in the league but the best run defense. Will we abandon the run totally and just chuck it all day long? I think that is the best idea. – Nana Boetang
A: You can’t abandon the run all together, but I do expect to see a bit more passing from our offense this week. That’s especially the case if Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal return to make the receiving corps more dynamic. The team likes what it’s seen from Danario Alexander and obviously Seyi Ajirotutu is capable of making great catches like he had last week vs. the Chiefs. Add those weapons to the likes of Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd and put them up against a weaker Buccaneers secondary. Sounds like a recipe for success this Sunday in my book.
Q: What grades would you give the rookies in the most recent draft? – Matt Laurie
A: Tough question Matt. The only two we can really evaluate to any degree are Melvin Ingram and Kendall Reyes. Brandon Taylor has been inactive every game and Ladarius Green only suited up once as they gradually get accustomed to the pro game. Johnnie Troutman just returned to practice this week and David Molk is used solely in jumbo packages and special teams. But I would give Ingram a B and Reyes a B-minus/c-plus. Used mainly in passing situations, Ingram has 19 tackles this year with four passes deflected, one forced fumble and 0.5 sacks. What doesn’t show up on the stat sheet though is the havoc he creates with his speed off the edge and quarterback pressures. Meanwhile, Reyes also does the little things like plugging up the middle and taking on double teams. With just six tackles, He hasn’t been as productive as Ingram , but he has still shown his potential for a very bright future in this league.
Although he was undrafted, you certainly have to throw Mike Harris in the mix and I’d give him an A-minus. An undrafted rookie free agent, Harris has played in a pinch on numerous occasions and has four starts this season. Sure, he has had some lapses on certain plays, but overall he has delivered more than the Chargers ever could have imagined when they signed him.
Q: You've been quite off in your "bold predictions" the last two weeks Ricky. I'm scared to ask who you think will go off this week, but I will anyway. – Jackson Murphy
A: Gee, thanks for reminding me Jackson! But I guess that’s why they call them bold predictions and going out on a ledge. This week I’m setting my sights on the defense. I think this is a game where Melvin Ingram really makes his presence felt. I’ll predict one sack and one turnover forced for the rook. That’s my “bold prediction” for this week’s matchup.
Q: Ricky, I read your article on Robert Meachem. Will he have a big game on Sunday? – Judy Davey
A: Thanks for the question Judy. Listening to Meachem speak, it was clear he really feels as though he’s turned a corner. I think he will get fewer opportunities than earlier in the season with Alexander having an increased role, but I have a feeling Meachem will come through with a big play or two this week.
Q: Where do you see the Chargers record at the end of the season? I know before the season started there were some awful, pessimistic predictions, but obviously the team demonstrated they were better than that. I predict we can go 10-6 or better, but what is your prediction? – Esteban Zatarain
A: Seems like a lot of you are asking for my predictions this week! I think yours is a pretty good one, Esteban. When looking at the team’s schedule ahead, I think they will end up 9-7 or 10-6. That being said, in my mind the game this week is crucial for the Chargers. If they can put together a two-game winning streak after dropping three in a row, it sets up a great rematch against the Broncos, who we all know the Bolts can’t wait to face for redemption. Read