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Mailbag: Late Round Gems Balling Out for Bolts 

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Q: Why are the Chargers crushing it with their two-point conversions this year, Henne? – Ken M.

A: Good eye, Ken! The Bolts are, as you put it, “crushing it” with their two-point conversions as they’re tied for the league-lead with the Eagles and Rams with five. Not only that, but they’ve set a new franchise record for most successful two-point conversions, besting their previous mark of three set in 1994. To further put it into context, the Bolts have five successful two-point attempts on the year while 11 teams have zero and nine have just one. Now, as far as why the Chargers are “crushing it,” I think you must give credit to two figures in particular - Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and Philip Rivers. Whiz has cooked up some awesome goal line plays that are clearly working while Rivers is dissecting the defense at the line of scrimmage and executing them to perfection.

Q: Is it me or are there a bunch of late round picks of (General Manager Tom) Telesco doing really (well) right now? – Travis Jones 

A: It’s not just you, Travis. The Bolts have had a number of late round gems step up this season, especially in recent weeks. The most obvious to point out right now is Justin Jackson, who has balled out the past two weeks. The team’s seventh-round pick this year was pivotal to the big win over the Steelers, carrying the ball eight times for 63 yards and a TD while also adding a key 19-yard reception. Overall, he’s toted the rock 20 times on the year for 127 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. In addition, last year’s seventh-round pick, Isaac Rochell, has made a major impact as well. He currently ranks second on the Bolts with 4.5 sacks, and he’s made a difference against both the run and the past. Another late-round pick from 2017 making a difference is sixth-round pick Sam Tevi. He’s locked down the starting right tackle spot this season after playing sparingly as a rookie. Finally, this may be his fourth season, but 2015 sixth-round pick Darius Philon has been an integral part of the team’s defensive line rotation. I’m sure there are a few others I’m leaving out, but those four players immediately sprung to mind. Good job pointing that out!

Q: How did a guy like Justin Jackson fall to the seventh round? – Ian Shepherd

A: Well, as they say, the NFL Draft is an inexact science, and Justin Jackson’s recent play certainly proves that point.  I won’t go over the stats again as you can find them above, but I want to use this opportunity to discuss one quality that jumps out above all else when it comes to Jackson – his instincts. His teammates all raved about his vision and instincts following the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, so I asked Head Coach Anthony Lynn about that on Monday. I think everyone will be interested to see what he had to say:

“You can teach vision. You can work with a guy's footwork and his run-reads, but what Justin has — is instincts. That is something you cannot teach. He has better instincts than a lot of people would and that's why he's been so successful over his running back career.… When you study him, you (can) go back to his high school days where he was highly productive. He was (also) a 6,000-yard rusher in the Big Ten. He's been productive his whole life. (Not to say) that (production) was going to stop in the NFL, but one of the reasons he's been so productive is (his ability) to find the soft spots in the defense.”

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