Chargers play-by-play announcer Matt "Money" Smith took the time to talk about the Bolts season while he was co-hosting the "Petros and Money" show live in Santa Monica at the Bolts Experience event. Earlier in the week at Radio Row, CBS Amy Trask and Fox Sports Radio host/analyst Doug Gottlieb spoke about what they saw from the Chargers in 2021 and where they expect the Bolts to be in 2022.
Take a look at what the three had to say about the 2021 Chargers:
Smith, who has been the Chargers play-by-play announcer since the 2017 season talked about what he saw from Herbert in year two as he called the Bolts games alongside Daniel Jeremiah.
"That he got better, there's certain games that you re-watch and you're just gob smacked, kind of dumb founded in how well he played. The fourth quarter of the Raider game was exceptional, it's unfortunate that they didn't win that game, because I think had they won it would have ended up going down as one of the greatest performances by a quarterback in the history of the NFL regular season…he was exceptional all year long and just to see that progression and the jump from year one to year two, how much better he got. I can only imagine what he's going to look like next year."
Smith explained what the Bolts need to focus on the most as head coach Brandon Staley, general manager Tom Telesco and company need to focus on this offseason. He also explained why the Bolts have a great foundation to build around heading into next season.
"Fix the defense, that's what I think. Fix the defense, you can't be last against the run and last on third down and win games, it's just not the way it works in the NFL. I think it's right in front of them, they know what they have to do. It's just a matter of is it player, is it scheme, is it coaching, are the guys playing the right positions, do you have the right guys that are playing those positions? So, I think it's a collection of things you take inventory and try to figure out how to best maximize this exceptional offense. You have stars on defense in Joey Bosa and Derwin James, you ought to be able to build around that."
With 26 players on the Chargers becoming free agents at the end of the 2021 according to overthecap.com, Smith talked about which free agent the Chargers should prioritize the most when it comes to keeping them on the roster for the 2022 season.
"To me it's Chenna, I think Uchenna Nwosu, he's 25, he's exceptional, he got so much better as the year went on, he became a great pass rusher. I'm back on the air so Chenna would be number one and Mike number two."
Over at Radio Row, Fox Sports Radio's Doug Gottlieb was hosting "The Doug Gottlieb Show" live from the LA Convention Center. Gottlieb talked about Herbert's unforgettable introduction to the NFL and how he has set big expectations for himself as the Chargers franchise QB.
"I mean if there's more growth there, we're in for a record setting career. I think anybody who watched him in year one you were surprised because at first, they weren't going to play him and then all of a sudden he gets thrown into action and he's way better than you would have thought, way sooner than you would have thought. So, it's reasonable to believe that year two there would have been some struggles and there really wasn't. The team had some ups and downs, but he was the most consistent performer of them."
"I think if you walk around this media center and you ask NFL people, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert people are pretty convinced those are two superstars for the next 15 to 20 years, hopefully he's with the Chargers during that time. So, the expectations are incredibly high, but he's exceeded those expectations in both those first two years."
Gottlieb talked about how crucial the last two drafts have been for the Chargers future as they drafted Herbert and left tackle Rashawn Slater in back-to-back years. Gottlieb also explained why he feels the Chargers are so close to being a dominate team in the NFL.
"There's a world where the Chargers are a dominate team, because in order to dominate gotta have a quarterback, they got the quarterback. Got to have a pass rush and they got Joey Bosa signed and he's signed up for a long time and he's a freak. Then you have Derwin James and when he's healthy he is a complete difference maker. Then you have Keenan Allen and we'll see if the hold on to Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler. Now you have to have the lines and [Rashawn] Slater is a start, there's a world out there where they fix the offensive line for all five guys and that's a dominate offense.
"So yes, Rashawn Slater gives you faith that Tom Telesco knows absolutely what he's doing. He not only gets Herbert, but he gets you Slater, back-to-back years of incredible first round picks..they are a couple steps away, but it feels like those steps are easier to accomplish than finding the quarterback or finding a left tackle or finding a Joey Bosa, or finding a Derwin James. That's like the next step that puts them in the top tier category of the NFL."
Gottlieb concluded with his thoughts on Staley's leadership and play calling style, explaining how he is starting to set an example for how teams make decisions on fourth down.
"He plays like we played Madden as kids. I know there's a math to it, there's a lot of thought into when they go for it…The aggressiveness, the thought that goes into it and the 21*st* or even 22*nd* century thinking in how they attack problems, I think you are seeing people copy this around the league and that means you are doing it the right way."
CBS Sports Network analyst Amy Trask was also in attendance and had the chance to talk about how she's always had high praise for Hebert, going back to his time at the University of Oregon. T
"I mean he is a magnificent quarterback and so, so smart on the field and off the field. His performance at Oregon he was a leader, I think the world of him and this was his first year with Brandon Staley in a new system and I think we can anticipate that he will continue to get better."
Trask talked about the 'foundation' of players the Chargers have and what they need to do in 2022 to earn a spot in the playoffs.
"They we so, so close and we all know that [Week 18 Raiders] game ends in a tie and the Chargers are in [the playoffs]. Every season is different, the Monday after the Super Bowl it's New Year's Day, everyone's slate is wiped clean and it's zero-zero and everyone starts all over. That said they have a nice foundation of players there, this year was better than some recent past years in terms of injuries so stay healthy and keep advancing."
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