Chat with Eric Williams
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN NFL Nation San Diego Chargers reporter Eric Williams drops by to chat and answer all of your Chargers questions.
Williams joined ESPN in 2013 after covering the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune for six seasons. He played collegiate football at the University of Puget Sound.
Send your questions now and join Williams Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Eric D. Williams (3:04 PM)
Good afternoon and thanks for joining this week's chat discussing the Chargers. I'm ready for your questions.
Ed (Queens Village)
Should Bolts make a play for Andre Johnson?
Eric D. Williams (3:07 PM)
Interesting question, but I really think receiver is one of the strongest positions on this year's roster, particularly if Malcom Floyd can stay healthy. I know it's OTAs, but no San Diego cornerback could keep up with Vincent Brown during offseason workouts. If Brown and Seyi Ajirotutu are the team's No. 4 and No. 5 receivers, that's a pretty good group. I expect Keenan Allen to be better in his second season, and a healthy Eddie Royal to once again produce. It's good group that Philip Rivers has a lot of trust in. I don't think Johnson is needed.
Thoughts on UDFA WR Brelan Chancelor?
Eric D. Williams (3:08 PM)
Showed decent burst after the catch and looked solid running routes. I look forward to seeing more during training camp.
Hi Eric, big Keenan Allen here. Do you see an increased role in 2014 and will he be utilized on more deep routes this year -
Eric D. Williams (3:10 PM)
I think Keenan will be used the same way, shallow crossing routes, square in and deep outs. He's great at creating separation at the stem of the route. I see Ladarius Green and Malcom Floyd emerging as the deep threats for San Diego. But Allen will play faster this year and get his share of chances to create chunk plays.
Vazo [via mobile]
Hey Eric, Who has impressed you the most out of the drafted and undrafted rookies so far?
Eric D. Williams (3:11 PM)
Alden Darby and Chris Davis have looked solid in the secondary as undrafted players. And I think Jerry Attaochu and Chris Watt can contribute as rookies.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What 2014 NFL Draft Picks will play in the Very First NFL Game of the 2014 NFL Season for the San Diego Chargers?
Eric D. Williams (3:11 PM)
I'd say Attaochu, Watt and Jason Verrett if can get healthy.
Good afternoon mr Williams. So i have been wondering.. What is the full update on Denario Alexander?? is he still on the team? hows the recovery? will he be playing? and has he been at the trainning camps? thanks for the responce.
Eric D. Williams (3:13 PM)
Good question. I have not heard anything new on Alexander. If he can get healthy from his latest set back in terms of the knee issue, I think a team would take a chance on him as a training camp invite. But I'd be surprised if that team is San Diego.
Josh (Tempe) [via mobile]
Thank you for the great coverage. You have in short order become the go to for chargers stories and updates. No more waiting on UT beat writers to tell us nothing! That said you predicted 10-6 this year are you still holding to that? My band of chargers optimists have us pegged around the same.
Eric D. Williams (3:16 PM)
Thanks Josh. I still believe the Chargers can finish 10-6 for a couple reason. First, with all 11 starters returning on offense I think can still score points, control the tempo of the game and play from ahead. Second, I believe the defense has better overall depth and will be much improved. And lastly, I think the defense will create more turnovers this year, which helps the offense.
How are Te'o and Watts doing?
Eric D. Williams (3:18 PM)
Te'o looks faster now that his foot is fully healthy. But I want to see how he plays in a preseason game first before saying that he will be an impact player on defense. I think Chris Watt can be a fill-in guy at interior offensive line this season, and potentially a starter at center or guard in the next two or three years. Watt gets after it and appears to be picking up his assignments quickly.
Rashad San Diego [via mobile]
Has the Brandon Flowers deal broke down with the chargers and why? Do you know his asking price?
Eric D. Williams (3:29 PM)
I have no specifics on Flowers and the possibility he ends up in San Diego, other than he visited the team's facility on Wednesday and Thursday. Flowers and his representation are likely listening to other potential suitors and weighing their options. The Chargers appear to be in a good position to land Flowers. He fits defensive coordinator John Pagano's system and would be an upgrade over anyone at cornerback on San Diego's roster as it stands right now. My only concern would be how having Flowers on the roster affects the playing time of Jason Verrett and Steve Williams. Those young corners have to play in order to get better. Flowers has to weigh scheme fit, opportunity for playing time and of course price.
Milwaukee Dan [via mobile]
What's the story on Woodhead....a luxury that the Bolts will let walk after this year or do you see them making an effort to keep him?
Eric D. Williams (3:30 PM)
He's a productive player and a good fit in the locker room. I would be surprised if Woodhead is not on San Diego's roster in 2015.
What changes to the offense will we see under Frank Reich?
Eric D. Williams (3:31 PM)
I think you'll see more no-huddle and Philip Rivers changing the tempo to keep defenses off balance. Reich will remain committed to the running game, but you might see a few tweaks to the passing game from his days running the K-gun in Buffalo.
Brian ( Mission Valley) [via mobile]
Eric, Did you see the Bolts running no huddle a lot during mini camp? Do you think that no huddle will be a significant part of the Offense? It just seems like they have the skill players to dictate the terms of the game
Eric D. Williams (3:33 PM)
Yes, the Chargers did run a lot of no-huddle during OTAs and training camp. And it's based on Philip Rivers having an intimate knowledge of what Reich wants to do on offense. Rivers can get the Chargers into the best play at the line of scrimmage, depending on what the defense gives him. So expect Rivers to have even more control and ability to call plays out on the field.
Brandon (Virginia) [via mobile]
Who wins the back up QB job is is the loser kept on the roster?
Eric D. Williams (3:35 PM)
I think Kellen Clemens will be the guy because of his experience. And I'm interested to see how Brad Sorensen plays this preseason. I feel like he's a good developmental prospect after how he played during the preseason as a rookie. So I would like to see if he can take another step in his development. I think Sorensen has a shot to remain on the active roster as the No. 3 QB for a second straight season, depending on how final roster cuts go.
Hello from across the pond, Eric. Two questions about Brandon Flowers - 1. What % chance do you give us of signing him? And 2. Do you think he'd be a worthwhile addition, given the $ he'll cost?
Eric D. Williams (3:38 PM)
With no other teams identified as a possible landing spot, I think the Chargers have a better than 50 percent chance to land him. As with any negotiation, a lot will depend on price and comfort level from the player's perspective. Generally, the more teams involved, the higher the price. So if other teams do not get involved, I think that works in San Diego's favor, particularly with where they sit in terms of salary cap space. If the Chargers can bring Flowers in at a reasonable price, he's worth the investment.
Richard (SD) [via mobile]
Why was Brandon Taylor released? Injury issues, poor on-field performance or off-field issues?
Eric D. Williams (3:39 PM)
I think it was a combination of health and production on the field, along with the fact that the team liked young safeties like Alden Darby and Adrian Philips.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
With Gates not doing the OTAs and workouts, what's best-case scenario for Ladarius Green? Shine and at least get 30 snaps a game, maybe3 or 4 targets? More? Less?
Eric D. Williams (3:40 PM)
I'd says 30 to 40 snaps a game is a good number. If he can finish with 35 to 45 catches and 4 to 6 TDs, that's a good season.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Do you consider Phillip Rivers an elite QB? If you were ranking him among the rest of the league, what is he? Top ___?
Eric D. Williams (3:41 PM)
Yes, I believe Rivers is an elite QB. I think he's Top 10 in the league right now.
I'm both a Pats and Bolts fan, so not trolling here, but.....Pats fans said the same about Woodhead before we took him for granted and let him leave for the Bolts. And it wasn't for outrageous money. Hope Bolts management remember that.
Eric D. Williams (3:42 PM)
Fair point. I believe the Chargers value his versatility, competitiveness and professionalism.
LeAndre (Los Angeles)
For some reason, WR Tevin Reese intrigues the heck out of me -- I've heard he's had a few drops here and there during practice, but you can't teach speed. What role might he fill this season OR do you see Reese having a legit shot at being on the field with Keenan, M-80, Vincent Brown/Eddie Royal?
Eric D. Williams (3:44 PM)
I like his skill set. I thought Reese actually had his best practice that I watched on Wednesday during the team's final minicamp practice. I think he needs a redshirt year to learn a pro-style offense and gain weight. He has an up-hill battle to earn a roster spot. I think more likely he winds up on the practice squad, unless he can seize one of the return jobs.
Big White Kahuna (Florida)
You dont think Flowers would be a great General out there for the 2 young backs? I think its a smart roster move to have veteran leadership who can not only hold the young ones accountable, but continue producing on the field
Eric D. Williams (3:46 PM)
That's why you have Eric Weddle. Certainly, any team wants a veteran player who has seen things before and can make plays. But the team has made an investment in Verrett and Williams, and those guys don't get better watching from the sidelines. They need to be put in adverse situations so they can develop.
JC (San Diego)
How has King Dunlap looked in camp (and the O line in general)? Dun lap's addition was a very underrated move that paid huge dividends for the offensive line.
Eric D. Williams (3:48 PM)
Dunlap has looked good, and overall the offensive line has done a nice job protecting Philip Rivers. I believe the performance of the offensive line was one of the underrated aspects of why Rivers played so well in 2013. He really didn't get touched a whole lot last season. Add in the fact that San Diego effectively ran the ball, and all of that made Rivers' job easier. The O-line looks headed in the right direction once again, and if Dunlap can stay healthy he will be an impact player.
Big White Kahuna (Florida)
Out of the undrafted rookies, Craig Watts, Alden Darby, Brendon Oliver, Colton Underwood...who has the best chance to make it?
Eric D. Williams (3:51 PM)
I like your list -- have you been out watching practice? I would say Oliver out of that group. He's drawn comparisons to Darren Sproles because of his size and the fact that he's wearing Sproles' old number, 43. I don't think he's a fast as Sproles, but he's just as elusive. He catches the ball better than I expected, and he's really quick in the hole, and has that innate ability to make defenders miss. Oliver is a player to watch during the preseason.
James (San Diego) [via mobile]
What have you heard or seen regarding Marion Grice? I know he's been injured, what are the plans for him?
Eric D. Williams (3:53 PM)
I just saw Grice practice for the first time on Wednesday. He glides across the field and catches the ball like a receiver. His body type is similar to Marcus Allen. I'm interested to see how he performs during training camp now that he's healthy. There will be a stiff competition at running back at the back end of San Diego's roster.
Dale Huntington (Wichita, KS)
Do you have concerns that Dunlap is one concussion away from being done in the NFL? Do we have a solid back up plan?
Eric D. Williams (3:56 PM)
I think you always have concerns about head injuries when a player has a couple concussions. Mike Harris is working his way back from an ankle injury that cut short his 2013 season. If Harris is healthy, he's serviceable as a swing tackle and can come in and be productive. Willie Smith is another player who can step in at left tackle. And D.J. Fluker played left tackle some last year. So the Chargers have a couple options.
Eric D. Williams (3:58 PM)
Okay folks. I think that will do it for me. Thanks for the questions. I will be on vacation next week, so we will continue or weekly chat in two weeks.
Manu Ginoboli (Argentina) [via mobile]
I'll let the Marcus Allen comparison for Grice pass since I am in a great mood from winning the championship. In all seriousness, who will be the most improved player on defense this year?
Eric D. Williams (3:59 PM)
Thanks Manu. I'll go with Donald Butler.