San Diego Chargers: Thomas Keiser

Good morning. Melissa Mecija of Ch. 10 ABC News San Diego sought comment from San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy on the recently released surveillance video of outside linebacker Thomas Keiser attacking an employee at a local bar here last December. Keiser pled guilty to misdemeanor battery and received probation, including an order to attend anger management classes.

McCoy provided few details, telling reporters the team handled the incident the right way. He would not say if Keiser had been suspended by the team or the league. Keiser has been a full participant in San Diego’s offseason program, including organized team activities.

Keiser has not been made available to comment about the incident. It’s a curious decision by the organization to not address Keiser’s situation proactively, letting the issue linger until the beginning of training camp. Keiser still has not addressed the incident publically, even though it’s been through the legal process.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com writes that Malcom Floyd looked like his old self in his return to the field on Tuesday.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego offers his thoughts on the Chargers’ first OTA practice. Krasovic writes that second-year safety Jahleel Addae looked fast.

Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego writes that receiver Keenan Allen is focused on getting better in his second season.

In anticipation of the NFL entering its 95th season, Sports Illustrated is presenting football-related objects from the history of the game. The latest is a 1981 San Diego Chargers playbook. The playbook is opened to the formation for the field goal-blocking scheme San Diego used in the team’s gritty overtime playoff win against the Miami Dolphins.

Will Brinson of CBS Sports crunches the numbers on point differential for each division over the past decade. The graphics show San Diego’s dominance of the AFC West, with the exception of the arrival of Peyton Manning in Denver.

Darren Smith of The Mighty 1090 talks with Chargers outside linebacker Jarret Johnson in this audio link.

Former Chargers reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst lost his No. 6 to a punter in a wrestling match. Whitehurst will wear No. 12 for the Tennessee Titans in 2014.
From a talent, production and numbers standpoint, the linebackers' group of the San Diego Chargers has the potential to be the best unit on the team defensively. However, this group has to prove that they can stay healthy and perform at high level for an entire season in 2014.

Locks: Melvin Ingram, Manti Te'o,
Looking good: Jarret Johnson, Larry English, Thomas Keiser, Dwight Freeney
On the bubble: Andrew Gachkar, Tourek Williams, Cordarro Law, Terrell Manning, Jonas Mouton
Free agents: Donald Butler, Reggie Walker, Bront Bird

The good: Butler finished second on the team in tackles with 84, and led San Diego in tackles in the postseason. Te'o, a second-round selection in last year's draft out of Notre Dame who played with a broken foot for most of the season, finished fifth on the team in tackles with 61. Te'o had surgery on the foot at the end of the year. Ingram impressively worked his way back onto the field six months after ACL knee surgery, making an impact during the final four games of the regular season and in the playoffs. Keiser joined the active roster from the practice squad four games into the regular season, finishing with 4.5 sacks. Walker showed versatility, with the ability to play all four linebacker positions.

The bad: Not a single starter played a full, 16-game season, as San Diego's linebackers had trouble staying healthy. Butler, Te'o and company also had a lot of missed tackles and blown assignments before shoring things up toward the end of the season. However, the Chargers allowed just six runs of 20 yards or more in 2013, tied for No. 26 in the NFL with Seattle.

The money: Re-signing Butler is one of the team's top priorities in free agency. At 25-years old, Butler, a co-captain, is considered one of San Diego's core players on defense. However, Butler has had trouble staying healthy, missing 24 of a possible 64 games during his four-year career. Butler missed four games in 2013 with a groin issue. The Chargers also have tough decisions to make on two veteran players getting long in the tooth in Freeney and Johnson. Freeney, 34, finished 2013 on the injured reserve with a quad tear. The Syracuse product is due a $500,000 roster bonus on March 15, and set to make $3.5 million in non-guaranteed salary in 2014. Freeney says he intends to play in 2014. Johnson, 32, has two years left on a four-year deal, and is set to make a non-guaranteed base salary of $4 million in 2014.

Draft priority: High. Having a fully healthy Ingram a year removed from major knee surgery should help, but the Chargers still need more answers at edge rusher for the upcoming season. Law finished with 14 sacks for Calgary in the Canadian Football League last year, and has a legitimate chance to make the 53-man roster as an edge rusher. Other college prospects that can rush the passer who could be a fit for San Diego in the draft include BYU’s Kyle Van Noy, Missouri's Kony Ealy and Auburn's Dee Ford.
Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego talks with San Diego Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd about his ongoing recovery from a serious neck injury that cut short his 2013 season.

Floyd suffered the injury in a Sept. 15 game at Philadelphia, getting sandwiched between two defenders while attempting to make a catch over the middle of the field.

According to Gehlken, Floyd still has to wear a neck brace to bed at night. Floyd has been told by doctors that the injury is potentially career ending. However, Floyd says the injury is steadily improving, and he hopes he can return to action in 2014.

At 32 years old, Floyd would be a bonus for the Chargers to get back on the field, particularly with the development of Keenan Allen. But neck injuries are risky propositions to come back from, particularly this late in someone’s career.

• Chargers defensive lineman Corey Liuget was mic’d up for last week’s AFC divisional round contest at Denver. Check out the video.

Charles Davis of NFL.com gives the Chargers Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro in his first mock draft.

Former NFL scout Gil Brandt places Keenan Allen and D.J. Fluker on his all-rookie team.

• Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus ranks San Diego’s Cam Thomas and Thomas Keiser in the bottom 10 of the defensive line interior and edge pass rushers in 2013.

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com has South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney at the top of his big board.

Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com offers his top 10 prospects to watch in this weekend’s East-West Shrine game.
SAN DIEGO -- Running back Ryan Mathews was one of two players listed as not practicing on the San Diego Chargers' injury report Wednesday.

Mathews
Mathews wore a protective boot on his injured left ankle coming off of the field at the end of practice. But he says that everything is fine. Mathews did not practice most of last week but still played against Kansas City, rushing for a season-high 144 yards on 24 carries.

"I'm fine," Mathews said. "I'm good. You just have to stay in it mentally."

Along with Mathews, receiver Eddie Royal (toe) did not practice. But both are expected to play Sunday in Cincinnati.

Defensive linemen Sean Lissemore (shoulder) and Kendal Reyes (ankle) were limited in practice.

Outside linebacker Thomas Keiser did not make himself available to reporters in the locker room after practice to discuss his recent arrest.

San Diego coach Mike McCoy said the team is handling Keiser's situation internally. Keiser did practice Wednesday and is expected to play on Sunday.

"We discussed it early Monday morning -- that's the first thing we did in the team meeting," McCoy said. "We addressed it, said 'Here's how we're handling it.' And we're moving on."

Keiser, 24, was arrested over the weekend on a misdemeanor battery charge after an altercation with another man in a restaurant that turned into a fight Sunday after San Diego's overtime win over Kansas City.

"Thomas is our teammate, our family and we support him," safety Eric Weddle said. "And until they figure all of that out we're worried about the Bengals."

Role players step up on Chargers' D

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
9:50
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SAN DIEGO -- Because of injury or poor performance, San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano has constantly juggled his starting lineup and defensive rotations this season.

[+] EnlargeThomas Keiser
AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackThomas Keiser is tied for the team lead with 4.5 sacks.
Some of the lineup changes have been a reaction to the type of offense his team faces from week to week. For example, in a win against at Denver last week, the Chargers mostly used a lineup of five defensive backs to match up with the Broncos' up-tempo passing attack.

The Chargers used a total of 16 players on defense against the Broncos. Recently, Pagano’s rotations have produced better results. San Diego’s allowed just 13.7 points per contest in the team’s last three games, two of which were wins for the Chargers.

“Play with a physical mindset, play a physical game and play with effort,” Pagano said have been points of emphasis in improving his unit’s performance. “Those are the things that take defensive players or defensive units to the next level, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Against Denver, the Chargers have held the explosive Broncos’ offense to an average of 24 points a contest in two games.

“They’ve got one of the best offenses in the history of the game,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy said about his defense’s effort against the Broncos. “They’re very explosive, and everybody knows what they can do. So give John Pagano and his staff a ton of credit. That’s an outstanding performance by the defense.”

These role players on defense have stood out for the Chargers this season.

OLB Thomas Keiser: The Stanford University product began the season on the practice squad. But after season-ending injuries to Dwight Freeney and Larry English, Keiser was added to the active roster in Week 5 and took on more of a role as a third down pass-rusher. He’s tied for the team lead with a career-high 4.5 sacks and corralled his first interception of the season against Denver on Thursday. At 6-4 and 260 pounds, Kaiser has enough speed and strength to get home off of the edge and is improving his pass coverage skills.

LB Reggie Walker: Pagano calls him Mr. Opportunity. Signed by San Diego just before the season began on Sept. 2 after he was released by Arizona during final roster cuts, Walker has played all four linebacker positions for the Chargers. The Kansas State product has started in four games. Walker has 41 tackles, three sacks, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble.

S Jahleel Addae: An undrafted rookie free agent out Central Michigan, Addae played mostly when the Chargers put six defensive backs on the field in obvious passing situations. However, Addae made his first start against Denver last week, finishing with two tackles. Addae has 31 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery on the year.

CB Richard Marshall: The eight-year veteran took over for a struggling Derek Cox at cornerback three weeks ago, helping to stabilize the back end of San Diego’s defense. Marshall has 51 tackles and six pass breakups on the season.

DE Sean Lissemore: Picked up in a trade with the Cowboys this season for a seventh-round pick, Lissemore helped anchor a run defense that allowed just 18 rushing yards to Denver last week. Lissemore has 21 tackles, two sacks and an interception on the year.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- He's been close to finishing with a sack since being added to the active roster from the practice squad three weeks ago.

However, things finally came together for San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Thomas Keiser against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He sacked Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne twice, part of a six-sack performance by the Chargers' defense.

Keiser also had two quarterback hurries and a pass deflection in San Diego's 24-6 win over winless Jacksonville.

With outside linebacker Jarret Johnson and inside linebacker Donald Butler out, Keiser was one of a handful of young defensive players who stepped up in the duo's absence, including edge rusher Larry English (five tackles and a sack), linebacker Andrew Gachkar (five tackles), safety Jahleel Addae (four tackles and a sack) and safety Marcus Gilchrist (four tackles, two pass deflections and an interception).

“I play with a chip on my shoulder, regardless of what is said as far as whether we're missing playmakers or not,” Keiser said. “When it comes down to it, I entered this league as an undrafted free agent. Nobody expected me to do anything. And every day I go out there, I have to live with those consequences.

“It's harder coming in that way. It's harder earning opportunities to play. And once I get on the field, I take that very seriously because it's something that was hard to earn. So I go out there and try to make plays.”

At 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, Keiser has prototypical size for an edge rusher. He had 2.5 sacks in a preseason game this season against Arizona, so San Diego coach Mike McCoy chose to go with Keiser rather than sign a pass rusher when Dwight Freeney was placed on the injured reserve with a season-ending quadriceps tear.

San Diego veteran safety Eric Weddle said Keiser's impressive play is just another example of young players finding their way defensively for the Chargers.

“We can't feel sorry for ourselves,” Weddle said. “We always like to have our best players in there. But it's the NFL. Guys are never going to be completely healthy and it's just huge for those guys -- Thomas Keiser with two sacks, Manti (Te'o) making a few big plays, (Andrew) Gachkar getting in there and getting a week better. Larry (English) had a sack. Jahleel (Addae) had a sack coming in on the dime package.

“We had a lot of young guys stepping up, growing beyond their years because they have to. We can't wait around for them. So it's exciting, and it's definitely enjoyable to see as an older guy.”
An examination of four hot issues from the San Diego Chargers27-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

[+] EnlargeManti Te'o
Tony Avelar/AP PhotoManti Te'o has the maturity and smarts to handle heavy adversity, Chargers GM Tom Telesco said.
Te’o needs to play free: After playing just 14 snaps in his regular-season debut last week, San Diego rookie linebacker Manti Te'o saw significantly more time against the Raiders. Te’o finished with a combined five tackles but did not make any of the game-changing plays that he became known for at Notre Dame. “I’ve got to do a better job,” Te’o said. “Personally, for me, I can’t take that long to get into a groove of things. I’m just thinking too much. When you think, you stink. As a rookie you’re trying so hard not to make a mistake, but sometimes by taking that mentality, you end up making mistakes anyway. So I need to just let the game flow and just go out there and play football.”

Turnovers still an issue: The Chargers have a minus-eight turnover differential through five games, tied for fourth-worst in the NFL, after turning it over five times against the Raiders. San Diego has forced just two turnovers this season while giving up the ball 10 times. And San Diego’s defensive backfield still does not have an interception. The Chargers will not be a consistent winner until they do a better job in this important statistical area.

Freeney’s absence noticeable: The Chargers sacked Terrelle Pryor four times, but none in the first half as the Raiders jumped out to a 17-0 lead. Starting outside linebacker Jarret Johnson did a nice job of picking up the slack with the team’s best pass-rusher, Dwight Freeney, done for the year after suffering a torn quadriceps injury last week. Johnson finished with two sacks, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry and a forced fumble. However, Freeney’s replacement, Larry English, finished with just two tackles, and did not make an impact as a pass-rusher. Thomas Keiser, the team’s backup edge rusher, had one tackle in limited duty. “There was definitely more I could have done,” English said. “It wasn’t a good enough showing for me, personally, and we know as a team it’s wasn’t good enough.”

Allen a draft steal: While first-round selections Tavon Austin, Cordarrelle Patterson and DeAndre Hopkins have received more attention nationally, San Diego’s Keenan Allen is quickly developing into one of the most productive rookie receivers this season. Allen was targeted by Philip Rivers nine times against Oakland, finishing with six catches for 115 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown catch. Allen posted this impressive performance a week after totaling five catches for 80 yards in a win against Dallas last week. NFL scouts questioned Allen’s speed and ability to create separation at the next level because he's 6-foot-2, 211 pounds. But the Chargers grabbed the physical receiver out of California in the third round, and he’s averaging a healthy 16.1 yards per catch this season. He's also earned the trust of Rivers.
The San Diego Chargers added four defensive players Sunday.

The team claimed defensive lineman Drake Nevis from the Indianapolis Colts and linebacker Terrell Manning from the Green Bay Packers. Earlier in the day, the team traded a 2015 conditional seventh-round pick to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for defensive tackle Sean Lissemore, and signed linebacker and special-teams standout Reggie Walker. He was with Arizona.

Nevis is a good player who should help the defensive line depth. He was in Indianapolis with first-year San Diego general manager Tom Telesco. I think he can be a good player. All four of the players should help with depth and help San Diego’s special teams. it was poor in the preseason.

The Chargers added three players to the practice squad: tackle Nick Becton, linebacker Thomas Keiser and cornerback Marcus Cromartie. They were all cut by the team Saturday. The Chargers have five more openings on the practice squad.

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