(This preview has been brought to you by Low Commander of the Super Soldiers, Old School Zero, and sunrisesunrise)
Keenan Allen: Damn. This shit again.
Brandon Flowers: Yeah, tell me about it. Hell, I don’t even think Rivers has healed up from last season yet!
Philip Rivers: [Limps in on crutches, most of his body wrapped in sports tape things, holding his ribs, audibly wheezing and unable to talk]
Keenan Allen: Yeesh. I don’t know how he does it. Especially after the hits he took last year.
Keenan Allen: Dayumn.
Antonio Gates: I wonder why our damn robot of a coach called us all in today. He’s not really the type for inspirational conversations.
Denzel Perryman: Maybe we finally signed Joey Bosa and we finally get to meet the dude!
Danny Woodhead: EYYYYY! I’M-A JOEY-A BOSAAAA!
Keenan Allen: Why don’t we-a… make-a him a offer he-a cannot-a refuse!
Brandon Flowers: He’s a spicy-a meat-a-ball-a!
Denzel Perryman: It’s-a me! Mario!
Danny Woodhead: EYYYYYYYYY! FAHGEDDABOUDIT, EH?
Keenan Allen: Hey, Godfaddah da Bosaaaaaaaa! I kiss-a da ring!
Brandon Flowers: I’mma get-a some-a gabba goo! Some-a sausage and-a peppers!
Denzel Perryman: Eyyy, Luigi! How-a come you no save-a da princess!
Danny Woodhead: EYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! WHY YOU GOTTA BUST-A MY BALLS-A?
Keenan Allen: Just when I think I’m-a out, they pull me-a back in-a!
Brandon Flowers: Bring-a the cal-a-zoney! And-a the cannoli!
Denzel Perryman: [To SMB underground theme] Bosa-bosa-bosa. Bosa-bosa-bosa. Bosa-bos-bos-bos-bos-b-b-b-b-b-b-bosa!
Danny Woodhead: EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! I GOTTA A GREASY COMB-A!
Keenan Allen: I know it was-a you-a, Fredo! You break-a my heart-a!
Brandon Flowers: Pizza pizza pizza!
Denzel Perryman: Yoshi! You-a my best-a friend!
Manti Te’o: Say hello to my little friend!
Danny Woodhead: Dude, I think that’s more Cuban than Italian…
Manti Te’o: No, I mean my little friend, right here. [Motions to empty space near him]
Antonio Gates: Wait, I think I hear someone coming…
[DOOR FLIES OPEN, hitting Orlando Franklin in the hip, breaking it; a practice squad member takes his seat]
Mike McCoy: Hello. How are you all doing today? I am fine.
King Dunlap: [Goes to help Orlando, tears Achilles tendon standing up from the bench, a junior varsity player for SDSU takes his spot on the bench]
Mike McCoy: I’m looking forward to another season of coaching this team as it plays the football. We have many games in our future and I hope that our competitive spirit is ready and able to compete in these competitions. With that said, any questions?
Keenan Allen: Can we, I don’t know, pick up the tempo a little bit and use the hurry-up more often? You know, throw the other team off a little?
Mike McCoy: I am not progr—responsible for calling plays, which is why Coach Whisenhunt will resume that duty. I just try to do what’s best for the team during the game so that we can stay competitive.
Chris Watt: Are we going to do more than just pass block? [Suffers concussion from moving his jaw, is replaced by a fat guy from the nearest In-N-Out Burger mid-question]
Mike McCoy: I just go with the best call in the moment.
Denzel Perryman: Could we try staying aggressive when we have a lead, instead of going soft and letting other teams back in the game?
Mike McCoy: We’re just going to do this as a team, in the best way for the moment.
Philip Rivers: [Pant pant pant, groan]
Mike McCoy: Sometimes I just have to go with my gut and make the best call available to me.
Melvin Gordon: You gonna do something to let me score a touchdown this year?
Mike McCoy: I just try to make the best call in the moment to help the team win.
Manti Te’o: Can you do something to help me raise all these children that I had with my beautiful girlfriend?! [Motions to empty space nearby]
Mike McCoy: I’m going to do what’s best for the team.
Antonio Gates: Man, you just keep saying that, but it doesn’t mean anything. You’re just lucky you got to be the “coach” of Peyton Manning and then some inbred Spanos child figured that meant you were a genius. Is that true? You some kind of genius that we just haven’t seen here yet?
Mike McCoy: Hey, guys, come on… [Face twitches] I put on my fleshy skin suit one appendage at a time, just like you all.
Keenan Allen: Wait, what did you just say?
Mike McCoy: Listen, I just… just want to… [Twitches increase]… make, make the best calllllllll–
Tom Telesco: [From the back of the room] Not again–
Mike McCoy: [His neck and limbs jerk at odd angles, his head rotating from side to side in a smooth, even motion as some sparks start to shoot out] BEST CALL! BEST BEST CALL! BEST FOR FOR TEAM! MOOOOOOOOOMENT!
Tom Telesco: [Run quickly forward and grabs McCoy by the elbow, leading him towards the door] Well, coach, I think it’s time for you to go study some film or something. You know, RECHARGE your BATTERIES?
Mike McCoy: Yes, yes, yes, that’s definitely, definitely what’s b-b-est call in the the the the momomomoment!
[DOOR FLIES SHUT]
Brandon Flowers: What was all that about?
Tom Telesco: Oh, he, was, uh, just brushing up on his Italian for when Joey gets here! You know Coach! Always a kidder!
Danny Woodhead: EYYYY, I A-MAKEA THE BESTA CALL FOR THE MOMENT, EH? GABBANA GOOCH!
Antonio Gates: Yo, you really need to do something about Coach. Like, maybe accidentally leave him off the team flights.
Kennan Allen: Or teach him how to read a clock.
Denzel Perryman: Or remind him that punts aren’t automatic.
Philip Rivers: [Wheeze]
Tom Telesco: Anyway, I’m glad I get a chance to talk with everyone, as I’m very excited for the season ahead. We’ve made some excellent moves during the offseason—we’ve got a great new nose tackle from Seattle in Brandon Mebane, and Casey Heyward should help contribute in the secondary. Second round pick Hunter Henry is just the type of TE we love. I’m very excited to see how our running game explodes this year as Melvin Gordon here reunites with his fullback from Wisconsin, sixth round pick Derek Watt!
Brandon Flowers: We wasted a draft pick on a fullback when all we do are draws from the shotgun?
Tom Telesco: Listen, we are the prime destination for top talent because we’re primed to win it all! A top WR was willing to come play with us for relative peanuts—because he knows he can get a championship here. Everybody say hello to Kelvin Benjamin!
Travis Benjamin: My name’s Travis. Travis Benjamin.
Tom Telesco: Uh–
Keenan Allen: Yeah. Dude’s from Cleveland. You know, the Browns?
Tom Telesco: But I thought I—
Travis Benjamin: I’m honored to be here and I can’t believe you guys actually have a quarterback! And that he’s sober!
Tom Telesco: Well, that’s uh… But, hey! Welcome! That’s okay though, as we also landed a true steal to play opposite him: Julio Jones!
James Jones: Uh, yeah, that’s not me. [Points to self] Not Julio.
Tom Telesco: Er, I’m sorry, Marvin Jones!
James Jones: Naw, man. James Jones. Ex-Packer? Damn am I glad to be on the West Coast where I don’t have to wear a hoodie all the time. And check out these awesome fish tacos! [Motions to gigantic plate of fresh fish tacos, with avocado and mango salsa] My boy Eddie Lacy told me about a place and hooked me up. Gotta get into that preseason shape!
Tom Telesco: Uh–
James Jones: [With mouth full] Yo, these fish tacos are THE BOMB! Keep ‘em coming!
Tom Telesco: Listen, irregardless—
Danny Woodhead: That’s not a word.
Tom Telesco: –I think we have all the pieces in place to see PR17 to show once again that he’s one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, and that we have a great shot to win a championship.
Philip Rivers: [Coughs up a little blood, smiles weakly]
Antonio Gates: What’s our backup plan, though? Rivers might just get killed out there this season behind that line, and behind him we have… uh… who are you again?
Kellen Clemens: Kellen… uh… Clemens?
Antonio Gates: Wait, really? Who let you back in here? And who’s this guy?
Zach Mettenberger: [Selfies with AG, posts it with “Hanging with a legdend! #SWAG ??⚡️”]
Antonio Gates: [Digs retirement papers out of his locker]
Hunter Henry: [Notices, pumps fist]
Tom Telesco: We’re confident we have the best possible personnel signed to the team to be successful.
Denzel Perryman: “Signed to the team,” huh? What about Bosa, man?
Danny Woodhead: EYYYYYY—
Denzel Perryman: Don’t start that again, man. Bosa’s mom said she’d rather they’d pulled an Eli, man. That’s just cold! Why can’t y’all just sign him already?
Antonio Gates: Yeah, and why did the Spanos family agree on the most expensive and controversial downtown location for the new stadium? It’s almost as if they’re setting that up to fail on this November’s ballot so they can have a built-in excuse to leave and then blame the fans for it.
Tom Telesco: We’re just doing what’s in the best interest of—
Antonio Gates: Goddamnit.
Keenan Allen: Come on, man. Just tell us one thing that you’ve done right this offseason!
Tom Telesco: Well, we have completely revamped our Strength and Conditioning Department in response to the injury-riddled seasons we’ve been suffering from lately. So I’d like to introduce you to our new Strength and Conditioning Guru, who has a very… uh… powerful philosophy on the subject and is really going to change the way we do things here. Please welcome…
[DOOR FLIES OPEN]
BOLTMAN: WOOOOOOOOO! [STOMP, STOMP, CLAP!] BOLTMAN is here to make you the ROUGHEST, TOUGHEST, STRONGEST, MOST BAAAAAAAD AAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSS FOOTBALL TEAM THIS WORLD HAS EVER SEEN! BOLTMAN has [Air quotes] “ELIMINATED” those clipboard toting, pencil neck trainer geeks AND THEIR STATE OF THE ART, PANSY ASS STERILE EQUIPMENT and put together THE MOST ELECTRIFYING AND PRIMORDIAL OBSTACLE COURSE KNOWN TO MAN! YOU WANT CROSS FIT? TRY DODGING CROSSBOWS WHILE AVOIDING DRONES COVERED IN RAZOR WIRE! YOU LIKE SPORTS NUTRITION? WELL YOU BETTER LEARN TO EAT YOUR KILLS WHEN THE NIGHT GETS DARK AND YOU STILL HAVEN’T ESCAPED BOLTMAN’S LABYRINTH OF AWESOME! [Runs in place and beats chest] THIS COURSE HAS ALREADY CONSUMED THE SOULS OF FOUR BLACK OPS LEGENDS, SOME REAL BADASSES, SO IT’S GONNA MAKE ELDER GODS OF YOU PUNY, FLESHY MEN!
Philip Rivers: [Cough, hack] Heathen… [Wheeze]
BOLTMAN: IT’S! TIME! TO! [CLAP CLAP] PUMP! [CLAP] YOU! [CLAP] UUUUUUUUUUP! [Demon horns, head banging] BOLTMAN is ready to get you CHARGED UP for the season ahead! I know everyone heard about Tony Sparano’s football that one year, BUT BOLTMAN HAS SOMETHING THAT’S GONNA GET YOUR ELECTRIC CURRENT REALLY FLOWING! WOOO!
[Tosses a large, wriggling, and oddly stained burlap sack in front of the group, from which indistinct muffled sounds emanate]
ALL RIGHT, MOVE OUT, DOUBLE TIME! WE GOTTA GET DOWN TO THE BEACH IN LA JOLLA, LIGHT SOME POWDER BLUE CANDLES AND GET TO WORK BEFORE THE GREEN FLASH! LAST ONE THERE ENDS UP IN THE BAG! NOW RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN! [Dances to San Diego Super Chargers as the locker room scatters]
Trevor Robinson: YEAH! I’m feeling stronger already! [Trips over burlap sack] Hey! I think I’m actually oka– [Is suddenly pulled inside and never seen again]
Tom Telesco: What have I done?
Dean Spanos: [Suddenly materializes from the shadows and grabs James Jones plate of fish tacos] Hehehehehehehehehe! [Disappears in a black cloud of smoke]
Somewhat sober season soothsaying by the Blue Balled Bolt Boys:
OSZ: IF–a big ass IF–everyone stays healthy, I can see this team getting within statistical significance of 8 wins. I’m guessing we’ll go about 2-4 in the division, overachieve and beat one good team, and then lose another couple we should have won–probably to the Browns somehow. Our offense should improve from last year and feature a handful of really enjoyable moments, but our defense will be a liability to our record, especially as the year goes on. We probably won’t even sign Joey Bosa until week 10. In my darkest of hearts, however, I think there’s a greater chance this year of our offensive line completely disappearing and Philip Rivers getting carted off the field, lost to the season. In that case, we get four wins and Antonio Gates retires the very next day.
Low Commander of the Super Soldiers: I apparently haven’t been told that the team is actively trying to skip town or beaten down by last years 4-12 record enough to be (SURPRISINGLY) optimistic about the Chargers 2016 season. Much like OSZ indicated, I feel that the outlook, as with most teams, is decided by the health of the starting squad. The Chargers have been plagued with injuries on both sides of the ball for the last 3+ years, and finally decided to do something about it this year by firing most of their S&C staff, as well as mercifully shitcanning Frank Reich as Offensive Coordinator. I am very happy to see The Whiz! return to that position, and after investing in players that can actually help with the running game, think that he will finally be able to oversee a more balanced offense (by comparison) and finally allow us to see if Melvin Gordon lives up to the hype, or is just another example of how to waste a first (and fourth… and fifth…) round pick. Will Travis Benjamin finally be the deep threat the Chargers have been missing since Vincent Jackson left? Seeing as how he is only 5′ 10″ and Rivers loves his monster-sized targets, probably not, but if he can at least open Kennan Allen up somewhat, then I’d call it a decent signing. The offensive line, bolstered by the addition of Matt Slauson, has the talent to be good enough to give the High Commander time to throw, provided they can stay on the field. The defense is, well, less than noteworthy. Without Jason Verrett, there’s nothing remarkable here, yet the starting secondary can be surprisingly decent. The run defense though… Start your running backs against this team (especially if Bosa misses much more time), and watch them play like Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl.
Despite all of this I think the Chargers will surprise many this year by going [Counts on fingers] 10-6, and splitting 3-3 in the division! What?! No, I haven’t been drinking… [Kicks “Enjoy By IPA” bottle under desk] This is in part due to the very weak schedule (AFC/NFC South plus Browns/’Fins), which the entire AFC West will benefit from as well, and why I don’t expect them to win the division with that record. Time will tell if this is the last year the Bolts stay in San Diego, so support this team as best you can, while you can, and keep giving Dean and his brood the one-fingered salute they so aptly deserve. Or else, you risk finding BOLTMAN on your doorstep one rainy night, with a car battery and jumper cables in hand… and no car in sight.
sunrisesunrise: Sorry I’ve been drunk in Mexico, totally shirking my preview responsibilities. Although for what it’s worth, which is less than the peso, I predict 4-12.