Shaun Phillips is going to win most one-on-one matchups, and at the very least he is going to put some pressure on the QB. But when you let the man run into the backfield without even touching him, then you're fixing to get your quarterback killed. The guy is the Chargers' fastest linebacker off the ball, and he takes sacking QBs very seriously. As long as teams keep focusing on getting Shawne Merriman blocked, Shaun Phillips is going to have fun punishing guys like Rex Grossman. I've already talked about the real possibility that Shaun Phillips is going to have an amazing year, and he started his campaign for a Pro Bowl with his game in Week 1.
The offensive line was getting bullied by the Bears, but that should come as no surprise. The Chicago Bears have an amazingly strong and athletic set of linemen, and that extends to the situational guys as well as the four who come out on the base defense. There was a question mark on that defense let behind when they waived Tank Johnson, but it looks like the Bears wont miss a beat. Good on them, I say. As a football fan, ts a pleasure to watch such an impressive group of linemen in a 4-3 defense, something that seems to becoming more and more rare each season.
Shawne Merriman has been looking extremely impressive as he displays abilities other than his highlighted pass rush skills. Rushing the passer is how he gets paid, but lets not discount his ability to affect the game in the flats. He causes Cedric Benson is drop a pass coming out of the backfield; Merriman read the play, and began pursuit of Benson before the ball was even thrown. Benson, hearing footsteps coming from #56, decided it was best to just mis-handle the catch rather than take a huge hit from Lights Out. Benson undoubtedly saw Merriman's latest commercial.
Merriman was moved around the field, lining up outside and then pre-snap stunting in the middle. Instead of having to beat the offensive tackle with a spin move and then have to possibly take on a running back as an extra blocker, Merriman is freed up to simply bull rush the center, like he did on that infamous sack of Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. Merriman is becoming a complete player.
I was expecting for Antonio Gates to have a great season. There was talk all during the summer about how Norv Turner was going to use Antonio in a variety of ways to exploit matchups and to get the ball into the hands of one of our most dangerous weapons. However, I never expected Gates to get an amazing thirteen passes thrown his way!
I love Lorenzo Neal. I love what he brings to the team, and I love that he is a personal bodyguard to Ladainain Tomlinson. He has an awesome personality and hits like a Mack Truck. But can we please stop throwing it to him?! It seems like its such a wasted play. I don't care enough to do the actual research on it, but I'd be surprised if the success/fail ratio of throwing it to Neal the past three years is better than 40/60!
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