Chargers At Vikings: Post-game Thoughts

Thoughts on a frustrating loss to the Minnesota Vikings:

What exactly is the reason the Chargers don't use Antonio Cromartie on returns? The line about him needing to focus on defense is crap. How can you sit on a weapon like Cromartie, especially when Darren Sproles has been no better than an average return man? One of the biggest reason's Cromartie was such a valuable pick was that he brought so much more to the table beyond just cornerback skills. Sproles has been a middle of the road returner and Cromartie is making the spectacular play seem commonplace. If the concern is one of injury on behalf of the runner, I would like to believe that the Chargers have some guys who could step up if needed, such as Cletis Gordon, Eric Weddle, and Paul Oliver.

I've been largely supportive of Philip Rivers during his time here in San Diego. I had expected big things from him this season, and rightfully so; he was coming into his second year as a starter and was fresh off a Pro Bowl season. But I've had to bite my tongue this year as I've seen Rivers make poor throws all season long. I don't just mean bad decisions with the ball...I mean the ball is thrown in places that make it difficult for the receivers to catch. Sometimes the ball is thrown downfield and is wobbling around in the air. I'm not sure what's going on with Rivers, but the bottom line is that he needs to play better.

Is Vincent Jackson really that much of a better blocking receiver than Kassim Osgood? Because I know one thing: he certainly isn't far and away a better pass catcher. Jackson certainly contributes on offense with his ability to block down field. But its beyond frustrating to see footballs bounce directly off of his hands. The knock against Osgood is that he isn't a very good at receiving the ball. But neither is Vincent Jackson.

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At this point, I don't think there is any doubt the Chargers will need to draft another really good defensive end. This is not a slight against the current starters Olshansky and Castillo (or even Cesaire for that matter). The team simply needs some better depth there. Castillo and Olshansky missed games last year because of injury and it wouldn't surprise me to see them get dinged up this season. They play punishing positions and are extremely physical players.

The Vikings defenders allowed Ladainian Tomlinson to use the sideline against himself. On his runs to the outside, Tomlinson was often forced to run the ball out of bounds instead of bouncing it back up inside. Knowing that Tomlinson prefers to get out of bounds instead of take the unnecessary big hit, the Vikings defenders seemed all too happy to funnel LT out of bounds. Conversely, Adrian Peterson ran with a punishing North-South style and churned up a record 296 yards to Tomlinson's 40.

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November 4, 2007

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