After watching the San Diego Chargers compile a 2-1 record through the first three weeks of the season, a few trends have begun to establish themselves within the team. The Chargers have showed both positives and negatives in their play, and we take a look at a few of those things now...
(Photo Credit: Mike Nowak/San Diego Chargers)
CHARGERS CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE TO RUN THE BALL
We knew the Chargers would have a difficult time running the ball, even if they did have a healthy Ladainian Tomlinson. But one of the negative outcomes of not being an effective run team is that in order to generate offense, you are forced to throw the ball more; more pass attempts means opposing defenses blitz more, and hits on the quarterback and errant throws begin to pile up.
Philip Rivers is throwing for heaps of yards, but he has three touchdown passes to three interceptions. There have been more than a few occasions where I've let out a sigh of relief as I watch a defender drop an interception against Rivers. And we certainly can't forget about all the hits Rivers is taking. Week in and week out, we are seeing Philip Rivers absorb big blows and gingerly get back to his feet. Capable as he may be, the Chargers are not going to be a championship team if they have to rely on Billy Volek for an extended period of time.
If the Chargers are not able to run the ball with consistency, they'll be placing the entire weight of the offense on Philip Rivers' shoulders. Rivers is a Pro Bowl caliber QB, but he needs the run game to take some of the pressure off of him.
"We need to continue to run the ball and we need to continue to run the ball better," says head coach Norv Turner. "There's no question it'll help us in our protection."
"I think if you look at the good teams, the type of team we would like to be, you see they have the ability to run the ball.
SPECIAL TEAMS UNITS HAVE PLAYED SUPERBLY
I have been very impressed by the Chargers' special teams coverage units. The Bolts struggled to defend against big returns during the preseason, but now that they have solidified their roster and formed their coverage units, the Chargers are swarming to the ball and containing the return man.
In addition to keeping opposing offenses pinned back, the Chargers are also making big returns of their own. Already Darren Sproles is tied for the league lead in kick return yards, and he's making big name for himself in league circles. Sproles is a dangerous weapon who has improved year in and year out as a return man.
DEFENSIVE STRUGGLES ABOUND
On defense, the Chargers have certainly had their hands full with stopping the run. Without Jamal Williams clogging up the middle, the Chargers have proved vulnerable inside and are giving up chunks of yardage on the ground. Luckily for the defense, the Chargers' offense can score quickly, which forces opposing teams to throw the ball more.
The Chargers defense was billed as a group who likes to attack the quarterback and bring constant pressure, however they currently sit at the bottom of league with only 3 sacks. Without creating negative plays, the Chargers are going to continue to struggle with getting off the field on third down. Pressure without sacks is not enough; if an NFL quarterback cannot operate while under pressure, then he probably should not be on the field. It comes with the territory, and the Chargers defense mustn't be satisfied with a pass rush that cannot generate sacks/negative plays.
So what's your take on the team after watching them through the first three weeks of the season? Are you encouraged with what you see, or do you have serious reservations? Have your expectations for the team changed at all? Drop a comment below, or let me know how you feel via Twitter!
Labels: NFL Season 2009 Week 3
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