San Diego Chargers Quick Hits After Week 3


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.

YOUR TAKE

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!


September 29, 2009

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14 comments:

Anonymous said... Sep 29, 2009, 3:04:00 PM

i agree with u!!

we are having a lot of problems in trying to establish our runinng game and thats a very big issue if we want to be a super bowl caliber team,
i hope we can get LT and louis vazquez back for this week game against the steelers, because if we don´t have a bigger threat than sproles and bennett we would continue to be very predictable in our play calling, and against a defensive unit like the steelers even though they are not gonna have polamalu (a very big hole for them) they still have harrison timmons ike taylor and a lot of big playmakers.

regarding the defense merriman has to step up and make big plays, if he doesnt we will not have a good defensive unit and if we want to win a super bowl, we need a good defense that can make plays!


go BOLTS!!!!!!

Neoplatonist Bolthead said... Sep 29, 2009, 3:07:00 PM

The run defense will solidify. The pass defense is seriously underrated. What worries me is the run game. They should run Bennett a lot next week and keep Sproles healthy: if the o-line starts to gel, as it may, then we'll be able to build our run game for the late season, when it really matters. Bennett is no slouch as a receiver, you know: they can run most of the plays with Bennett as well as with Sproles. I don't even think they have to stop running 43 up the middle: I just don't think they can do it as much as they have been. Once or twice a game just to make sure the opponent doesn't get complacent is enough.

EZ said... Sep 30, 2009, 8:45:00 AM

All of LT's chatter before the season started about the level of his performance this season, even going so far as to get into a tit for tat with another running back on the subject of who is the best back in the league has back fired on not only him, but the entire team. Everyone in San Diego, and even those further away (I live in Oregon now) were a indignant that there was a possibility that the Chargers would sever ties with LT and that they were also putting distance between the club and Merriman. I was incredulous that AJ wouldn't think of Merriman as anything other than an asset. Now, three games into the season all of those arguments seem to be settled. LT is sitting on the bench and Merriman isn't doing much even when he's on the field. His dominating presence is yet to be felt on either side of the line and now he's injured again. With Jamal Williams on the sideline the defense is once again fighting an uphill battle. The offensive line is in shambles and no matter how good Sproles is he isn't going to do much without proper blocking and protection. I've been waiting for the Chargers to get to the super bowl since Dan Fouts was running the offense and it's really old having to say maybe next year, but that's exactly what I see myself saying now. All it'll take is Rivers getting hit good and hard and it'll all be over. I'm no general manager and I'm no one to think that I possess enough knowledge to suggest I know the answer to the problem. However it's obvious they need a competent offensive line, and they've got to figure out how to replace the dominating presence of Merriman and Williams on the defensive side and until they do it'll be a crap shoot every time they're on the field.

EZ

Anonymous said... Sep 30, 2009, 11:58:00 AM

I'm continually frustrated with the coaching staff's inability to adapt to the players they have currently. With the decimated O-line, we can't run effectively even with healthy LT in the back field. So why not start spreading out the field a little by dumping off short and quick slant/out passes to all their receiving weapons? This will also give Rivers to get rid of the ball quickly rather than waiting for the receivers to get open down the field. Let's utilize what we have rather than complaining about what we should be.
Defensively they are starting to tighten up and hopefully it will stay that way. Hopefully English will be able to improve weekly as he did against Miami.

Anonymous said... Sep 30, 2009, 12:51:00 PM

i really think we have the worst coach of the league and thats killing us!!! our offensive game is so predictable it annoys me! we dont have an efficient running game an thats gonna be a big blow (as it has been) in the red zone, i can´t believe that with so many weapons we are unable to score touchdowns!!

i hope this improves!!

Yaseen said... Sep 30, 2009, 2:10:00 PM

I'm really disappointed with the lack of an o-line. Okay we know LT isn't running as well but everything starts with a line.
The O and D line need to improve so that this team can regain both its running and pressurizing form.
I'm not happy with where this team is headed.

Mark said... Sep 30, 2009, 3:06:00 PM

I think it would be a great idea if AJ Smith hired John Gruden to replace Norv. Norv just does not have the fire and the intangibles to inspire his players like Marty had- and I think that is what this team is missing. And of course Norv is so one dimensional, as this team is living and dying with the pass (God Bless, Phil Rivers).

The 2006 season was our year for the SB, unfortunately it just wasn't in the cards. I still have nightmares about that playoff game against the Pats.

Anonymous said... Sep 30, 2009, 3:12:00 PM

I HATE NORV!!!! AJ PLEASE BRING IN COWER OR GRUDEN!! THAT WAS A VERY GOOD SUGGESTION!!!

Anonymous said... Sep 30, 2009, 4:41:00 PM

I doubt Cower would even want to sniff a Chargers position after working in Pittsburgh, and Gruden is enormously overrated; he's no better than Norv and another step sideways will collapse this team.
Meanwhile, Charger fans: #1 Rule in a street fight; Do NOT P-A-N-I-C, it's still early and we've only lost to a legitimately good team (which we had on the proverbial ropes near the end) in a game we should've won.
Yes, it's true our O and D lines are not intimidating anyone, but we are flat-out LUCKY with how WELL that Dombrowski, Mruczkowski, and Nwagbuo have played so far. Our Bolts are de-e-e-ep!
As for possible solutions:
OFFENSE: If you can't get fast, big men to block, you have to move the ball around quickly and/or pound it, pound it, pound it. The Chargers should introduce their own version of the (get ready for it...) Wildcat Offense; using LT and Nanee with big Manumaleuna and/or Corey Clark as battering rams. It might sometimes be the Charger version of “3 yards and a cloud of dust”, but it could accomplish much the same effects as discussed above, although not so spectacular to watch; yet still keeping the advantage of the size of our receivers. And from the dust emerges…, Sproles!! Also, use Osgood more, and toss hungry Tolbert and Hester into the mix too. Whip their ass the O.S. way.
DEFENSE: Here it’s even tougher, but so far our cornerbacks (especially Jammer) have been sensational, and Weddle turned the big play last week. Cooper and Burnett also showed well, and Nwagbuo was already mentioned. But the rest are problematic, and clearly Merriman is virtually missing until further notice. So, simply put, it’s time for the subs to “nut up or shut up”. I think they can do it, and should ALL be given the opportunity as soon as possible. Also, use Osgood more.
SPECIAL TEAMS: We are so blessed here, as long as no groin injuries linger. Count our blessings.
COACHING: ‘Tis said; Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way. Like others, I have reservations about Norv as a leader of men, but he has a great record as an offensive coordinator/designer. So I don’t expect Norv to only follow; I only ask that he stay out of the way (and manage the goddamn clock!).

Anonymous said... Oct 1, 2009, 7:31:00 AM

I completely agree, the chargers have so many powerful weapons if only Norv would learn to use them right!

Anonymous said... Oct 2, 2009, 2:04:00 PM

Well, a lot is true that I have been reading ... much to my disappointment I can't argue. Some things that I think we could do ... 1. Since the offensive line is struggling (but they worked their respective tails off against Baltimores D line), we need a spark or a great big fullback. Hester, is coming into his own but is only standing people up (last year he was getting blown to peices). How about (and I know this sounds crazy) in goal line situations, line up Manalua (can't spell his name) at fullback and have him blast a hole ... 280lbs of running tight end .. it's better than what we got now. RED ZONE!

2. D line, we are already stuffing the line and still they have time to throw. Our 7 man front line up is obviously not getting to the passer as it did 2 years ago - they all have figured it out. Time to run the basic 4-3 package and stunt. We haven't seen 1 stunt and Pittsburg ... well they live by it.

Anonymous said... Oct 19, 2009, 9:24:00 PM

Enough talk from team players oline cant get the job done LT its over ounce a premier back is hurt in the NFL its down hill name one back thats come back to do the same or better i dont think chunky soup and selling TV,S will help his payroll either.Ill lay it down chambers ,cromartie,merriman,castillo,willams,tolbert,hester,head coach,def cord all got to go.start fresh easy breakdown LT couldnt catch a drunk shoplifter,chambers is slow and drops balls,merriman hasnt done the same since he stop talking steroids,castillo out of gas left on the freeway,willams its just time to retire,tolbert cant stick up a old lady,hester is the size of my baby brother still looks like he plays college ball,norv just lacks what it takes to win the big one,and the biggest upset is we havent had any hard hitting since seau and harrison played i dont see it getting better letes be honest with ourself i see the early 90,s all over. i give up all these guys are rich and couldnt give a ratts -ss about the game hopefully the NFL goes on strike and we can watch games like the replacements your tired 25 year longtime fan.

Anonymous said... Oct 19, 2009, 9:37:00 PM

AFTER WATCHING TONIGHTS GAME I HAVE ONE CONCLUSION CHARGERS JUST DONT HAVE IT. SO PLAYERS START LOOKING TO PLAY FOR DIFFERENT TEAMS BEFORE YOU REALLY SUCK AND YOUR NOT WORTH A DIME LT YOU MAKE ME SICK YOU LIKE CASHING YOUR CHECK BUT YOU CANT DO CRAP SINCE YOU GOT HURT I BET YOU MISS ONEAL.MERRIMAN YOU SUCK YOU SHOULD START ASKING THE COWBOYS FOR A JOB THAT WAY YOU CAN REALLY SUCK.THE ONLY PLAYER ON THIS TEAM WITH A SET OF BALLS IS RIVERS, THATS A SHAME AND HES GOT SUCH A LONG TIME TO PLAY FOR THE CHARGERS TOO.STUPID AJ SMITHS GOT TO GO TOO.SUCH A BEAUTIFULL CITY AND TEAM CANT GET IT TOGETHER THIS TEAM SHOULD WATCH HOW REAL MEN GET IT DONE GO THROUGH A FEW MARINE BOOTCAMP SESSIONS.

Anonymous said... Oct 19, 2009, 9:41:00 PM

THE CHARGERS ARE LIKE A WINSTON CIG ,JUST GOT SMOKED OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

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