With three weeks in the books for the 2009 NFL Preseason, we can begin to form some definitive opinions about our favorite teams. The San Diego Chargers have shown us a nice preview as to what we can expect from them in the regular season. Let's go over what the Bolt's offense has shown us thus far:
(Photo Credit: Mike Nowak/San Diego Chargers)
CHARGERS HAVE ENVIOUS TALENT/DEPTH AT QUARTERBACK
It's dangerous to read too much into statistics during the preseason, especially at the quarterback position. But if someone hadn't had the opportunity to watch both Philip Rivers and Billy Volek play this preseason, the numbers are a pretty good indicator to how impressive those two have been. Combined, Rivers and Volek have completed 42 out of 58 pass attempts for 617 yards, 3 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Both quarterbacks have maintain passer ratings above 114.2 and both are averaging over 10 yards per pass. Going into this season, we knew that Rivers earned the right to be considered a elite QB, and he has continued to put that assertion beyond doubt.
Billy Volek, on the other hand, wasn't necessarily considered to be much more than a serviceable backup. However his performance this preseason has not only opened the eyes of Chargers fans, but he has also impressed his head coach;
"I can't say how happy I am with the way Billy Volek is playing," says Head Coach Norv Turner. "He's really gone to another level in terms of his understanding of what we are doing [offensively]. You line up all these guys that play in this league and Billy there with them, he throws the ball as well as anyone in this league."
VINCENT JACKSON POISED FOR STARDOM?
Vincent Jackson continues to play at an extremely high level, and has in many minds emerged as one of the best wide receivers in the league. His spectacular one-handed catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the third preseason game was a public display of the type of catches he has been quietly making in practice all training camp long. Not only is Jackson blessed with rare physical tools, but he is also a smart football player who does the little things right. Hard-working, tough, and studious, Jackson is as impressive mentally as he is physically.
Says Quarterback Philip Rivers, "I know I've said this numerous times in the past, but he's physically as talented and as strong and fast as there is in this league. With experience and as you progress through your career, you get better. I think, his continued work and understanding the mental part of the game, the concepts of what we are trying to do...not only what route he runs, but why and what what we are trying to get done; he has a great understanding of this offense. He is a big-play receiver, but I think he also has a great feel as a possession receiver. He can do it all; he's turned himself into a complete player."
BOLTS WILL BE AGGRESSIVE THROUGH THE AIR
We've seen the Chargers air the ball out this preseason, and that's not a fluke. The Chargers will be a team that looks for the big play down field. With and elite QB and so many quality receivers on the roster, the Chargers will take shots down the field and will look to gain big chunks of yardage at any time. Not only are they more than capable of converting on third and long, they are also showing that they are a deadly screen-pass team.
CAN THE CHARGERS RUN THE BALL WITH CONSISTENCY?
We know the Bolts will feature a prolific passing offense, but will they be able to run the ball with the same type of effectiveness? Through three preseason weeks, bright spots in the run game have been few and far between. Gartrell Johnson is a pounding, downhill runner who as a rookie still has much to learn. He broke an impressive 42 yard run, the longest Chargers run this preseason.
Michael Bennett has made his case to be a part of the 2009 Chargers. They were some who doubted he'd find a spot on a crowded San Diego roster, but Bennett is all but assure of a spot on the team. Norv Turner has liked what he has seen from Bennett and he is likely the top backup to Ladainian Tomlinson. Bennett has a nose for the endzone and still has great speed. He'll be a contributor this season.
Much of the Chargers' woes running the ball have been due to inconsistent line play. The offensive line is still looking for an identity, especially at right guard. Kynan Forney is the veteran the Chargers were hoping to plug in, but he has been hampered by injury. Louis Vasquez, the rookie with impressive physicality, has shown enough to be considered for the starting position. This is a battle that will rage on into the first week of the season and until a starting five is named, the Chargers' offensive line will struggle to find their rhythm. I want to see more from them as a group in the run game. They are a fine pass blocking line, but they need to push the line of scrimmage and bully defenses.
Are there any observations from the preseason that you'd like to share? Please do so in the comments section below. And don't forget to follow BOLTHYPE on Twitter!
Labels: Preseason 2009
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