Chargers 2012 Offense Will Be Potent


The 2011 San Diego Chargers offense was nothing to sneeze at, but it is clear that the Bolts need a more consistent effort from that side of the ball in the coming season. While the club did manage to put up some solid numbers across the board, turnovers and predictability became the team’s enemy down the stretch. Thankfully the front office has done quite a bit to ensure that those same issues don’t continue to plague the team in 2012.

THE GOOD

Points weren’t really a problem for last year’s Bolts as the team averaged 25.4 points per game which was tied for fifth in the league. The team also ran 1,048 plays a year ago ranking fifth, racked up 393.1 yards per game which ranked sixth, and had very little trouble moving the chains with 22.4 first downs per contest, third in the NFL.

The Chargers’ 116.5 rush yards per game in 2011 ranked in the middle of the league, but was up year-over-year from 2010 and is a huge improvement from the struggles of 2009. That may have also contributed to the team’s success on third downs as they ranked second in the league converting 49 percent of the time. There’s no doubt that the increased rushing numbers positively affected the time of possession stat which saw the Bolts hold the ball an average of 32:27 per game ranking third in the league.

THE NOT SO GOOD

It’s no secret that the team had difficulties taking care of the pigskin last season as their turnover margin was -7 ranking 25th in the NFL. Interception issues for Philip Rivers early and often doomed that number as the quarterback threw a career-high 20 picks. Much of those struggles came due to a depleted offensive line in front of him leading to plenty of forced, untimely throws. Nine fumbles by Rivers due to that pressure also was a recipe for disaster as the Chargers shot themselves in the foot time after time in 2011.

Ryan Mathews doesn’t escape without blame either after he put the ball on the turf five times as well. Ball security must be a focus for him in 2012 as he is expected to have an increased workload in the season ahead.

While the stats don’t support this theory, the fact is the Chargers’ offensive line played poorly last year. The team may have allowed just 30 sacks and 57 QB hits on the year ranking among the league’s best in those areas, but the struggles from Rivers when under duress speaks for itself. Only after the team added Jared Gaither with five games left in the season did Rivers seem comfortable in the pocket.

2012 FORECAST

Partly cloudy doesn’t apply to the Bolts outlook for the coming year as the team has completely retooled on offense. Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert may no longer be in town, but Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, and Ronnie Brown are more than adequate replacements.

The depth on this Chargers’ offense is impressive going four deep at tight end with Antonio Gates, Randy McMichael, new addition Dante Rosario, and incoming rookie Ladarius Green. At running back the team has Ryan Mathews, LeRon McClain, Ronnie Brown, and Curtis Brinkley. Wide receiver is obviously outstanding as well with Malcom Floyd, the aforementioned Meachem and Royal, second-year man Vincent Brown, new additions Michael Spurlock and Roscoe Parrish, as well as special teamer extraordinaire Richard Goodman.

While it’s easy for us as fans to sit and drool over a depth chart dreamily wondering how this season will play out, hearing how excited quarterback Philip Rivers is about these new guys tells the tale. Rivers said: "It's as new as an offseason as has ever been for me. There's Meachem, there's Royal, there's (fullback LeRon) McClain. There's Rosario. There are more guys from a communication standpoint, that I throw the ball to, who are new. So it's as crucial of an offseason from a standpoint of getting in a groove of, who we're going to be? It's exciting, it's fresh. We've got different types of guys, from the standpoint of the way they move and some of the things we can do with them. Meach, in a lot of ways, is similar to Vincent from the standpoint of the way he pushes it down the field and he can really run and he's rangy. He's not as big, but he plays long. So far it's been smooth, but it's been new. When we talk or they ask questions, I'm getting questions that I haven't really had to discuss in a while because, for the most part, we had the same guys. But this is different because, from day one, you know you're going to have to build something and you know who it's going to be with. The question now is, 'Hey, who are we? What are we like? What wrinkles, what things are we going to do?' It's fun to see it progress."

Offense may not have been an area of deep concern for the team heading into the offseason, but the overhaul executed by General Manager A.J. Smith is one that should excite fans. This team has the potential to put up points in bunches and in today’s NFL where many games are won and lost on offense, that should bode well for the 2012 Chargers.

Now it’s your turn. What did you see as the strongest area or the Bolts in 2011? Where do you think the team’s weakest link was on offense? Is the retooling done by the front office enough to get this club back to where it belongs in the coming season? Do you think this is a team that can outscore anyone on any given Sunday? What do you make of Philip Rivers and his optimism about the freshness of this 2012 Chargers team? Please fill up the comments section below with your thoughts and predictions on how the offense will fair in the coming year!

June 12, 2012

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19 comments:

Pete Spinning said... Jun 12, 2012, 1:20:00 PM

I know this may sound odd, but... I thought their strongest area was filling in for injured players. After Kaeding went down, we got Novaqk in there quick! I was a little worried when Kaeding went down on the first play, and Scifres was forced to kick FG's. He did a good job, but losing your kicker that early could have made us even more mediocre, had we not been able to scoop up Novak (Who did a great job). Also, getting Gaither in there quickly was HUGE! We should have had more depth to begin with, but that was a big-time signing too! We could still have McNeil (who I like, but is done as a starter IMO). One has to question where would would be for 2012, if we hadn't have signed Gaither
The weakest link is the right tackle position. I hope that Henderson can come in, and play well. I would LOVE to see the Twin Towers of him and Gaither on either side. If that can be accomplished Philip will be the one tying his shoes in the backfield, for a change. Clary got put on his ass FAR too many times last year.
I think enough has been done by the front office (So Far), short of O-Line depth. It seems that we are deep at all the other positions. However, I am not crazy about Whitehurst as our back-up. Let's hope that starting for the Seahawks taught him something about playing QB in the NFL, despite his awful stats. If Philip goes down, we will all be biting our nails, now that Volek has been released.
I am glad we got who we got in FA, but I still wouldn't be bold enough to say we can outscore ANY opponent with our offense alone. I like our backfield, I like our receivers, I LOVE our QB. But, there is a lot to be seen in the upcoming season. Such as A) Can Rivers get back on track? B) Can all these new players on offense get the playbook, and rhythm down to start winning out of the gate. C) Is the O-Line truly fixed, and will it play like it did in the last 5 games of 2011? D) Can Floyd stay healthy, and be a #!, now that V-Jax is gone? F) Will Meachem, Brown, and Royal give us the boost we need from losing V-Jax? G) Was signing McClain & Brown enough to replace Tolbert? H) Can Norv pull his head out of his you-know-what, stop being so friggin' predictable, and use all this talent properly. I) Most importantly.. can everyone stay healthy this year... PLEASE?!!!!
So, with all of those questions out there, it's hard to say. However, one would have to think "YES", they can keep the scoreboard lit up.. maybe even more than last year.
As for Philip's statements about the offense.... I liked what he said. He didn't go spouting off about how we "wonderful all these guys are". He made it clear that it's all new, and will take time. He was positive, but I got that "Let's not go patting ourselves on the back just yet, when we're still in training camp" feel from his comments. He brought up the fact that V-Jax DID leave a big hole, and that physical play has been replaced by speed. He also made it clear that this offense needs to figure out it's new identity, which is absolutely right. They will be great, though... watch ; )

RaiderHater said... Jun 12, 2012, 7:39:00 PM

Pete...man you are on fire bro!! Anthony pointed out some great things, Pete you played it on par. I am fully in agreement on all you wrote...except I think we have Gained in the Offense. I think the VJ thing is overrated, I saw him give up on a few key plays...he was obviously a key target and covered as such. He was an impact but not consistantly to me...besides he be gone. This year, guess who Rivers has a his key target??? Yeap that's right bro....you can't name him (maybe Gates sometimes) because he has speed players, tall boys, slice-n-dicers in the middle and a corps of TE....awe crap and then who the hell is powering thru the backfield??? You are spot on...if we stay healthy this year, and all the players get up to speed and get some tempo...and Rivers plays smart and doesn't "push" the ball....we can and will be one of the most scary bad-ass Offenses in the league! The Defense my friend...that is our key this year...they just have to be at least average...even better in the top 1/3rd ! Pre-season and first game.....Bring It!
RaiderHater

james may said... Jun 12, 2012, 10:48:00 PM

start ryan matthews as the running back not mike tolbert he was a full back not a running back.. get phelp rivers some more practice cause i know he will be a good quarterback "im here for u philip rivers " but i mean we have a way better offence people say we dont were still the old sucky team but were really not we have some of the best talent thats offered to us and we just need to show the people we got that

Pete Spinning said... Jun 12, 2012, 10:51:00 PM

Hello, is anybody out there?!!!! (echo, echo, echo) It's like we have our own personal blog page, RH! You are my favorite board-friend from any of the sites I post on.. (nothing weird tho.. you are just dope!). I can finally say I like everyone on here! (J/K.. I like everyone on here.. almost.. lol)

As you know, I am one of the folks who thinks V-Jax was bad for the team. With all that diva contract (is he staying, or going... or even playing when he's staying) BS gone, the team can finally focus on what we do have.. which as you stated... is a BAD ASS offense! Off field or on field.. it just seemed to be distractions. I read somewhere that Rivers was the one who scooped him up from the pokey when he got busted for his last Dewey! I commend him for doing it, but what QB needs that crap in the middle of the night (or day).

I agree that the D is the big question, and also very exciting this year! I hope it all gels together, and we get a championship! With all these injuries, blunders, special teams meltdowns, and shanked FG kicks over the years... I hope we got it out of our system, and this is our year! I mean, even a broken clock can be right twice a day.. and this team is far from broken. Although, Norv might be broken beyond repair.. not sure.... hahaha! Go Bolts!!!

BOLTHYPE said... Jun 13, 2012, 8:56:00 AM

Not only do we try our best to produce great content, but you guys also produce some of the most knowledgeable and articulate comments around. Your feedback is important to us, so feel free to let us know how we can improve this blog and community - Rob Z

Pete Spinning said... Jun 13, 2012, 11:24:00 AM

You guys do a great job! I really enjoy coming on here. Kinda weird that the last few articles have been light on comments. I thought that they were great reads! Guess it's an up n' down thing. Keep em' coming, cuz I really look forward to each one = )

RaiderHater said... Jun 13, 2012, 7:13:00 PM

Dear Bolthype Blogmasters -
Oh and fellow Bolt fans (including Pete)...let me first say thnaks! The articles of late have been FAN-tastic,and the lack of blogging is probably a result of our surroundings. Huh??? You ask...well come on it is SoCal...we are usually at the beach, a BBQ, the river, or well... even work! Once the first pre-season game gets going...it will lite up. Even once devoted bolt fans like the famous Fbhansen will once again join in. He is best known for being the hall monitor in the blog...someone has to lay out the truth ....that we don't want to hear :) Those of us that stay in touch are some of the many true Charger fans...the typical bolt Fanatic that bitches, moans and complains about everything...but always only wants what is best for our Team (like our kids). VJ is gone, LT is done, Tolbert gone....look who we have now...speed, slick and slippery slicers, mutliple backfield potentials, and some D players and coaches that may make the difference.
Pete's comment on VJ was awesome...can you imagine PR, a top rated QB, getting a call at 3 AM waking his 5 (then) kids and wife....and going down to bail out his so-said star receiver??? WTF...can you see Manning or Brady doing that - - NOT! All I can say about VJ is Buuuhhhh - By! I have the saying for the poster at the end zone first pre-season home game "The D is the Key". Questions....HUH, I didn't think so!! And suggestions to the Bolthype crew....spell check used to work...now it doesn't...WTF We look like moroons without it when we use a stupid ass smartphone...or on our laptop when a few tooooo many Silver Bullets have been "shot"...can you fix this???
Love,
The RaiderHater

BOLTHYPE said... Jun 13, 2012, 8:00:00 PM

We upgraded to the latest and greatest Disqus comment system but I am pretty sure it supports spell check... at least it does using Firefox. Also, if you gave have signed in using multiple accounts, you can merge them with Disqus. This adds up all the comments and likes you've received across all of your profiles in a single one.

Oh, and has anyone seen Arnie? He used to be one of the most active guys

Pete Spinning said... Jun 14, 2012, 10:38:00 PM

There's a guy called Arnie I see posting here & there on Bolt Beat recently. Not sure if he's the same guy, or not. Lotsa Arnie's in the world. I think you guys had a period there where you didn't post anything for a long time. I understand, though. Not much to report ATM. Chargers camp seems to always be so secretive. I have only seen snipets of stuff that's going on, or they just report the obvious.

Pete Spinning said... Jun 14, 2012, 10:47:00 PM

I thought I saw him posting on BoltBeat last week, here & there. Might not be the same Arnie, though. There was a minute where you guys didn't update much, so peeps may have stopped checking in momentarily (except for me & RH.. lol). I understand, though. There really wasn't much going on, and I am not a fan of fodder stories. It seems that the Bolts are secretive about what happens in camp, and only report the obvious. Doesn't leave much for Blog writers.. serious ones anyway. I am sympathetic. It's not like you guys are Acee, and get everything spoon-fed to you.

Pete Spinning said... Jun 14, 2012, 10:54:00 PM

Woot!

BOLTHYPE said... Jun 14, 2012, 10:55:00 PM

Just talked to Arnie yesterday. Cool dude, knowledgeable, but stays away from offseason kool-aid drinking haha. He'll be back once the team starts playing ball.

As for us at BOLTHYPE, we are not really a news or re-posting blog... we strive to produce quality, original, editorial content. We do have a news feed towards the bottom of the website though. BUT... I hear what you are saying, and we'll try to boost the content output on our end... I've got a post coming up about our secondary, stay tuned - Rob Z

Pete Spinning said... Jun 14, 2012, 11:15:00 PM

Yeah.. I know what you mean. You guys do at least a once a week post, though, and the articles are quality. Different sites are good for different reasons. I like this one just the way it is. Can't wait for the secondary piece. Next to the O-Line, I think we need more depth there. Better pass rush would help too, so let's hope the D is firing on all cylinders.

Nick in PB said... Jun 15, 2012, 8:15:00 AM

Hey guys! I am guilty as charged. Maybe it's because they are not playing yet but I do read the articles every week and I especially read the blog messages, No doubt, this site has the best info and the best Charger fans! RH and Pete, love your stuff.
Now, as for the Bolts, you kind of hear this stuff every year, about the offense. How scary it is. How is anyone going to defend us. And Pete, you always bring it up... it's Norv that seems to slow us down. His predictability actually limits our explosiveness. I once read that early in the season, he likes to play vanilla, Very predictable. And that's by design, It's so later in the year, defenses aren't prepared for what he's going to do the second half of the season, when he begins to open up. I know it sounds implausible but it kind of makes sense considering our second half success. The thing I don't like about that is the fact that you are wasting half a season. You have all these weapons... just vary your attack all the time. I think defenses are going to have a LOT to worry about. Especially if Philip has time in the pocket. Then again... it's not as easy as it sounds. PLaybooks are not so easy to master and we have a lot of new faces.
Back to my point, the offense really does have a multitude of weapons this year, I believe more than in the past. Yes, we hear this every year but this year seems to really ring true. Now, we just need to avoid injuries. And I am still concerned about the O-Line. If injuries hit there, we will be in trouble. Is there a patron saint for O-Lines?

RaiderHater said... Jun 15, 2012, 9:37:00 AM

Nick...a Saint for O-lines ??? Ha Ha that is freaking priceless. You should send your request in ASAP for such a Saint! We have been hammered by the injury bug the past 2 years...this has equated to many newbies put into positions that they were not ready for-but managed to learn hard and fast. Injuries (so many) in a short period can either be bad luck (not scientific), odd circumstances (out of position or random fall/slip/fell onto) or poor conditioning. The conditioning is something in one's control and for that I think the staff has been poor on. It is great to read players (Jacobs,Mathews, etc) have bulked up this year and Gates has trimmed down. The O-Line , as Nick stated, is still a question mark...I too am not excited by the lack of quality depth here...so that remains an issue to me. Like the LA Kings - with the right players and the right plays and the drive....anyone can win it all!!!
RaiderHater

RaiderHater said... Jun 15, 2012, 9:55:00 AM

Nice article in the U.T. where AJ ACTUALLY admits he sucked??!! And his ego is actually less....it is great to read he apparently "got the message" last season and so far, I like what he has done in FA and the draft. The burden falls onto Norv...and of coarse the players. So much competition in so many spots this year, I can't recall the last time we were this "rich" in players that can be impact players. The O-Line is the weakest part and vital as Mr. Rivers needs just enough time to destroy a Defense. Lot of time left and then sometimes we can still gain during pre-season in this spot (depth wise). So AJ is actually part human - Huh who'd thought??!!
RaiderHater

Nick in PB said... Jun 18, 2012, 1:52:00 AM

Hey RH... already sent my request in to the Vatican. Unfortunately, they responded that they already have Saints playing football (New Orleans). Request denied. hahahaha I just hope our starters don't get injured. Maybe we should just pray for that. And yes, if the injury bug hits us again this year, maybe it's time, like you all have said, to get rid of the training staff! Or maybe we just hang rabbit foot's in each locker?

bro said... Jun 18, 2012, 11:21:00 AM

Im very excited for the bolts upcoming season, but the only concern I have is the defensive back field. Jammer has lost his touch and Cason shows glimpses of what he can do. We really need him to be consistent considering he was a first round pick. I just hope that taylor can form a deadly duo with weedle and that gilchrist and wright can step up as sophmores. The offense will be great (Really need floyd to Stay healthy) the d-line and linebackers will be more tough, and special teams will be good. We really dont need kaeding choking anymore-- and yes that loss to the jets in the playoffs still hurts. He was on fire that season but missed 3 3pt field goals in that game. If we one that game we woulda been in the superbowl since the colts still cant hold us

Mark said... Jun 20, 2012, 9:53:00 AM

We don't need to worry about starting Tolbert because he's gone to Carolina.

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