Start with a game that most everyone thought the Chargers would lose, make it highly competitive, and then take the optimistic hearts of Chargers fans, packed full of renewed hope, and rip them out of our chests. That’s basically what we got on Monday Night.
We learned a lot about the Chargers in the first game of the season. First, we saw what good coaching can do to a team. The first half of football against the Texans offered us a disciplined team, playing hard and playing well. It’s been a long time since I felt like a Chargers team was fully bought in to what a coaching staff was trying to do. Obviously that covers all of the Norv years, but one could argue that the talented teams under Marty lacked a lot of discipline as well.
It was also good to see that Rivers can still be a great quarterback when you keep the opposing defense off his back. He usually had time to throw in the first half, and his awareness in the pocket was much improved. And don’t go telling me that his INT was just another Rivers bad throw. You can argue he could have made the choice to throw to someone else, but the play Cushing made on that throw was phenomenal. Sometimes the defense makes an amazing play.
If you mix in some solid play early from the front seven on defense, we can see that this team actually has a good base on which to build.
Unfortunately, we also learned this team still has a ways to go.
The offensive line was up and down. The running game got off to a good start early, but fizzled in the second half. Rookie DJ Fluker looked like a rookie. Not a horrible day, but he got beat badly a few times.
The secondary of the Chargers was exposed as a real weak link. Shareece Wright looked good covering Andre Johnson early, but as the game went on it was clear that the secondary had no answers for Johnson and TE Owen Daniels. As the pass rush wore down, it looked like the Texans could pass against them at will.
But worst of all, this team doesn’t have the depth needed to give guys a break and keep them fresh. The defensive line was gassed by the second half, and it was tough to keep the linebackers fresh. As mentioned, the secondary doesn’t have the guys needed to keep the Chargers in games against tough offenses, and that’s whether you’re looking at the starters or their backups.
So what can we make of a tough week one loss? The Chargers should find a way to be competitive in a few games this year. They also will be just competitive enough to frustrate fans on many a Sunday over the next four-months.
What did you think of the Chargers’ week one loss? Did it make you feel better about the Chargers’ prospects this year, or worse? Sound off on the comments section below.
Follow Jeff Williams on Twitter: @JSWilliams75 – the best comments will get retweeted.
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