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And we are off! Week 1; Chargers vs. Chiefs

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by Concudan, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    By Curtis Egan
    BoltTalk Staff Writer

    Well it is here at long last! Can you smell it? The smell of tailgating grills, pigskin, face paint and sun block? The season is ready to start, and on Monday night, September 13, the San Diego Chargers will roll into Arrowhead stadium and kick off the 2010 season. Arrowhead stadium used to bring fear to Charger teams of the past. It is a hostile environment by every definition of the term. Mo matter what the record is, the Chiefs fans are some of the loyalist, loudest fans in the league. But recently the Chargers have enjoyed some success in this venue, however in a stadium like this a win is never a sure thing.

    Winning in Arrowhead is never easy, the Chargers currently have won the last few time in Arrowhead, and with one more victory they can tie their all time winning streak against the Chiefs, six games. Further, a win by the Chargers would even out the record between the two teams at 50-50-1.

    Both the Chargers and Chiefs come out of the preseason with a record of 1-3, and that is even less important than it reads. Preseason is for rookies, but it is real now, and these divisional rivals are looking to start the season fast by imposing their will on the other. The Chiefs are going to try to get their reworked offense on track early, giving the Chargers yet another slow start to a season. The Chargers in turn will look to get the Defense rolling by putting pressure on the Quarterback early and often.

    The first game of the season is one of the hardest to look at and determine what the key matchups are. You can’t take what you see in preseason and think it represents a team’s strength or weakness. It is also the opening week which can give fans ‘butterflies’ because you don’t really know what you will get. Will the team be largely injury free? Every team has the same chance at the Super Bowl, and every team wants to punch the other in the mouth. Spirits are high, emotions strong. This is the week that teams that should be rolled over give their biggest fight. Remember last season when the Raiders took the fight to the Chargers and nearly won the game. That is a story that happens year after year during the opening week.

    Yet the opening week for those same reasons can be just as exciting. The Chargers and Chiefs are meeting for the 101st time in team history. They know each other, but the real question is do they know themselves? Both teams have some questions they need to answer. Will the Chargers passing game suffer because of the hold out players? The Chiefs have to find out if Quarterback Matt Cassel can perform like he did for that one season in jolly ole’ New England.

    Chiefs Notes:
    The Chiefs have continued their makeover in attempt to become the “New England Patriots West” during the offseason. They brought in offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Kansas City GM Scott Pioli has tried to build the same team that he was part of in New England that won Super Bowls. However they have a way to go to prove that they should be mentioned in the same sentence as the Super Bowl. Their Defensive scheme will be new, and it remains to be seen if an aging Mike Vrable will lead a defense that has the same impact as the Super Bowl Patriot defenses did. They have a lot of inexperience in the secondary and while many preseason prognostications had the Chiefs winning the AFC West, they have to prove it on the field, not in the magazines. Changing both Defensive schemes and terminology is not the easiest way to do that.

    They are a bit inexperience at Offensive Left Tackle; 76 Branden Albert has but 29 games under his belt as a pro, he was the 15th pick of the 2008 draft. He is 6’ 5” and 316 lbs. He played only 14 games last season. He has yet to play a full season, though that is not necessarily unheard of for offensive left tackles. Number 67 Barry Richardson backs up Albert, he was a sixth round draft pick in 2008. He is 6’ 6” and 319 pounds but has played only 16 games. These two men will have to be on top of their game to give Quarterback Matt Cassel time to find his receivers.

    Chiefs run a 3-4 Defense as well. One of their top Line backers, 91 Tamba Hali, missed the preseason game against the Packers. He is probable for the opener, and the Chiefs will need him because he is arguably their best pass rusher who has a good combination of size and speed to get to the passer from his outside position. Lin Backer Cameron Sheffield is questionable. However, as the thirds string outside line backer, he is not expected to have a negative impact on his team if he cannot play, unless another Line Backer suffers an injury.

    Number 7 Matt Cassel, QB; Matt has not been able to display the abilities he put on display when he was playing in New England, but the Chiefs are not in this same class as that team. However, Chiefs coach Todd Haley is excited about the upcoming season for his QB.
    "The thing I love is he wants to be good," Haley said. "He wants to be a championship quarterback. You bring up football with him and his eyes (light up). The good quarterbacks I've been around, they like to talk about football. It's their passion."
    While it is always good for a Coach to speak well of their starting QB, there has to be more than just passion. This is the season where Cassel has to prove himself. It will not be an easy task in week one as both teams enter the game with very little usable game footage on each other. Cassel will have to watch the Chargers defense more in this game, and it could prove detrimental to his timing with his receivers.

    Chiefs vs. Tight End Antonio Gates; How will the Chiefs deal with Antonio Gates, when the Chargers bring some fast, tall, jumping receivers and a running game revitalized by a youthful strong, fast running back? The Safety will have to spy on Gates, and the line backers may have to play a more reactive brand of football. If that happens look for Chargers All Pro Quarterback Philip Rivers to be able to pick and choose where to put the ball. If the Chiefs decide to put pressure on Rivers, look for the short passing game to be an out, with Gates and Matthew Ryan mixing it up behind the linebackers in red.

    Chargers Notes:
    Larry English at Outside Line Backer; With Shawne Merriman doubtful to play against the Chiefs, look for Larry English to get the start. He has just two tackles in the preseason, but if Merriman has to miss time, English will likely start. This will be his time to shine as the Chargers Coaches have been pleased with his improvement in camp this spring. He has the speed and size to be able to be a disruptive force but has yet to show the consistency in that department that the Coaches wanted to see. English could arguably keep Merriman on the sidelines with solid performances in these first few games.

    Antoine Cason; how will Cason handle stepping into the starting roll, with only 4 games started in his young career? He has averaged 2 interceptions a year in his first two years. With some pressure on Cassel he has the athleticism to start this season with just as many. However the Chiefs have some fast, experienced receivers and Cason will have to be on top of his game. He is moving out of the nickel role and will be able to do less free styling

    Nose Tackle; Antonio Garay is slated as the starting Nose Tackle, Garay is a four year veteran who has only played in 17 games. That should mean he is fresh, but it also means that he is inexperienced. At 6’ 4” and 320 pounds he is a big load and has good movement off the ball. Garay though is familiar with Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera and his scheme. With a solid outing the position could be his for the taking. There are some young, big bulls behind him willing to take a crack at the position. The sooner someone solidifies their claim through solid; if not dominating play the better it will be for all Chargers fans.

    Left Tackle. Will Brandyn Dombrowski be able to hold off the Chiefs pass rush and give Rivers the time to throw the ball. The weight of the game is on this young man as all the eyes of Boltsville will be upon him. He accounted for himself quite fairly in preseason, but again now it is for real. Dombrowski has filled in along many spots on the offensive line and did a solid job in back up roles. Now he must step in and protect Rivers on an every snap basis. While he probably is a better run blocker than Marcus McNeil, who sits at home waiting for a big contract extension, he is not the pass blocker that McNeil is, causing some concern as to how well Rivers will be protected while dropping back for the long pass.
    When speaking of the concerns voiced about his playing left tackle, Dombrowski said “That’s all right,” says Dombrowski, a natural left guard who played right tackle and some right guard last year when starters Jeromey Clary and Louis Vasquez went down. “I expected it, but I don’t pay attention to it, because I can’t. There are too many people counting on me to get the job done -- or they’ll find somebody else who will. It’s an opportunity, no matter what happens the rest of the way.

    I think it is important while Dombrowski has not played to the level to make everyone feel entirely comfortable at the absence of McNeil, neither has his play made everyone feel all is lost either. He actually accounted well for himself against some rather good pass rushers. Perhaps not the long term answer, but Dombrowski has proven himself to be a capable backup and able to fill different holes along the offensive line. That is something that every team needs and not all teams have.
  2. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    What to watch for:
    Running Game: Both teams are teams that love to mix in the run and the Chargers appear to have a revitalized running game with the inclusion of Ryan Matthews. Matthews showed some excellent vision, speed and strength during the preseason, this was against fisrt string defenses. I think that Matthews will be key to helping the offense stay on the field. He will be able to keep drives alive and prevent the opposing defense from focusing solely on the passing game.

    Passing Game: Both teams have something to prove with the pass. The Chargers have to show that they can still get an effective, vertical passing game without their hold outs. Further the Chiefs have to prove that their inexperienced secondary can prevent the high octane Chargers offense from moving up and down the field by way of the pass.

    The Chiefs as well have to prove that Matt Cassel can lead the offense and put points on the scoreboard. Cassel had as many interceptions as he did touchdowns last season, 16 each. He has, since 2005 39 touch downs and 29 interceptions. He has to prove that he is able to be a starting QB in the NFL. He has some weapons at Tight End and Receiver, but reacts to pressure by rushing his passes.

    Pressure on the QB: I know this goes without saying, but the team that can pressure the other QB consistently will go a long way to winning the game. The question will be can the Chargers Left Tackle give Rivers the time he needs to look down field? Can the Chargers pressure Cassel with the Defensive line and a line backer, or will they have to being in blitzes from the secondary. This to me is one of the most intriguing portions of this game. What sort of product will be put on the field? These two teams are slated by many to duke it out for the AFC West this season, and one of the biggest factors will be who can consistently pressure the opposing signal callers.

    #24 Ryan Matthews has a lot on his plate. It is not easy to come in and replace a future hall of fame player like LaDainian Tomlinson. But if preseason is an indicator Matthews has all the tools to replace Tomlinson in SD and bring back a running attack that must be respected. That balance could well prove to be what the Chargers need should they make it to the post season.

    Injuries: Without a doubt nothing can make a good team average quicker than injuries, last season during the opening game the Chargers lost 5 players to injuries. They will have to come out of this game in better shape than the opener last season.

    My gut feeling is the Chargers will struggle some, the Chiefs will be improved over last season, but I think that the Chargers will win this game, 24 to 13. The crowd will cause some problems, and there will be hiccups on both sides of the ball to work out for both teams. But in the end, while the Chiefs are arguably the second best team in the AFC West, I don’t see that they have had the time to fully implement the new coaching schemes, nor do they have all the bodies in place to take the West form the Chargers. In the end, I think it will be a good game, but one that I see going to the Chargers none the less.
  3. robdog
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    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    It is finally here! Going to be good to watch our boys get after it on Monday night! :)
  4. Retired Catholic
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    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Nice work as usual. I'm worried about our depth at WR. Not including Jeremy Williams on the roster was a mistake that put him on Iggles PS. Hope we grab him back.
  5. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I liked Williams as well, however I think that Ajirotutu showed more up side. Williams looked good and leveled out where I think Ajirotutu continued to improve allowing the team to go with him. Just my guess, I dont know.
  6. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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  7. Concudan
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    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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