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Acee: Chargers need more running, less gunning

Discussion in 'American Football' started by BFISA, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2005

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – The Chargers have scored more offensive points than all but two teams, but they can't score enough when they're near the end zone.

    They're gaining more yards per play than all but four teams but have fewer plays than all but three.

    They're converting an adequate number of third downs, but they are sorely lacking first downs.

    They've scored touchdowns on three drives that lasted three plays or less, but only one touchdown on a drive that lasted 10 plays or more.

    “We're still looking for more consistency offensively,” Norv Turner said this week, his team finally .500, exciting if not reliable.

    What that means, for all the other things Turner can talk about, is that the running game needs to get better.

    For all the aforementioned offensive success, sustained production begins with being able to run the ball.

    The Chargers most likely cannot win consistently without running more than 55 plays a game and control the ball more than 28 minutes a game.

    Certainly, defensive efficiency has something to do with controlling the clock. But not being able to grind out long drives is a bigger issue. The Chargers have just nine total drives of 10 plays or more. Conversely, they have six scoring drives of three plays or less.

    “We've done a lot of good things offensively so far this year,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “We just haven't been able to put weeks on top of weeks. Who knows what it will be this week. The way things go and flow are different every week. You can't count on getting the big chunks we get every week.”

    The Chargers are much more concerned about their paltry four rushing touchdowns than they are impressed with their league-leading 14 passing touchdowns, including six from beyond 20 yards.

    They're much more concerned about their 3.8-yard rushing average than happy with Rivers' league-leading 14.6 yards per completion.

    “We're not very good at running the ball,” LaDainian Tomlinson said.

    Tomlinson's lament this week was not selfish. It simply speaks to his conviction that the Chargers need to be more balanced, need to be more consistent.

    Beginning that task Sunday against a quick, strong-up-the-middle Buffalo Bills defense, will be a challenge.

    But the Chargers know they must commence their run restoration soon if they are to get where they want to go.

    They have to be able to control the clock, have to be a threat to have Tomlinson break a big run.

    The Chargers don't feel an incredible sense of urgency, given the high level at which Rivers is playing (league-leading 109.4 passer rating). But they know they have to evolve.

    “It really doesn't bother you when you're throwing the ball well,” left tackle Marcus McNeill said. “If Rivers is tossing that biscuit like he is, you may as well keep on doing what's right. But you have to be able to run the ball. Our ability to run the ball opens up passing. They have to put eight, nine in the box and then you get one-on-one matchups with (Chris) Chambers, (Vincent) Jackson, our big-play receivers. We have to make sure we're running and that's getting off.”

    Last Sunday against the Patriots, the Chargers began to open some wider holes that stayed open longer. But there were not enough of them. They still only gained 98 yards on 28 carries.

    The plan was to take deep shots against New England, and it might be again Sunday against a Bills secondary that is depleted by injury.

    But the Chargers can't keep running this way.

    On the year, the Chargers, who ran for more yards than all but two teams over the past five seasons, rank 21st in rushing yards per game (98.5) and 19th in rushing average (3.8).

    Defenses make stopping the run a priority, for sure. But the run blocking by the Chargers offensive line (and fullback and tight ends) also has been poor much of the time.

    “Definitely, it bothers us,” center Nick Hardwick said. “It's a point of focus. . . . You try to perfect a game that cannot be perfected. What can you find? The run game is not real hot right now. Let's get after it.”

    Kevin Acee: (619) 293-1857; kevin.acee@uniontrib.com
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Once again, the trenches are where games are won & lost. We won that battle last week. Jamal looked very strong on the defensive side of the ball. Our OL is getting healthier & beginning to show some cohesiveness. Let's all remember something - these guys haven't been together as a unit much this year & LT is hampered by the toe injury.

    We need a strong game by the OL & a mix of LT, Sproles, Tolbert, & Hester to keep the Bills offense off the field. A good run game will open up more plays downfield, but the same can be said for a vertical passing game creating openings for the run.

    We just need to stay focused, hungry, & get after the other guys on both sides of the ball. We have to want it more.
  3. Lightning's Girl

    Lightning's Girl Mod Chick =) Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 15, 2007
    We've got to mix up the plays better; LT has been getting hammered with that straight-up-the-middle-on-first-down play for parts of two seasons now. When my 3-year-old grandson can figure out what we're going to do---and he can!---we're making it waaaaaaaay too easy for the opposing defense. Last week was the best I've seen all year; we didn't ALWAYS run on first down, didn't ALWAYS send LT up the middle, and we threw some long bombs in situations where I wouldn't have expected us to throw (and neither did NE). Yep, we gotta mix it up, keep the other guys guessing.....and get healthy!!

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