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First-down weakness on both sides of ball a concern

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Kevin Acee
    Union-Tribune Staff Writer
    October 18, 2009

    For all the things that ail the Chargers, it really comes down to first things first.
    They stink on first down on both sides of the ball.
    The Chargers offense is gaining at least four yards on just 41.9 percent of its first downs, which ranks 25th in the NFL. Their defense is last in that category, allowing opponents to gain four or more yards 54.1 percent of the time.
    The Chargers' average distance to go on second down is 8.32 yards (22nd). Their opponents' average to go on second down is 6.73 yards, fewest in the league.
    “The key to third-down success, the key to having an effective offensive attack is managing first and second down,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. The Chargers defense is also worst in the league in getting opponents off the field on third down, allowing them to convert a stunning 49 percent of the time.
    That should surprise no one. Their opponents have faced just 18 third-and-longs, fewest in the league.
    You want to see the Chargers go after the quarterback more? They want to do so. First, they need to first stop teams from gaining so much on first down. In fact, Chargers opponents are so well set-up on first down that they often don't even need a third down, because they're converting 35.6 percent of their second downs.
    “We have some players with the ability to make plays,” defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said, “but we have to put ourselves in those positions.”
    It's the Chargers' big-play ability that has salvaged their offense on third down. They've had to convert 11 of their 30 third-and-longs just to have a middling 43.1 percent overall conversion rate.
    They can't count on the big play all the time. They were a season-worst 3-for-9 on third down at Pittsburgh in their most recent game, which made sense since they averaged having 8½ yards to go on first down that night and 9 yards to go on third down.
    The Chargers' anemic running game and porous run defense has primarily fouled up first down. The offense is averaging 2.9 yards per first-down rush. Meanwhile, the defense is allowing 5.38 yards per first-down carry.
    “You're not going to be as good on first down as you'd like to be if you're throwing the ball more offensively, and if you're having trouble stopping the run,” Turner said. “Those things catch up to you. We've emphasized it. We'd like to be better on first down.”

    Nuts 'n' bolts

    •Starting inside linebacker Stephen Cooper was limited in practice while wearing a brace on his left knee and is listed as questionable for the game, though he said he will “definitely” play.
    Outside linebacker Antwan Applewhite, who practiced earlier in the week before aggravating his hamstring injury, will be out for the game. Applewhite's absence for the past three games has been a disappointment after he had a strong training camp.
    •The Chargers are strongly recommending fans attending tomorrow's game use mass transit or arrive early. The parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium will open at 1 p.m. for general parking and noon for those with pre-purchased permits. Those planning to use the trolley can expect significant delays after 3:30 p.m. because there are fewer trains available than on weekends.
  2. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Seems like the same ****ing story I read last year.
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Because it is. Acee can't come up with anything new - especially when the SOS applies year after year. :tdown:
    • Like Like x 1

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