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Line looks to give Rivers better protection

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Philip Rivers was hit 10 times at Oakland on Sunday, sacked four times and knocked down after a half-dozen throws.

    He was harried and hurried in the muddiest pocket he'd had to operate in all year.

    “He got beat up pretty good,” center Nick Hardwick said.

    Head coach Norv Turner noted the peculiarity of Rivers being hit from rushes up the middle as well as outside, and he did not blunt his assessment.

    “He got hit as hard as I've seen him hit,” Turner said of his quarterback. “It's something we need to get better at and need to address. We've got to keep him from getting hit like that.”

    It was bad enough that Rivers, who takes great care to publicly protect the men who quite literally protect him on the field, acknowledged it was crazy back there.

    “I took a couple big ones,” said Rivers, his right shoulder still a bit tender midweek after it twice took the brunt of a fall while he was made a sandwich between a large man and an unforgiving ground. “It happens. Our guys fought hard. It's easy to magnify a couple times they got loose and wreaked havoc. Our guys did a good job. ... But you feel a couple of those.”

    It can't keep happening. And the five men who make up the offensive line, whole for the first time this season, vow that it won't.

    The linemen's improvement as the Oakland game progressed and their history of playing better as seasons go on suggest they should be given the benefit of the doubt.

    The Chargers ran 59 plays Sunday against the best, most physical, most aggressive defense they had seen. Rivers threw 25 passes. LaDainian Tomlinson ran 13 yards and 41 yards for touchdowns and finished with 106 yards on 20 carries. Three of the four sacks occurred in the first half. The Chargers scored 25 points in the fourth quarter.

    A review of those stats and of game film showed a line playing hard, doing well to keep Rivers alive against intense pressure early and wearing down the Raiders by the end of the second quarter.

    Sunday was not the disaster up front it would appear just based on Rivers being hit more often than before.

    “Obviously, there were some things that happened you want to fix,” right guard Mike Goff said. “You also know they threw everything at you they had. You put it behind you and get ready to go.”

    Finally, the Chargers are ready to go with the starting five that calcified over the past two seasons. Four-fifths of the line is in its third season together. Right tackle Jeromey Clary is the new guy, having replaced Shane Olivea late in November.

    But injuries had two of the four veterans sidelined all of preseason and early in September.

    Sunday was left tackle Marcus McNeill's second game. It was Hardwick's first.

    “I was tentative at first,” said Hardwick, who had major foot surgery in March. “It was coming to believe, 'This thing is really going to hold up.' ”

    Hardwick by the second half appeared to be his old self, aggressive and athletic. What he brings that Jeremy Newberry did not is an ability to run and block downfield.

    Newberry and L.J. Shelton, the veterans who filled in at center and left tackle, were prescient signings by the Chargers and more than adequate short-time starters. But McNeill has been to two Pro Bowls and Hardwick to one.

    In his sleep, Hardwick knows how his guards move. On the offensive line, innate awareness of what the man next to you will do can be the difference on a handful of plays in a game. A handful of plays can be the difference between victory and defeat.

    “It was really good having everybody back together, kind of like coming back from summer vacation and you get back to school and you're with your buddies again,” Goff said. “Jeremy and L.J. did a fantastic job. I want to make sure that's said. ... But you get used to a certain style. You get back to your comfort level. You know exactly how a guy plays. That's the biggest thing why when they came back it was so excellent.”

    And while Rivers having to get up and be helped up so often made it a scary and sometimes ugly reunion, there is confidence the excellence will become more prevalent.

    “We had to still get that chemistry back,” McNeill said. “Everybody is just getting back healthy. We'll be better week in and week out.”

    By Kevin Acee
  2. AnteaterRaider

    AnteaterRaider Carpe Diem et omni Mundio Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jan 19, 2006

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

    Oct 13, 2006
    They sure did suck last week.

    They better pull it together!!!
  4. maestro876

    maestro876 BoltTalker

    Sep 5, 2007
    I'm really glad they are all healthy.

    The more they play together and get into a groove, the better they will get.
  5. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    cant be any worst than my high school, fricken QB got sacked EIGHT times, EIGHT, in the first HALF at our HOMECOMING game.
  6. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006

    Slow the rush down.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Last week was fugly. I'm sure that Hardwick was tentative until he gained some confidence that the foot would hold up. That's natural, IMO.

    It's been awhile since this group worked together. They'll be better this week. :yes:
    • Like Like x 1

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