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Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Buck Melanoma, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    And that turned out just fine, right? :rolleyes:

    Acee: Chargers offense did OK without its top left tackle before


    Because Philip Rivers is who he is, a man whose words flow like a faucet, who loves playing football and talking about it, you can ask the silliest questions and have the most fun hearing the response.

    It almost never fails to delight me. Sometimes I enter a conversation with a dumb question in mind. More often it just comes to me because of something he said.

    I asked him Wednesday, on the eve of his seventh season as the Chargers’ starting quarterback, which of his previous six had been his favorite.

    He immediately identified 2007, getting to the AFC Championship game after starting 5-5.

    He waxed poetic about 2008, recounting the defeat to Atlanta that dropped the Chargers to 4-8 and how he drove home believing hope had all but been extinguished, then relived each of the four straight wins that got them into the playoffs. He giddily declared the ensuing playoff win as his favorite memory of a home game.

    He mentioned 2009, stopping at the end of the 11-game winning streak that closed that season and led to this period of tumult – a playoff loss and two playoff-less seasons.

    “It’s still the most fun when you win,” he said.

    Understandable. But I think he’s done some of his best work the past two seasons, the 17 interceptions in the first 10 games of 2011 notwithstanding. Especially in 2010, Rivers was perhaps the best this town has ever seen.

    All this is to bring us to a discussion of the now and the predicament in which Rivers and the Chargers find themselves.

    The last time they began a season without the left tackle they expected to protect Rivers’ blind side, the Chargers offense led the league in both yards and touchdowns.

    Yes, they won just two of their first seven games, including a 2-3 start without Marcus McNeill, the left tackle in question.

    However, the offense wasn’t the main problem.

    Had the special teams not allowed four touchdowns and a safety in the three losses – which came by a combined 22 points – the Chargers very well might have been undefeated.

    Just like this season – only less-permanently – wide receiver Vincent Jackson was not a Charger at the start of 2010.

    Yet the Chargers averaged 28 points and 462 total yards over the five games McNeill missed. Philip Rivers threw for 1,759 yards. Malcom Floyd caught 22 passes for 498 yards and three touchdowns, Antonio Gates 29 passes for 478 yards and six TDs.

    Now, two fumbles inside the 5-yard line, two more coming out of the opponents’ red zone and a sack-fumble returned for a touchdown were also parts of the three losses.

    But going into Monday’s season opener against the Oakland Raiders with rookie Michael Harris playing left tackle in place of Jared Gaither doesn’t have to mean a paralyzed offense.

    Not with Rivers as the quarterback.

    Sure, Harris’ presence could contribute to miscommunication on the line, especially when on the road. It will require the Chargers to commit extra resources to help keep Rivers upright in addition to giving him time to throw. It is likely to even cause Norv Turner to institute more movement in his offense, misdirection in the form of Rivers sliding around and trick plays to keep the Raiders off balance.

    So, too, it should be no small help that the Chargers defense seems much better than it has been in some time, capable of getting the ball quickly.

    It wasn’t just offensive line woes that contributed to Rivers forcing some passes the past two years. There is no doubt he felt the pressure of needing to score on every drive because the Chargers defense was often unreliable to either stop the opponent or even prevent a shift in field position advantage.

    Rivers won’t ever acknowledge anyt shortcomings other than his own, so he certainly did not assess last year’s leaky defense to be to his detriment. But he sees how the current version could be a benefit.

    “That’s why it’s even more critical to take care of the ball,” Rivers said. “There is that fine line. I don’t want to play careful. But there are times it’s OK to say, ‘Let’s go and punt it down in there, the D is rolling right now. Let’s pin ‘em and get it right back.’ “

    And, it must be noted that Harris took over before the second week of training camp was over and played extensively in the preseason.

    The Chargers’ line is presently less fluid than last season. Remember Gaither arriving on Wednesday and starting the following Monday in Jacksonville? Remember when Brandyn Dombrowski, Scott Mruczkowski and Steve Schilling started against Chicago? Remember when Tony Moll started at right guard 12 days after leaving his job tending bar?

    “A lot of the things last year happened during the year,” Rivers said. “This group that is going to play on Monday has been together the past month. That gives you a level of confidence. We’ve played together.”

    Let’s be honest, though, Harris is not Gaither, who the Chargers gave an $8 million signing bonus and virtually guaranteed $13.5 million. Harris went undrafted out of UCLA and has much to learn about the tricks and trials of the NFL. But he has improved every week and plays absolutely unafraid.

    I’ll offer this, though Rivers gave me a blank stare when I said it to him: I think Harris is better than Dombrowski.

    “He is by no stretch of the imagination the best left tackle in the league,” tight end Randy McMichael said. “But he’s our left tackle.”

    History says it might be good enough.

    Link
     
  2. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Whew... Just Left Tackle... I was worried he was going to tell us we lost our kicker... Then we would really have been screwed!
     
  3. Ikeman83

    Ikeman83 Werter Pöbel

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    The LT position could be a non-issue, or it could be a very big deal. It really depends on the flow of the game. If we open up with a kickoff TD or a pick six by our defense, then that really changes the complexion of what we're doing. The LT is, obviously, most vulnerable when we're playing from behind, late. If we don't get into that situation, it will benefit Harris, and keep the Raiders from just going to town on him.
     
  4. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I re-watched that 1st half against the 49ers, and Harris did a decent job. Sure, he wasn't perfect, but he didn't look overmatched or out of position either. You wouldn't have guessed he was a rookie from how he played. The guy has the size and ability to be a good LT. What he lacks is experience.
     
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  5. Ride The Lightning

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

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    Preseason.

    SF was in major scrub time halfway thru the 1st q.
     
  6. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Every game is going to be the game of his life and I'd bet he'll hold his own. No, I'm not saying he's going to play like an all-pro but he shouldn't be the stink on the field either.
     
  7. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    I agree with you, even against Minny he wasn't "hopeless". There is talent there.

    And luckily the Raiders have no 10+ sack guys on their roster anymore.
     
  8. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    They've got maulers now, rather than speed rushers. I think Harris is capable of dealing with that type of player now.
     
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  9. Drunk

    Drunk Well-Known Member

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    theres too much positivity in this thread
     
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  10. boltfanatik

    boltfanatik Toxic Minority Member

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    He may get burnt a few times but then again he may be the type of player that steps up and gets it done. IMO if you are selected and signed by an NFL team you have some skills, I'll never take that away from any player.
     
  11. Ikeman83

    Ikeman83 Werter Pöbel

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    Harris is lucky. Although every game will likely be extremely challenging for him, expectations are going to be low. If he gives up a sack, it's almost expected, and the blame is going to go on the OC/Norv for not having help on his side for that play. Clary will obviously get no such mercy.
     
  12. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Neither should he...... he's been in the league far too long. You have to expect a few mistakes from a rookie. It takes time for O-lines to gel, and for a rookie, there's a lot to assimilate.
     
  13. MadMike

    MadMike Well-Known Member

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    I expect a giant helping of McMichael and McLain chipping that side and then flexing out to hot routes. Really glad all the corners are healthy and playing. Mathews looks solid and ready for week 2. Only other person who will probably sit is Garay and I'm good with the backups. Should be a good game.
     
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