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San Diego Chargers 2009 Offensive Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Rising Studs

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Bleacher Report
    March 11, 2009
    By Ed Lee

    I've been a Chargers fan since the creation of the franchise, when I was 7 years old. I have been through many great seasons, many disappointing seasons, and some disastrous seasons. However, as of now, the Chargers of 2009 are a great team in great position to again be Super Bowl contenders. So like the title of the article says, lets begin.


    Quarterback- Phillip Rivers emerged as one of the elite quarterbacks of the league last year by having the highest QB rating in the NFL (105.5) and the most passing touchdowns (34). He broke some long lasting franchise records. He's also a fantastic leader, with the great intangibles to boot.

    In case Rivers goes down with injuries we have Billy Volek to provide us good insurance, and a young rough player in Whitehurst, who has shown some flashes of brilliance. Expect Rivers to emerge as one of the league's top five quarterbacks, and for Whitehurst to develop this year.
    Grade: A+

    Runningback- This was the most puzzling position since yesterday evening. L.T., as we know, is coming off his worst season statistically, and was banged up for two straight years in a row. However, I expect L.T. to be solid.

    L.T. is motivated as ever, and knows that time is running out for him to win a ring. He's going to give all he's got, and have a typical L.T. year that we all know. It's not going to be like 2006, but let's not count out a season like 2007.

    Along with L.T. is Darren Sproles. Sproles can excite the team with his brilliant runs, and he's an absolute nightmare on screens for the defense. He's also a fantastic kick returner, and should get more touches this season (125-175 touches this year).

    Overall Expect L.T. to bounce back, and to gain about 1,400-1,500 yards, 15 total touchdowns, and a dangerous two-back tandem. Grade: A

    Reciever/TE: We have the best tight end in the business with Antonio Gates. Brandon Manumaleuna is a truck.

    Our wide receivers are pretty solid with serious height advantages and should create some BIG mismatches.

    VJack is a solid first-string reciever with big-play ability, and Chris Chambers keeps the defense in check with his overall abilities.

    Our Backups at wide receiver are also strong. Malcolm Floyd showed great promise and should be a great option for Rivers on third down (12 out of his 27 receptions were on third down). Also, Legedu Nannee is a great option and he thrives under pressure. I feel that he will be replacing Chambers when he's gone. As of BUSTer Davis.. we'll see how he performs when he's healthy. He WAS a monster at LSU.
    Grade: B+

    Offensive Line: This whole crew was frustrating to watch in 2008. They literally fell on their butts as you counted 1, 2, 3. Still, we have been working to revamp the O-line, and it should be good enough to return to 06-07 form.

    OT- Marcus McNeill is a paradox. He's a freak when healthy. He's motivated, and he proved that he's a hard worker. But, according to A.J. Smith, he had neck surgery, and it could be very serious.

    As of the right side.. Clary is a disgrace. He was penalized for the second most false start penalties in 2008, and allowed 6.5 sacks. However, we have some great backups to fill in the void.

    L.J. Shelton was very effective as the in the first few games of the season as he started for an injured McNeill. I'm not sure if many remember, but he pancaked the Carolina defender on the first carry for L.T. last year on a 14-yard run.

    Also, Scott Mruczkowski is a versatile lineman that can play every position on the line.

    I expect Scott Forney to get the starting job at right guard, so expect a battle to get the starting job at right tackle with Mrucz, and Clary.

    C- We're VERY thin here. Hardwick is very very fragile. In 2005, his ankle snaped from a simple bull rush and had to get surgery and missed the majority of the season. Still, he's one of the best centers in the NFL when healthy.

    We got rid of Jeremy Newberry, so we basically have no insurance other than Mrucz, who can play center. I expect this to be a issue solved in the later rounds of the draft..

    G-Mike Goff is gone after 80 straight games, but we did sign Forney to a deal that should replace Goff. He was a premier guard when he played for Atlanta, and opened up 1,000 yard seasons to Warrick Dunn, and Mike Vick. He should compete for the starting job with Mrucz (Who is originally a guard), but should win the job.

    As for the left side, our best O-lineman, Kris Dielman is a rock.

    Grade: C+. Our right side needs some help.

    Special Teams: We have the best punter since Ray Guy. We have a clutch(?) kicker in Nate Kaeding. And our special team maestro, Kassim Osgood, is there to help. Sproles is an electrifying kick/punt returner, and should keep many special team units alert.

    Grade: A+

    Future Studs, and Emergers: Darren Sproles- Little Mighty Mouse will become a big part in our offense, and should develop into a cornerstone in our offense.

    Legedu Nannee- He has so much upside, and plenty of talent. He's calm under pressure, and knows what to do. IF his developement is on its projected way, he should eventually replace Chambers after he's gone. (I only rate him higher than Floyd, because he has less injury issues)

    Scott Mruczkowski- He's a versatile 0-lineman that knows how to play ALL positions. He learned alot over the past few years, learning from McNeill, Dielman, etc, and should be able to start for us for the next 4-5 years.

    LaDainian Tomlinson- With so many people hopping on the "L.T. is Washed Up" bandwagon, I cannot help myself, but to add this. He played all year with injuries, and still ended up with 1,100 yards. HE WILL bounce back, and have a spectacular year. Guaranteed.

    Hope you enjoyed my first ever Bleacher Report article! Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

    Aug 14, 2008
    That was very good and I mean, very good. The take on the oline put it all in perspective - We need help and we need it now. If AJ and company get on that we WILL be a beast this season.
  3. pure-sol

    pure-sol Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2008
    I thought it was a good article, but I can't believe he didn't even MENTION Scifres in his ST blurb.
  4. Boltergeist

    Boltergeist BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    I really liked the analysis and I'll only disagree on a couple of points. I think Manumaleuna seriously regressed last year....not sure if it was because he was injured, getting older, lack of motivation or some combination...but he was not helping much as an extra blocker and I think it hurt us. His getting back to 2006 form would be very nice.

    I also think Nick Hardwick may be the most overhyped player on the team...I keep hearing him referred to as "one of the best in the NFL" and I have to laugh....He is a massive liability in the running game because even smaller DT's in 4/3 sets dominate him one on one....and against bigger 3/4 prototype NT's....forget it....even with someone helping out to chip (which is all the time)....Think about how Terdell Sands ran over him repeatedly. He is a good signal caller on the line and is a heady lineman....and is a decent...not great...pass blocker with technique....but his smallish frame (probably 260 in real weight)...gets him pushed all over the place and is in the way of our backs more than anything.

    I worry about Forney a bit....He was jettisoned in Atlanta for not being "physical" enough....and I think our line needs to get much more "physical". However, it won't be hard to upgrade over Goff.

    I do think LJ Shelton should be starting at RT if we can't find an upgrade...at least we know that he's going to move people back in the run game and he performed really well in the early season last year. Why he wasn't playing over the awful Clary is a mystery to me.

    I pretty much love the rest of our offense. It shouldn't be discounted how much a year of experience can help guys like Tolbert and Hester....and our WR squad is pretty stacked IMO with guys like Buster coming back as an added slot guy with speed.
  5. Zeus

    Zeus BoltTalker

    Nov 21, 2006
    Scifres needs no introductions other than "We have the best punter since Ray Guy. "
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

    Aug 12, 2006
    Just an ok synopsis for me...

    Mruc is no RT and if he can be a starter for next 4-5 yrs how come he couldn't beat Goff out, who played injured all the time.

    I've no idea how we're gonna see Whitehurst this year?. He will have perfected the art of cupping your hand in front of your mouth though as he calls in the plays to Philip. :icon_huh:

    Not sure about 'guaranteeing' a great yr from LT, more like fingers crossed and keep rubbin that rabbit's foot that he does not go down game 1!!.

    Mruc as a future stud?...... eh.... I hope so but doubt it.

    Look forward to the D report. I expect we'll hear about Bingham becoming a monster DE. :lol:
  7. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    I agree about the analysis, DB. There's no group on the O that I would give an A+. I love PR, but even that group gets an A.

    Also agree about Mruc. Lifetime b/u at best. Clary is a joke - he only got the job because "T-Rex" Olivea **** the bed & we had no one else. We need an OG & OT, but before we decide which OT we must answer this question - do we need a LT & move McNeill to the right side or do we keep McNeill where he is?

    Manu regressed, especially the blocking - hopefully he comes back to former form. I'm also hoping that Chandler makes an impact this year after being injured last season.

    VJ has emerged, but I wouldn't paint him with elite status yet. Plus he has his DUI hanging over his head which could lead to some down time. Floyd needs to stay healthy. Hopefully CC is healthy again, but we have to remember that he is aging. Naanee hasn't gotten enough looks to be rated much. Davis a monster at LSU? That was Bowe - & he seems to be continuing in that vein for KC. The jury is still very much out on Buster.

    I hope LT stays healthy & gives us a good punch in the running game along with Sproles. Hester needs to show me why he was worth what we gave up for him. I want to see more of Tolbert before saying much there. We still need to look at RB in the 3rd or later. Lose either LT or Sproles & we have problems. Again - I like Rashad Jennings a LOT & hope he drops to us in the 3rd.

    I'm not meaning to bash this analysis - it's fair, just a little homerish in a couple of areas. Let's see what he brings in the analysis of the D. IMO, we're MUCH weaker on that side of the ball & that's where we'll either make it or break it this year.
  8. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

    Sep 8, 2006
    IMO RT is the single most important position to upgrade for 2009. We need a road grader. :bolt:
  9. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    If we stay healthy, build our line play, with Ron Rivera running the defense, and Rob Chudzinski back in the fold,


  10. timepiece33

    timepiece33 BoltTalker

    Jul 22, 2007
    Buster was a monster at LSU? Hardly. The guy was a 2nd team All SEC as a return specialist.

    IMO, the guy was an average producer in college who was a workout warrior. People fell in love with his ability to run sharp cuts and his attitude. However, they overlooked his inability to adjust to balls over his shoulder (which is a skill that most WR's need), which basically renders his deep speed useless.
  11. Osmekaman

    Osmekaman BoltTalker

    Jul 1, 2008
    10 out of 10 for being the first to get a review out.

    Could have been cut and pasted from last pre-season.
    All a bit pointless before the draft and free agency conclusion.
  12. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Eh - it's a fan/wannabe GM thing. We all do it. :yes: :tup:

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