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Scouts Inc breaks down Bolts v Pats

Discussion in 'American Football' started by AnteaterRaider, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. AnteaterRaider

    AnteaterRaider Carpe Diem et omni Mundio Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jan 19, 2006
    Why To Watch
    The last time the Chargers and Patriots met it was in a Divisional playoff game in San Diego, a game the Patriots won 24-21. New San Diego head coach Norv Turner will continue to rely on RB LaDainian Tomlinson against a Patriots defense that will commit multiple defenders to the box on heavy run-down tendencies. Expect Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees to set his game plan on containing LT and attacking QB Phillip Rivers in the pocket in passing situations. New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will continue to spread the field with multiple personnel groupings that will allow QB Tom Brady to attack the Chargers defense by design in his pre-snap reads with either a run or pass play depending on situational matchups. Chargers defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell must find a way to create pressure with a four-man rush led by ROLB Shawne Merriman while being physical with his corners and not giving up any big plays on the back end in coverage.

    When the Chargers have the ball
    Rushing: Tomlinson needs to get back on track this week against a very good Patriots front seven. He is easily the best player at his position in the NFL, a natural jump-cutter with the explosive speed and playmaking skills to score from anywhere on the field. Add in FB Lorenzo Neal and an offensive line that averages over 312 pounds and the Chargers have one of the best running games in the NFL. San Diego must absolutely control the line of scrimmage, starting with C Nick Hardwick against NT Vince Wilfork down in the trenches. Wilfork is one of the major keys to the interior of the Patriots' 3-4 defense, while Hardwick is solid in the middle with his quick hand placement and the feet to be a factor on the second level.

    Hardwick lacks good bulk, however, and usually handles quickness better than power. Look for Turner to stay committed to a running game that involves a lot of shifting and motioning out of two-back sets to try and get the Patriots out-flanked, especially on Power "O" plays. Expect Pees to load up the box with multiple defenders and key on LT, forcing Rivers to beat the Patriots through the air.

    Passing: If the Chargers are going to win this game Rivers must make some big plays in the passing game and avoid game-changing mistakes. Rivers is a smart, competitive player with good toughness for the position. He has a low, unorthodox release but his vision and the quickness of his release help him find passing windows. However, the Chargers must get more production form receivers Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd and Craig Davis as Tomlinson and TE Antonio Gates combined for 16 catches last week against the Bears.

    The Patriots do a great job of covering up weakness and moving defenders around to confuse pass protection schemes, along with creating space for blitzers. The key for Rivers will be to place the Chargers in the right protection schemes that will allow him time in the pocket to attack the Patriots secondary. The Chargers also need to do a good job of converting manageable third-down situations to continue drives and keep the Patriots offense on the sideline. Look for New England to be physical on Gates with a linebacker and bracket him with either a corner or safety over the top in its sub-defensive packages. Also watch for Pees to bring pressure on Rivers with single zone fires and multiple-zone blitz schemes.

    When the Patriots have the ball
    Rushing: The Patriots need to establish a running game early on with RB Laurence Maroney. The Patriots had 37 rushing attempts for 134 yards last week with Maroney leading the way with 72 yards on 20 carries. New England has very good continuity along the offensive line with enough size and strength to win physical battles and creating space for Maroney. The Chargers have a very good front seven in their multiple 3-4 schemes led by NT Jamal Williams, a powerful inside defender with the size and strength to create a new line of scrimmage. He has quick powerful hands and can be very effective in small area. Defensive ends Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky are very good players and sound technicians amd LILB Stephen Cooper leads the linebackers.

    The Patriots are very well-coached along the line with a great understanding of angles and body position. The key for them will be the interior of the line, led by C Dan Koppen. The Patriots must get movement off the line of scrimmage with combination patterns with LG Logan Mankins or RG Steve Neal, allowing Koppen to rub off and get position on the second-level to cut off linebacker penetration and create inside run lanes.

    Passing: Look for McDaniels to spread the field with his multiple personnel groupings and use the passing game to set up the run. With the addition of wide receivers Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth and Wes Welker to go with TE Ben Watson, opposing defenses must defend the entire field against the Patriots. With a QB like Tom Brady under center that secnario places a lot of pressure on opposing defenses. McDaniels will utilize Brady in the shotgun with an emphasis on the screen game to try and keep the Chargers pass rush off-balance. Watson and backup running backs Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk can be very productive in space with their run-after-catch ability.

    Cottrell must find a way to pressure Brady in the pocket without giving up explosive plays on the back end in coverage. Look for San Diego to rely on a four-man rush with an occasional zone blitz depending on the situation, while asking the corners to be physical on the outside to disrupt the timing and rhythm of the New England passing game. ROLB Shawn Merriman and LOLB Shaun Phillips combined for 28.5 sacks last season and each presents a lot of problems in pass rush situations due to their speed and quickness off the edge. However, the Chargers must find a way to pressure the interior of the pocket in their dime packages and get Luis Castillo or Jacques Cesaire to force Brady to move off his landmark, where his lack of mobility could force him into making some game-changing mistakes.

    Special Teams

    Hidden yardage could be critical to the outcome of this game, and both teams place a strong emphasis on their coverage units. The Chargers are set with PK Nate Kaeding and P Mike Scifres, and while Kaeding is extremely accurate as a place kicker he must also do a good job on kickoffs this week. Patriots kickoff returner Ellis Hobbs tied the NFL record with a 108-yard return touchdown last week, so look for Kaeding to rely on directional kicks this week to try and restrict the amount of space Hobbs will have by using the sideline as an extra defender. Also, expect to the Chargers to use an extra coverage player to the boundary while containing with two outside defenders to the field side.

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