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Scouts Inc.: Rivers rolling as Chargers' focus shifts

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    The San Diego Chargers appear to have found a new, unconventional way to control games: throw the ball more, throw it deeper and throw it near the goal line.

    In the past, LaDainian Tomlinson was the focal point of the Chargers' offense. Not so in 2008. Over the previous three seasons, San Diego averaged 139.4 rushing yards per game (the third-best total in the NFL during that span). That's a stark contrast to the team's current clip of 98.5, which ranks 21st in the league. Meanwhile, a relatively conservative Chargers passing game (which averaged 203.4 yards per game over that same three-year stretch) has jumped to 239.8 in Philip Rivers' third season as starter.

    Clearly, the coaching staff's confidence in Rivers and his ability to make plays downfield is at an all-time high. His willingness and ability to throw to all levels mark a big change in his game, and the greater involvement of his wide receivers has made the offense more diverse and less predictable. And if the game plans haven't called for more intermediate and deep throws, Rivers is reacting to coverage and beating defenses when he spots weaknesses. That in itself demonstrates maturity and a higher stage of development.

    Coach Norv Turner also is giving Rivers more opportunities in the red zone, which in the past had been the unquestioned domain of Tomlinson. Most opposing defenses will stack the line of scrimmage with eight-man fronts and attack with zone run blitzes to derail L.T. inside the 20. And because Tomlinson's ailing right toe has hindered his cutting ability, his burst to and through the hole and his power, Rivers is getting the call on a short field more frequently than at any other point during his NFL career.

    Rivers' vision and ability to find his second and third options continue to improve. He isn't moving any better than when he entered the league, but he's thinking faster on his feet. His ability to get rid of the ball quicker is a main reason his sack rate has improved every year (down to one every 20.6 dropbacks so far in 2008). Showing better judgment with the ball and hitting his spots more consistently, Rivers is putting together his best season as a pro.

    Turner has moved toward a slightly more balanced attack, and even is using the passing game to set up L.T. and the run game -- rather than vice versa. The reason it works is that defensive coordinators overplay the run, which leaves a very talented group of receivers, tight ends and backs to shake free on pass routes and exploit coverage matchups. Early-down passes out of a variety of spread formations have led to big plays and softened opposing defenses, the results of which finally are being realized by Tomlinson (who had one of his better games Sunday).

    San Diego's altered approach sticks opponents firmly between a rock and a hard place: Load up to stop the run or use a nickel package to match up with all those talented targets? If Rivers continues to make strides and Tomlinson returns to full health, this offense may take the next step, from dangerous to lethal.
     
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  2. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

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    The key is the offensive line. Rivers didn't look so hot against Oakland or Miami when the offensive line looked like complete crap. If they don't give Rivers time, then the deep passing game won't work.
     
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  3. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    C'mon Norv and Philip, keep'em guessin!! :tup:
     
  4. PhilipRivers#1

    PhilipRivers#1 BoltTalker

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    As SDRon would say "Keep Philip upright". :tup::bolt:
     
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  5. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

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    Bravo Philip, just go on getting better.
    As the season will roll on, defences will change the eightbox
    strategy and LT will have more room to get his 1000y again.
    Balanced offence is the best we can get.
     
  6. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    :abq2: :abq2:
     
  7. Thread_Killer

    Thread_Killer Well-Known Member

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    I think it is great that we now have the ability to attack with the deep pass.

    But I hope we don't go overboard. There's was one deep pass we tried on 3rd and 2 backed up in our own end, that was a poor decision, especially when we were trying to protect a lead.
     
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  8. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    True. We have to have a balanced attack since we have SO many weapons to use. What happened to the screens to Tolbert? Give that man the rock and mix it up with the deep pass and LT. I say come out this Sunday with the deep ball. Not sure how good the Bills secondary is but we should hit them deep like we did Sunday and set the tempo. I liked that a lot and have been waiting for US to dictate the tempo, not the other team. O-Line and D-Line have to continue to play with a sense of urgency and energy for the next 2 weeks since we need to go 5-3 at the bye imo.
     
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  9. Enormo

    Enormo BoltTalker

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    Words.

    The deep pass should be used but over the past few weeks (with the exception of the Miami game) it's almost been a crutch. For the Chargers to lean against it regularly, they'll have to establish the run game again. That will make the deep game a higher percentage risk rather than a "hey we're struggling on offense, let's see if we can get 50 yards on one play so we don't stall out."

    It's been nice but it's not the answer for this team.
     
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  10. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

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    I don't really think that it's been used an absolute ton throughout the year, and when it has been used, it's been due to teams stacking an extra safety in the box, leaving them with only one guy to protect the deep middle of the field. If teams keep doing that, then we should attack them deep till they decide to drop that safety back into coverage, which is when we should use the run.
     
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  11. TheBeast

    TheBeast BoltTalker

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    If Rivers keeps throwing like this and the O-line gives him the time thats necsssary to make a play, we should be in good shape and he might win the MVP.
     
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  12. VikingBolt

    VikingBolt BoltTalker

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    Philip has become an all time MVP HOF quarterback and hopefully will lead to many Super Bowl rings! :bolt:
     
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