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State of the Chargers at the midway point...

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Boltergeist, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. Boltergeist

    Boltergeist BoltTalker

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    At the end of the day, if you would have promised me a 5-3 record through the first 8, I probably would have taken it....Especially if you told me that we looked like crap out of the gate (as per usual), lost Jamal Williams for the season after game 1 along with a number of other key injuries, and that the Chargers started showing glimpses of pulling it together and getting stronger by the 8th game rather than falling flat a la the current NY Giants.

    I am very impressed with our resurging defense which I thought was a lost cause only a few weeks ago. The rotation on the D-Line, keeping bodies fresh, is working now that we are getting healthier. Merriman is also getting healthy and looking a lot more like the 2006 Shawne Merriman every day....this is having a ripple effect on our defense and pass rush. I think it will continue to get even better. This defense is much better right now than at any point last year....I'll take the kind of play we got out of the defense against the Giants any day. Rivera deserves some credit for making changes we definitely wouldn't have seen under Cotrell. Also, props to Wedell (someone I've bashed a lot as being overrated) for having one of the best games I've seen by a Chargers safety since the days of Rodney Harrison. I hope he keeps up that intensity in his tackling and hitting.

    Our offense is explosive and Philip Rivers continues to be consistently superb in the clutch. We have a great group of receivers....one receiver who may be the NFL's best...an extremely dangerous X factor weapon Sproles and a TE who is also one of the NFL's most dangerous receiving threats.

    Also good news is that at least we have narrowed down where we REALLY need to improve. It is clear that in order for this team to A. make the playoffs....and B. go somewhere in the playoffs......We're going to HAVE to find a running game. I know this is a pass first offense and team....and it should be.....but teams rarely accomplish the big goals by being this one dimensional. We don't need the huge 150-200 yard LT running dominance of the past.....BUT we HAVE to find away to at least start getting to 4 YPC and creating some balance and ball control that will win some games.....especially the games where our passing game just isn't clicking for whatever reason....and QB's and WR's have off games on occasion...as was amply demonstrated during the Giants game by Gates and Floyd.....and Chambers a few weeks prior.

    I really hope we continue to work on getting some kind of production on the ground. Personally, I think LT is a more than capable back...Watching that game closely on Sunday just like every game this year...I just don't see where he was supposed to run to. Same story each week. No holes...at all. Watching the Steelers on MNF, I saw a well oiled machine of an offense. If we could even get half of their rushing efficiency, our Offense would be ridiculous. To do that, there needs to be some commitment to power running and doing all of the traps and pulls and variations that good running teams do.....and not just the same 3-4 mundane running plays recycled and used repeatedly against teams that recognize immediately and just crush the play before it gets beyond a yard or two...and often in our own backfield. It's no different than pass plays if we were to throw the same 10 yard slant to Antonio Gates for 95 percent of our passing plays....with the only change being which direction he runs it....teams are not only going to stop it cold...but will start recognizing the route immediately and jumping it for pick sixes....I really think our running game is nearly this predictable.

    People who want to pin our running woes on either LT or Sproles aren't getting it. If the pitiful state of our running game was the fault of our backs, that means that the backs on our team would have to not just have lost a step....but would be the worst runningbacks in the history of football at this pace. Jermaine F'ing Fazande put up better numbers than our current backs and he had no business being in the NFL when he was with us. We have a HOF running back who should be running for 4 ypc even on a broken leg behind any other line worth its salt with decent play calling. We don't need game breaking runs...just create some space for us to get consistent 4-5 yard pops and balance things out.....We just need to find a way to open some holes...Get creative...and get SOME production. We can't continue to succeed as a one trick pony....especially in the playoffs...especially if we end up playing somewhere back east in bad weather.

    In summary. Continue the progression on defense....Do what we've been doing in the passing game....and find a way to make the running game AVERAGE instead of beyond PATHETIC....and we're going places. Find a way to FIX IT! This team can really do something if we just make some strides in this one area.
     
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  2. BoltFanDC

    BoltFanDC Mufflers Are Overrated

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    Overall I think your take is pretty good.

    My one point of contention also concerns the running game (what else?) but I have a slightly different view. Our O-line woes, at least in the case of run blocking, are well chronicled. However, having sat in the stands in Giants Stadium Sunday afternoon and evening I noticed that LT just does not seem to have the spring in his step anymore. There were several instances where there were creases that the old LT would have hit and been gone down the sidelines before you could blink, and he just flat did not hit them. And we're not talking about 50/50 chances, that defense could have been absolutely gutted. Maybe on the tube it wasn't that obvious, but seeing the whole field it absolutely was and those of us that were at the Giant game saw it.

    For this year, I think our best bet is to use a short passing game to help compensate for the lack of running, kind of what the Eagles have done for many years. If you have backs that can catch passes out of the backfield (and we do) you can still use that to control the clock and it will not be as susceptible to weather concerns as our vertical game could be.

    Just my $.02.
     
  3. BoltFanDC

    BoltFanDC Mufflers Are Overrated

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    PS -- Guess you need to change your tag line to "Fix the Running Game" now :lol:
     
  4. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Good post. :tup:

    But I think a great attacking defense will make up for many shortcomings on offense.
     
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  5. BoltFanDC

    BoltFanDC Mufflers Are Overrated

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    And on Sunday, at least after the first quarter it did.

    The Giants ran for 58 yards in the first quarter and got largely shut down after that...and five sacks and near constant pressure also helped matters quite a bit, stopping drives in the red zone (dang that sounds vaguely familiar)...
     
  6. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    I felt better and better watching our defense. I don't care if Sheli , Coughlin or the dood that got the holding call screwed up. We still took it to them on defense. I felt we were weak against the run but when I looked at the stats not so much. Big step in the right direction

    imo

    :tup:
     
  7. Boltergeist

    Boltergeist BoltTalker

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    Correct...The old LT would have taken advantage of even the slightest crease....he was that good...even behind some pretty bad OLines in 2002 and 2003.....but the margin of error shouldn't be that small....We have average backs in this league at a far lower skill level doing much more because their lines open reasonable holes at least from time to time....not never....No one is asking LT to be a superstar anymore...He just needs reasonable help to hold his own in the running game..and he's not getting it from the blocking or playcalling.
     
  8. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

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    I penciled in at the beginning of the year, when I had seen the schedule, a loss to Pittsburgh on the road, and a loss to the Giants on the road, for a 6-2 midway record.

    Now, we beat the Giants, but lost to the Broncos instead. O.k. I can see that, Denver is improved on Defense. But the Ravens loss should not have happened. Bad call at the end of that game. The play should have been changed to a short pass in the end zone. Sproles up the middle works what twice every 20 tries??:icon_shrug:

    Either way 5-3 is better than 4-4. But 5-3 in the 2nd half does not guarantee us a AFC West title, or a playoff spot. We need to win 11 games IMO. just sayin'.
     
  9. BoltFanDC

    BoltFanDC Mufflers Are Overrated

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    Again, I agree.

    The good thing is LT now has a much better supporting cast with bona fide superstars at QB (Rivers), TE (Gates, but WTF with the drops Sunday) and WR (VJack) so he does not have to carry the load he once did. If/when he gets neutralized, someone else will step up.

    We'll have to see if Hardwick coming back makes any kind of a difference in the blocking. It certainly won't hurt (no disrespect meant to Mruczkowski, who has played pretty well lately).
     
  10. Thread_Killer

    Thread_Killer Well-Known Member

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    Well said. LT is done, we need to go with a running back by committe approach, get Hester, Tolbert, and Bennett some carries.

    Then we'll have to make RB a top offseason priority.
     
  11. BOLTS4LIFE

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

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    I don't agree that LT is done but I agree on getting Hester and Bennett more involved. They might have some success with this lousy OL. Use Bennett like Marty used Turner. See if he can soften up the DL then let LT do his stuff.

    Good write up, Botlergeist.
    We for most part have an easy schedule remaining (with the exception of Eagles, Donkos, and Possibly Bengals) and should be able to make it to the playoffs. My concern still remains facing the teams in the playoffs.
     
  12. BoltzRule

    BoltzRule Well-Known Member

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    The 2nd half of the schedule looks a tad easier, although we still play the Eagles, Broncos, Cowboys and Bengals.

    But imo the toughest 3 games on our schedule was the Ravens, Steelers and Giants game and we've played through that. I had us at 5-3 at this point but with a win against the Broncos and loss against the Giants.

    1 thing is for sure we have to beat the Broncos game. A loss to the Eagles wouldn't hurt as bad as a loss to the Broncos, that would give them the tiebreaker and another game. Best case scenario is we win both of the 2 up coming games.
     
  13. BoltzRule

    BoltzRule Well-Known Member

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    Eh I think the defense will be the #1 priority. A top 3 defense goes a long way in being successful. Just look at the Steelers, they're great because of their defense and won a SB without much of a running game.

    O-Line will also be key. I'd only go RB in the draft if it was a great value pick.
     
  14. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

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    I don't really think we can afford to lose against the Eagles, since Denver plays Washington this week. Also our games against the Eagles 5-3, Denver 6-2, Cincinnati 6-2, and Dallas 6-2 will be ALOT tougher than the games we already played, not the other way around. Our easy games should be KC again, Cleveland, Tennessee, and Washington. I don't think we will win ALL the games, but we have to go 6-2 to make the playoffs. If we absoutely have to lose 2 games, let it be Dallas, and Philly.
     
  15. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Agreed. My caveat would be I'd only go RB on the 1st day if it was a great value pick or we are flush with 1st day picks, which I doubt happens. I'd still look at a RB, but not until Day Two.

    Like it or not, all of LT's woes are definitely not the OL. :no:
     
  16. BoltzRule

    BoltzRule Well-Known Member

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    I agree that if we lose 2 games Dallas and Philly would hurt us the least since they're both NFC teams.

    The Broncos have a pretty tough schedule as well. They play us, Giants, @Colts, and @Philly.

    If we can win the next 2 games we'd be in a more favorable position than the Broncos. We'd be left with Cincy and Dallas, while they'd have to play the Giants right after and still have the Colts and Philly.
     
  17. Boltergeist

    Boltergeist BoltTalker

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    Then I ask you this....Do you want Knowshon Moreno with a monster rookie contract on this team right now instead of LT? He would have been the only RB we might have taken in round 1. The guy is freaking slow and he can't produce worth a crap even behind Denver's stellar line (3.7ypc and always hurt ALREADY).......He also turns the ball over more and is no where near the receiver LT is.....How about Darren McFadden?...BUST. There are many more first round RB busts than big time players....and for one player to jump start this running game...It's going to have to be a stud at a superstar level.

    That's part of the consideration....LT leaves...this running game isn't going to magically get better with a new back unless the replacement is maybe Adrian Peterson or Steven Jackson....and there are MAYBE 2 or 3 of those in a draft...if it's a good draft...and sometimes none, like this year in the early rounds.

    The bigger issue is not at the running back position....and it may not even be so much the linemen themselves...I tend to think that we need to make more of an effort from a playcalling standpoint to create some running room....Then use LT, Sproles or whoever...just get SOME production in the running game.
     
  18. BoltzRule

    BoltzRule Well-Known Member

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    Neither McFadden or Moreno were value picks. **** imo Moreno was a reach. Although both are still young, just look at Mendenhall.

    Obviously no pick is a guarantee that's true about any position not just RB.

    Personally I don't want a RB in the 1st I'd much rather take one in the 2nd or 3rd, maybe later if no one worth it is available.
     
  19. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Yes, RB will be a need, but the bigger issue is that the OL the first part of the season has blocked for **** in the run game. Too often the DL is playing in the chargers backfield.

    Deilman is not playing near the lvl he normally does and I hope that Vasquez improves over the course of the year. Maybe it is scheme or the guys we have teaching them now, but the chargers used to get 8-9 in the box and still push the line. I wish we still had Hudson Houck here.
     
  20. Cheapseats

    Cheapseats Loud, proud Charger fan

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    I would use our 2010 first round pick on a Right Tackle. We need to shore up the O-Line to keep Rivers upright and improve what is left of our run game. The Chargers now have the tools to be an explosive pass-first offense so the odds are that a third or less of the offensive snaps will be run plays in the future. By the end of the season, the O-Line should be at a point where they will run block better than they do now, but the emphasis will remain on the passing game. If a couple of teams on our schedule have a crappy run defense we could get 100 - 150 yards on the ground (combined) but that is no longer where our bread is buttered. Having Tolbert develop into a lead blocking machine would help...but our future lies with "Air Rivers".

    Regarding draft picks, a legitimate Nose Tackle is my next priority...Jamal will have to hang up the cleats sooner or later. In the third ofr fourth round, if there is is a stud running back available with speed, good hands and enough size and strength to run between the tackles I'd say grab him.

    With half the season in the books, I'd say we have a legitmate shot at the post season.
     
  21. Daddy_O

    Daddy_O Well-Known Member

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    I hear Larry Johnson is available...........:popcorn:
     
  22. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I've answered this, if not in this thread, in others. Unless the RB prospect is a HUGE value, & by this I mean a can't miss on the level of an LT or AP, then I don't believe that RB is a Day One pick. The only other reason that I would pick a RB on the first day is if we're flush with Day One picks, i.e. at least a 2nd first or second round pick, AND the need is a priority. For the record, I was NEVER in the "take Beanie, take Knowshon", or any other available RB, in the 1st round camp. My pick at 16 was actually Ziggy Hood. You'll notice that I never looked at RB until our second 4th round compensatory - pick # 134. Hmmm .... and where was Gartrell drafted?

    I want AJ to go defense (line and/or a slobber-knocking ILB) & RT this year on Day One.

    As for why we have no running game this year - it's several issues. Some is OL, some is that LT isn't the old LT & we haven't adjusted to that yet. Both of these issues lead into the play-calling issue. I don't like it, but our coaches/players seem to adapt pretty slowly to adversity. The OL issues, IMO, require some Day One attention for a change - likely with the 2nd round pick unless we either garner another 1st via trade (unlikely) or foolishly trade that pick away - again. :tdown: Until that is addressed, there is little that any college RB prospect is going to do to improve our plight.

    Next time, before you assume to know my school of thought, do your homework. :yes:
     
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