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Steelers rush likely to keep Rivers in shotgun

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Kevin Acee
    Union-Tribune Staff Writer
    October 3, 2009

    With a new center and right guard helping protect him, Philip Rivers has lined up in the shotgun more than two-thirds of the times he's dropped back to pass over the past two games.

    With Baltimore and Miami bringing pressure up the middle trying to exploit right guard Brandyn Dombrowski and center Scott Mruczkowski, the Chargers were increasingly reliant on the 'gun to aid Rivers remaining upright.

    “If we can get Philip away from the line of scrimmage a little bit it helps him, it helps our line protect and it helps our backs,” head coach Norv Turner said. “That's not where we want to be, but for the (past two) games and the situation we're in, it's the best thing for us.”
    After going from the shotgun on 41 percent of his 39 drops at Oakland, Rivers was in the shotgun 29 times in 47 drops (62 percent) against the Ravens and 27 times in 35 drops (77 percent) against the Dolphins.

    With Pittsburgh almost certain to harass Rivers in a similar fashion, the shotgun could be employed just as much tomorrow night.
    “We need to be under center and make the plays that you have to make from under center,” Turner said. “But if we need to get Philip in the shotgun . . . We do have a good screen game, and we do have some good run (plays out of the shotgun). We haven't run out of shotgun, because even when we've been in it we've seen seven-man fronts with pretty good pressure.”
    Did being in the shotgun so much help protect Rivers? Sort of, maybe.

    He was sacked twice against Miami and knocked down five times. That is a slight improvement over the previous two weeks but at least partly the result of the line, particularly right tackle Jeromey Clary and Mruczkowski, protecting more consistently, and the Chargers using more max protection.

    For the season, Rivers has a 90.0 passer rating and 64 percent completion rate on 72 pass attempts in the shotgun. His rating under center is 76.7 with a 50 percent completion rate.

    “I like it,” Rivers said. “I like both. Being under center is good, too, because you get some of the hard run-action stuff. You get some of your better play action. It's a good mix-up. It was more than a mix-up last week.”
    Rivers, loath to throw his linemen under the proverbial bus and say they needed help protecting him, instead focused on the variety the shotgun gives the Chargers. They have, in the past, been somewhat predictable, lining up almost exclusively in an “I” formation when having two backs and one tight end in the game. But the past two weeks, they've been in the shotgun with that personnel group, perhaps giving opponents something to ponder.

    “It allows us to be even more versatile,” Rivers said, “because we're not just in the shotgun in passing situations.”

    Health updates

    LaDainian Tomlinson appears ready to play tomorrow, but linebacker Shawne Merriman's status is still a concern.
    Bothered by a strained groin, Merriman officially was listed as questionable after fully participating in practice yesterday. Last week, Merriman could play only a handful of plays against Miami, and his ability to compete for more than a few snaps against the Steelers will again be in question.
    “The thing is not his movement,” Turner said. “You don't know the strength and how long it will last.”
    Merriman is the only injured Charger listed as questionable.

    Mostly shut down

    The Chargers' three cornerbacks have allowed just 13 completions in 25 passes thrown their way. Free safety Eric Weddle has allowed only one completion in eight passes.
    In all, Chargers defensive backs have been charged with 376 yards on 21 completions in three games – a gigantic improvement over their average of 19 receptions and 199.4 yards per game in 2008.
    “The disappointing thing is we've given up some big plays,” coordinator Ron Rivera said, referring to touchdown completions of 57 and 27 yards. “I think our secondary is doing a great job. I really like the work they've done. The two position coaches have done outstanding work.”
    In addition to the new guidance of coaches Steve Wilks and Cris Dishman, inside linebackers Kevin Burnett and Stephen Cooper have been in better position.
    “That group has to play together,” Turner said. “We're doing a better job with our underneath coverage in terms of our linebackers, so there aren't so many lanes to fit the ball into. That's helped our corners.”

    Imposing in pink?

    Tomlinson, Merriman and receiver Chris Chambers were all wearing shoes with pink trim for practice, breaking them in for tomorrow's game. The Chargers and the NFL will show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Numerous players will wear pink cleats, wristbands, gloves, sideline caps and towels, with the items to be autographed and auctioned at www.nflauction.nfl.com. The Steelers will be distributing pink towels to fans at the game instead of the usual yellow “Terrible Towel.”
    Said Tomlinson: “We try not to look at the towels.”

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

    Jul 11, 2006
    I feel totally comfortable with Rivers throwing the ball unlike in the past when I was always concerned with what bad may happen. If there was anything I could change about PR's game, it would be his foot speed. Other than that, the dude is nail's.
  3. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

    Aug 20, 2006
    More shotgun? FINALLY

    How about a little no-huddle? That would at least add some element of surprise.

    Please Norv... mix it up today.
    • Like Like x 1

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

    Jul 11, 2006
    No-huddle would be great if we get the ball first, oh hell, at any time will do. They couldn't dig in that way if we could scripted the plays and call two or more at a time.:tup: :icon_toast:

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