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Upon further review; Chargers @ Falcons

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    By Curtis Egan
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    <div class="alignright"><a href="http://a.espncdn.com/media/apphoto/dd932183-4809-4da6-8beb-5073c4591568.jpg"><img class=" " title="San Diego Chargers Darren Sproles celebrates with Vincent Jackson after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter of an exhibition NFL football game Saturday, Aug 29, 2009, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)" src="http://a.espncdn.com/media/apphoto/dd932183-4809-4da6-8beb-5073c4591568.jpg" alt="Darren Sproles celebrates with Vincent Jackson (AP Photo)" width="187" height="221" /></a></div>

    The Chargers went to Hotlanta for their third preseason game. Now of all the preseason games this one has less of the ‘kissing your sister' feel, because typically this is the game that the starters play the most. Chargers great from the past Dan Fouts was in the booth calling the game.

    The Chargers appeared to be ready to play; at halftime the Chargers led the Falcons 21 to 13. The offense was playing well. The Defense still looked preseason vanilla. The Vanilla play on defense still left me feeling like a sister somewhere was puckering up- I for one am a fan of aggressive, attacking defenses; That is by all reports what Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera will be bringing to San Diego.

    All in all the Chargers were playing well, the offense played one of their better games throughout the first half. Philip Rivers for the most part was on target, and Billy Volek played one of his better games with a lightning bolt on his helmet. The Chargers show cased the ability of their large bodied, athletic receivers. Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers, Malcom Floyd and Buster Davis all made good catches and showed why some believe that this season will see the Chargers setting up the run with the pass.

    The Chargers run defense is something that I hope will get better for opening week. It is extremely hard to judge the defensive performance based on a preseason game. As I mentioned before the Chargers are not going to give any other teams any film on how to attack the San Diego Defense. At times the rush defense looked discombobulated. I have to think that this is to be expected, and that the entire package will be on display as the regular season rolls around.

    I will say this, the Ron Rivera at the start of the 4th quarter took the time to chew his defensive player out for their play. He did not look happy and in just a few days before the cut down to a 72 man roster, I be some of the players' hearts were pounding loud enough to be heard in the upper levels of the Atlanta Stadium. You have to think that the defensive team meetings Monday are going to be lively as Rivera continues to let his charges know what he thought of their play.

    The Chargers did not have any significant injuries on the evening; however Brandon Hughes took a hit late in the game and gave us all a worry about his knee. He left the game under his own power which was a good sign.

    The Chargers found themselves in an all to familiar situation. They were fighting to keep the Falcons from the end zone, while nursing a four point lead with one minute left in the game. The Chargers lack of pressure on the Quarterback was hurting them at this point. With 34 seconds left to play the Chargers were trying to prevent the Falcons from driving the last 2 yards for the score. They needed to burn a timeout giving the Falcons time to organize, but also allowing the Chargers to get it together for the stop.

    The Chargers stuffed the run on the flowing play, Eric Bakhitiari made the stop. They stopped the run again to bring up a fourth down play. The falcons scored on the next play, another fourth down touchdown in the final seconds of the game. I felt chills as I was forced to remember the opening game of the 2008 season where the Chargers lost in the same manner. If it were not for the red uniforms, I would have been sure that the team we were playing was the Carolina Panthers-

    The Chargers got the ball back with 3 seconds to play. Well the sister was kissed, not only was it a preseason game, which meant nothing, but it was a last second loss which is a hard pill to swallow, even in preseason. The important thing is, no major injuries.

    <strong>The Bad:</strong>
    There were some things that occurred that I believe the Chargers will have to focus on fixing. There will be some focus given to these in practice, film time this week and coaches chewing on the posterior of their players:

    <strong>Jacob Hesters' Running</strong>: The young man does not seem to have a lot of vision to see the gaps at the line of scrimmage. On both of his first two rushes, he ran right into the blocking linemen, so either he can't see the holes, or he can't decide where to go with the ball quickly. Jacob ended the evening with 5 carries for 7 yards. He averages 1.4 yards per carry. He also caught 1 pass for 3 yards.

    <strong>The Pass Rush</strong>: OK, it is only preseason. We are not going to give away any crucial information. But I would like to see more pressure. The Defensive Line still isn't beating anyone one on one. We will need to see how they do in regular season in comparison. The Falcon signal callers had far too long to survey the field and find a target. In the fourth quarter the Falcons QB Chris Redman dropped back surveys the field, at a ham sandwich and then trotted into the end zone for six points to bring that game to a one point game. Chargers 21, Falcons 20.

    <strong>Rivers Intentional Grounding</strong>: Ok, I thought he got away with one first time, then he threw to an area where no one was around. Easy call. The good part is, he did not take a silly hit. The bad, at least throw it somewhere where someone in bolts is at least in the general area-

    <strong>Third and Long</strong>: 3rd and 13, 3rd and 18, 3rd and 17 and 3rd and 24, all on the same drive. The Chargers have a great offense, but they can't rely on their long, lanky receivers to bail them out of that type of trouble all the time. Opposing defenses will pin their ears back and try to take Rivers' head off in those situation.

    <strong>Penalties</strong>: Nothing can kill a drive quicker than a yellow hanky on the pitch- The Chargers, mainly on the offensive line gave up 6 penalties in the first half for 45 yards. That is too much by far in my opinion.

    <strong>Rushing Game</strong>: At the end of the first half the Chargers had only 26 yards rushing. Now I know it is preseason, but the Chargers will probably try and use the pass to set up the run, however without better production on the runs it will not be effective. To begin the second half the rushing game did not get much better, there were just no holes. Gartrell Johnson carried for the third time and took a nice pop. It will be important to see how he stands up to a pounding.

    <strong>The Good:</strong>
    <strong>Rivers</strong>: Rivers is a star, I would not be surprised at all to see him break all the Chargers passing records before he is done. He was 5-6 on 3rd downs, which is HUGE. If he can maintain the drive, then our Defense doesn't get worn out and we have the chance to put points on the score board. All in all and excellent outing for our premier signal caller, he ended the day with 10 completions in 15 attempts for 185, and 1 touch down.

    <strong>Volek</strong>: Played one of the best games I have seen him play in relief, before the end of the first half, Volek took the Chargers 80 yards in just over two minutes for the score. Volek ended his day with 7 completions in 9 attempts for 102 yards and a touchdown.

    <strong>Action Jackson</strong>: Is there anyone who does not think that Vincent Jackson is going to be a premier NFL wide receiver soon? This season should be a breakout, ‘Hey wolrd! Notice me!' season for Jackson. The catch where he jumped up and caught the ball with one hand, in a very nonchalant manner was just sick! He continues to improve his game, his size and ability are something that can't be ignored!

    <strong>Sproles</strong>: Is there anyone who thinks that Daren Sproles did not have a good night? He averaged 5.3 yards per carry, and caught 3 passes for 29 yards. But wait, that's not all, we have more. Sproles completed the trifecta of Rs (<strong>R</strong>ushing," <strong>R</strong>eceiving, and" <strong>R</strong>eturning), with a 32 yard kickoff return.

    <strong>Pass Blocking</strong>: I know many fans are not happy with the offensive line. There is always something we can see where one play this person does not do X right, the next play that person gives up a Y- But the Chargers gave up only one sack on the evening. A great improvement over the last preseason game where Rivers suffered 4 sacks in the first quarter alone.

    <strong>Wide Receivers</strong>: What can I say, our receivers are good. Chambers for instance only made one catch but it was a good one for 18 yards. What it showed me was that our receivers are running good routes and can go up for the balls. That is special because we don't force the passers to thread the needle, Rivers, and Volek can throw the ball up and allow them to go up and get the ball. The passing game looked like it was in regular season form!

    <strong>Floyd</strong>: Dear Norv, can we please get Malcom some more playing time? Floyd made a great catch and landed on his arm and side in an awkward manner in the first quarter. He left the field and I thought perhaps he could be done, but he is tougher than that! He came back and made some good catches in the second half including a catch for a touchdown with 1:11 left in the half. The play was reviewed but the evidence was inconclusive and the call was upheld. Floyd continued his great game in the second half, hauling in a third down conversion from Volek. Floyd finished the game with 4 receptions for 56 yards, and a touchdown.

    <strong>Bennett</strong>: Rushing was Ok, but on the screen he is a monster! On the TD catch by Bennett he could have gone down to an ankle tackle but kept his feet moving and was able to stay in bounds and take it to the end zone for 6. Bennett ended the evening being the leading receiver on the evening and the second leading rusher.

    <strong>Third down conversion</strong>: While I do not like the 3rd and long situations, the Chargers were simply spectacular on 3rd down conversions. Keep the drives alive and keep the opposing offense off the field, what more can you ask for?

    <strong>Notes</strong>: The first roster cut down will occur on Tuesday, September 1st. Players will be cut to bring the roster down to 72 players. Four days later, on the 5th will be the cuts down to a 53 man roster.<span id="_mce_tmp"></span>
     

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