The real test- Updated match up preview vs. the San Diego Chargers

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 The Jaguars won their opening game for the 1st time since 2006. Was Denver a good team? I am not sure but the real test will come this Sunday. Jack Del Rio and his players are heading West to clash with the San Diego Chargers. Although Norv Turner and his team lost on Monday, don’t even think this will be an easy game. I still consider San Diego to be the main favorite to win the AFC West for the 5th time in a row. But this does not mean they don’t have weak points. I will give you some places where the Jaguars might have advantage.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass over Grady Jackson #90 of the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on November 18, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars won the game 24-17. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)Source: Yardbarker

The Chargers run defense is shaky. Jamaal Charles had 8.4 yards average per carry against them; including a 56 yard long TD. Antonio Garay and Luis Castillo are very good players but I think the Jaguars can run toward Jacques Cesaire and the interior LB unit very effectively. Maurice Jones-Drew had a solid game against the Broncos but he needs to show more of his phenomenal ability in San Diego. He can/must(?) have a 100+ yard game to have the Jaguars any chance for something big.

The Chargers can’t protect Philip Rivers. It looks like Marcus McNeill will not play this game, so Brandyn Dombrowski will be the starting LT again who’s  hands will be full with Aaron Kampman. Aaron looks like he is near 100%; and had a pretty good game against Ryan Clady who is considered a much better left tackle than the Chargers 2ndyear player. But the real weak point is not him but Jeromey Clery who had a horrible game vs. the Chiefs. Once again; Derrick Harvey must prove something! Can he put pressure on the QB? He was good against the run and put pressure, but a sack would go a long way for him!  I don’t expect Kampman like pressure (=1, 5 sack, 6 QB hurries); but something! The Chiefs defense sacked Rivers 2 times and produced 5 QB hurries. That is our mark to beat.

San Diego has problems with the pass rush. We don’t know the game status of Shawn Merriman; but without him; the Chargers looked often lost against Kansas City. Shaun Philips had 1 sack against Matt Cassel who played not exactly his best game. (By the way watch out for him. Britton vs. him will be a key match up; and something we need to focus. Eben; it’s time to prove that you can worth that 2nd round pick.) Cassel held the ball way too long and despite that he was sacked only once and suffered 2 QB hits. Giving David Garrard time will be key for this game; and I think Monroe and Britton (and the whole offensive line) can produce another solid game this week.

Stopping the run is also something the Jaguars run defense can do. Ryan Matthews is a promising rookie back with rookie flaws and of course he is not –yet- the second coming of LaDanian Tomlinson. I think the Jaguars can get a fumble from him. Where was Darren Sproles? He was a complete non factor in Monday night. He ran or caught he ball 7 times. For 5 total yards…I hope he will be limited around the same level by Knighton and co. 

The Chargers special team unit looked everything but special on Monday night. Rookies Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas did whatever they want all night long. We don’t know if Scotty McGee or Deji Karim can play this game or not; but whoever will return punts and kicks can give excellent starting position for the Jaguars. I’m sure the Chargers already miss Kassim Osgood….(by the way; note to everyone; who thinks the game against the Chiefs on Week 7, in Arrowhead Stadium will be an easy W- think again. Watching the MNF makes me feel that game will be a very tough one to win. If Cassel -or somebody else- can lead them; look out for the Chiefs. Scott Pioli in fact has not forgotten how to build a strong team…)

Now when someone read these kinds of mismatches can think: “Oh they Jaguars have a pretty good shot on this game.” Sadly they’re wrong. Why? 2 words: Philip Rivers

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Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars Phillip Rivers San Diego Chargers

  • thehof

    Great preview for the game, Zoltan. Not to be picky, but Shaun Phillips had the sack. He is an extremely well-rounded linebacker and will line up on Eben’s side, so it should be a good test.

    • tkopa

      Eben will be singled out in this game.

    • zoltanfrombudapest

      Thanks- I correct it!

      Eben Vs Shaun Philips is the other mismatch besides Gates. Eben better get ready; becausei f not David will be hammered by Philips…
      (I added that part to the article now!)

  • Marc

    I’m not convinced it’s a loss. I think we play them like we play the Colts. If we bring a gameplan like we do against Peyton, we have a shot at this one.

    We have a team that is actually built for this one. It all boils down to front pressure, and secondary coverage.

    While Kampman was a beast last game, he also didn’t always line up against Clady. Most of his pressure came when he got in rookies faces and made them go Oh S$#@! Well, he has that in the LT right now. I think he’s going to get in his head, and he’s going to dominate him.

    I also agree, I think it should be a good game for Harvey to record a sack. It should be wide open for him.

    In short I expect our front to get good pressure this game.

    As far as the secondary. I think we are starting to get in decent shape here. Of course we need Cox to bounce back. If he doesn’t we’ll be likely in for a long day. You assign Jones to cover Gates, he’s big enough to take on the duty. We just need a few key plays on the secondary.

    But basically why we have a shot is we are a very good ball control offense. I believe that MJD/Jennings will have a very productive day, and that Garrard will dink and dunk for long 7-10 minute drives while Rivers stews on the bench.

    In other words we play them exactly like we play the Colts, and you know we keep the Colts pretty close.

    Compare the Chargers to the Colts, it’s pretty much the same type of team as the Colts, except the Colts are better in almost every case.

    Chargers can’t stop the run, Colts can’t stop the run.
    Chargers can throw it, Colts can throw it.

    Chew up the game clock with a good ball control offense. Have just a few key stops on defense. Have special teams perform up to the level they did in the preseason and I think we have a decent shot at winning the game.

    We’ll know in the first 15 minutes if we’re going to have a chance or not. Can we put together those long, grueling drives ala ’07. If we do that, we have a shot baby!

    Just my opinion.


    • zoltanfrombudapest

      Maybe Marcos; but the Chargers not want to PROVE IT! Like the Jaguars wanted last week. Plus it will be in the West Coast; which make us woory after last year.

      This is a game; where if the Jaguars win that will be a MAJOR UPSET. If they lose it will be not a big deal (if they do; the way how will be though)

  • Luke

    I must admit that I agree with Marcos on this one. While it may be considered a HUGE UPSET by the mainstream media, I think that this is a different season and neither the Jags or Chargers should be measured by their past year. A lot can change in an offseason, and I think the Jags got better to a great degree and I think that the Chargers slipped a little. So it should be closer than it is anticipated based on last years numbers and it will be quite similar to playing the colts in terms of playing style. I liked the examination, Marcos!

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