One of the great benefits of the Fan Based network is the lead bloggers around the NFL are so knowledgeable and helpful. This goes for Ernie Padaon from Bolt Beat. He sat down for a few questions to give us the inside scoop.
So Ernie, the Chargers have always had a big time offense. How is it going this year?
Well Terry, like any team we have strengths and weaknesses:
STRENGTHS: Even with the holdouts of Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson, we are still a very strong offensive team. We were able to move the ball through the air on the Kansas City defense. Philip Rivers is able to make plays to all his receivers and Antonio Gates is a mismatch for opposing defenses. Antonio Gates draws multiple defenders at him and gives opportunities for the other young receivers to make plays.
WEAKNESSES: We still need to establish the run and were not able to do it against the Kansas City Chiefs. Rookie Ryan Mathews has put a lot of pressure on himself and needs to settle down and get used to the speed of the game. He had a costly turnover that led to a touchdown. He should be able to have a better game without the slip d’ slide weather. We also need to find our number 1 receiver. Antonio Gates was triple teamed at the end of the game and KC made us try to beat them with other receivers. Often times, the ball was thrown out of their reach or dropped because of good coverage. Malcom Floyd was thrown at 12 times and only made 3 receptions.
Well Ernie, receivers getting open won’t be a problem against the Jaguars. We are hoping for the “no time to throw” option.
And how did San Diego play defense? What emerged as strengths and weaknesses?
Its hard to evaluate the defense from the one game we have played this season. We played against Matt Cassel, who does not look like a great QB at this point in his career. The corners played well and did not give up any big passing plays and we only gave up 70 yards in passing offense. Antonio Garay is a big defensive tackle and can move the pile. He is a big key to our run defense.
We need to limit the long plays.We were burned for a 50+ yard Touchdown by Jamaal Charles. In the playoffs last year we were also burned by a long run by Shonn Greene. The safety, Eric Weddle, looked lost on both plays and needs to come up with a tackle to prevent the home run. We miss the presence of Shawne Merriman in the pass rush and we hope to get him back for this game. Also, we fail to wrap up and finish off tackles.
If you fail to wrap up and finish tackles, say hello to our little friend, Mr Drew. He loves when people don’t wrap up and finsh tackles.
So if you lost to Kansas City, why will you win this game?
The Chargers are coming off of a loss and are hungry for that first win. We are determined to start off this season on the right foot and put that loss behind us. Our passing offense is much better than Denver’s and they were able to move the ball through the air on you guys pretty well. Rookie Ryan Mathews is determined to makeup for his mistakes in the last game and will have better footing to run the ball. We need to limit the damage of MJD and we should be able to force Garrard into some turnovers. We have home field advantage, and even though its not a sell out, the crowd will still be rockin! It will be a hard fought game, but I expect us to pull it out!
I have to admit the combination of a home opener and coming off an embarrassing loss is a lot. The Jaguars are killers when they travel West (not). So there is no reason to believe in a Jaguar victory. Well one reason, teams always do what you least expect and I least expect a victory. That means Go Jags!
Thanks Ernie and best of luck. We will be watching the game here is Jacksonville, sorry you won’t see it.
– Terry O’Brien