1-Man’s Opinion Column–Friday “Chargers-Pick’Em-Pal”

Posted by on September 9th, 2016  •  0 Comments  • 




Here comes the forecast as the Chargers get ready to open the NFL season, Sunday in Kansas City.

The Bolts are fairly healthy, have had a good camp on offense, but still have much to prove on defense.

Philip Rivers has probably the best arsenal of offensive skill people around him he has had in years.

Melvin Gordon looks explosive and has worked on pass catching skills. Isolated against linebackers, he may be impossible to cover. He has shown what he can do if he gets space to run the ball. Danny Woodhead is the ideal compliment. And newly acquired ex-Giants running back Andre Williams may be a bigger version of the toughness of Brandon Oliver.

Keenan Allen has come into his own, slick running routes, tough to fite thru the contact, and dangerous yards after catch. When has San Diego had the typle of deep threat speed Travis Benjamin provides. Why Cleveland would ever let him get away in a mystery. It appears Tyrell Williams can be what Malcom Floyd was, a big size targed for Rivers.

The farewell tour for Antonio Gates begins. Watch to see how quickly Hunter Henry, the Arkansas rookie becomes part of the passing attack. He can catch, run, and get open.

The offensive front starts healthy and that is the key to the season. They had to use 11-different offensive lineman, and 23-different starting combinations last year because all but one of their top six OL had significant injuries. So far so good, but there are 16-weeks ahead to be played. I am worried about the concussion-prone issues with King Dunlap and DJ Fluker. Only time and good luck will tell.

Joey Bosa won’t play this week, and maybe not next week, nuring a minor hamstring. They could have used his athleticism and run stuff abilities in Kansas City come Sunday. He could have gotten hurt anytime in camp, but at least if he got nicked in late July, he would have had time to get healthy. Instead, he missed 31-days, 4-games, more than 30-practices and 51-team meetings. And now he has had 1-practice in 10-days. He will be behind the curve but there’s lots of time to get contributions.

This might be the biggfest defensive front San Diego has put on the field in awhile. Brandon Mebane, a 9-year vet takes up space. Corey Liuget and Darius Philon look as if they can hold up against the run. But depth becomes an issue if anyone gets dinged.

Five deep at linebacker, but the jury is still really out on Mantei Te’o, Jerry Attaochu and Kyle Emanuel. Are they just guys on the field, or playmakers?

The secondary will be different. Can Casey Hayward be better than Brandon Flowers? Jason Verret seems to have ‘star’ written all over his athletic ability. The safeties look solid, but only game action will tell us if CFL-import Dexter Coil, 2nd year man Craig Mauger and others can produce when called up.

The kicking game is rock solid, though it will be interesting see if Josh Lambo kicks off to put it in play, or will continue to hit it out of the end zone, giving the other team the ball at the 24.
The punter, Drew Kazor looks strong.

The schedule is very tough. If this team wins early, they will be a playoff team by the time they reach November first. The opening 8-games, against hired gun quarterbacks, will be a challenge.

If the offensive front holds up, and you’d think it’s time someone else had injury problems, Rivers will put up big numbers. Then it will be up to the defense to do their job to be better stopping the run, so John Pagano can unveil his exotic blitz packages.

It think the Bolts in in Kansas City, where they are just (8-18) since 1990. But Rivers is (5-5) at Arrowhead and loves that challenge of being hated. It is an organizational disgrace this franchise has just 1-playoff win in 8-years with him at quarterback. That’s on the front office, not on the quarterback.

Tom Telesco has had a good draft, and a good off season signing players. Better than the off season of the other three teams in the division.

Mike McCoy gets Ken Whisenhunt back as his offensive coordinator, so the play calling will be better, and some dimensions of tough guy football should reappear.

Know this, Rivers is on the clock. Know this too, McCoy needs to win He is just (5-14) in the divisions in 3-years. All those close losses, 16-by a TD or less over 3-seasons, are still ‘losses’. His record is (23-27).

He took over the best situation of any of the coaches hired in 2013. Bruce Arians has done a marvelous job in Arizona. McCoy has not, not yet, in San Diego.

The landscape has changed in the AFC-West. All four teams could wind up (9-7). I think the Chargers go from ‘worst-to-first’ because of Rivers and the upgrades on defense.

Win the division? A distinct possibility.
Make the playoffs? A must happen certainty.
Fire Mike McCoy if they miss the playoffs? Absolutely.

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