What I see-What I think about the San Diego Chargers
Game Planning….I thought this during the early going of the Chargers-Chiefs game on Sunday. The Bolts came out running the ball in a rarely seen “I formation”….Understand that-trying to unleash Melvin Gordon and his running talent…Giving him help…..But the burning question-by trying to make it a ball control game were you know playing into the hands of the Chiefs? You know Kansas City, loves to play defense, low scoring games, win it their way? Would it not have been better throwing, getting a lead, and making the Chiefs play catchup?
Wishing Weddle Would….For a guy with big money free-agent acquisitions, Eric Weddle’s season has been disappointing, just like the entire team. Weddle isn’t making many plays, is missing alot of tackles, and got dinged up. You watch the safeties of other teams, from the sure tackling Patriots, to an aging Charles Woodson in Oakland, and you see lots more plays out of them than we see from this safety.
Hurting for those hurt….The Bolts have now had 12 players go down with concussions this year, and the latest is the scary DJ Fluker issue, two sets of symptoms in a five day span-cleared Saturday to play-has symptoms come back after Sunday’s game. You wonder about the NFL protocol if it is actually working, especially with this coming on the heels of the debacle with Rams QB-Case Keenum.
Wondering Whatever Happened…Donald Butler is no longer what he was initially or what the Chargers are paying him for. Maybe it’s the early injuries in his career that have slowed him down. He hasn’t made many big plays the last couple of years. He gets beaten badly in pass coverage on guys crossing infront of him. There are few quarterback sacks whenever he comes on a blitz. Something is missing, don’t know if it is health or desire.
Spear of Influence…Jahleel Addae comes to lay the lumber, but the problem is he uses his helmet. He had two heavy helmet hits in Sunday’s game, and I believe they were intentional. He should be fined. He did get hurt again. I don’t see many big plays by him, but him instead just blowing up guys after they have made the catch and the run. He’s going to wake up one day badly hurt by the way he plays. Guess he finds that acceptable and the Chargers find it tolerable.
Praise the Kickers….Josh Lambo has had a special season, see the stats on field goals and kickoff touchbacks. Mike Sciefres can still boom it, but when your coach leads off his Monday press conference talking about all the positives from your kickers, when your team just got mugged (33-3) it’s not good. Lambo has a world of confidence, seems mentally tough, and has had a fine season, one of the few on this roster.
Changing Roles….Heading to the final six weeks of the season, the ravaged Chargers roster probably needs to do some shuffling of roles. Antonio Gates ability to get open has been lessened by the sprained knee suffered a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it is time to make him a 3rd down pass catching-role playing tight end, no longer a starter. Ditto a change for Danny Woodhead. With the losses at wide receiver, why not make Woodhead an inside slot receiver, who would be tough to cover. You’re paying Donald Brown still, so why not run him in tandem with Melvin Gordon.
Perryman-the-Pounder….He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there at linebacker, filling holes, making tackles, so Denzel Perryman should start ahead of Mantei Te’o or Donald Butler. He is a hitting machine, and though small, he is active, much like London Fletcher-Sam Mills from back in the day.
Use-Misuse…Melvin Gordon is struggling, though not much of it is on him. There are no holes to run through because of the poor run blocking of the offensive line. He doesn’t have a fullback or blocking tight end lining up with him, and that’s on the coaches. He is far from a bust, just a kid learning on the job, and who does not have much help, from teammates, or from coaches, who cannot figure out how to package this stick of dynamite.
Cleaning up this Mess…For all the coaches and the videos they look at, nobody on the second floor at Chargers Park has been able to clean up the woeful punt return-kickoff return problems. Can you imagine this, a team averaging 0.5 yards-per punt return thru 10-weeks of the season. This coaching staff can help the punt return guys, by doing a better job of teaching jamming and blocking the ‘gunners’ on the outside trying to get down the field. A terrible job by this staff, coupled with fumbles and penalties on top of it.
Woe is me….I’ve been covering the NFL going all the way back to my time working on the Cleveland Browns network, thru being the Voice of the Chargers and Seahawks. I’ve never seen a siege of injuries like this at one position, the offensive line. From King Dunlop’s three injuries, to the two suffered by Orlando Franklin, to the broken arm of Johnny Troutman, to ailing DJ Fluker, and the loss of center Chris Watt, it’s been never ending. Six of their top 8-lineman have been hit with major injuries this year. If it were groins or hamstrings, you’d say it’s a conditioning training problem. These are football hitting in game injuries.