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Old 10-15-2009, 11:20 PM   #1
ZONA
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Default San Diego Chargers: A Team In Trouble

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2...eam-in-trouble


San Diego Chargers: A Team In Trouble
by
Carlos Monagas


Looking ahead to Monday night, when the Broncos take on the Chargers in San Diego, reveals a very interesting matchup. A couple of years ago, if someone would've told me the Chargers will be struggling to run the ball I would've laughed in their face and called them an idiotóbut that's exactly what is happening.

The Chargers have an aging offensive line to go along with their declining star running back LT. Hampered by nagging injuries and age, LT is but a shell of his former self/ While I will point out he can still be productive, he needs a stellar line to make him more effective. In the past, LT could've made even the weakest offensive lines look good.

This will present a problem for the Chargers this Monday night. With a veteran defensive backfield and the league's top pass rush, the Broncos will challenge the one-dimensional Chargers, who like the to drop back with five and seven-step drops.

The Chargers are coming off a bye week, so they had extra time to prepare for this matchup. And while they do boast an amazing passing attack, when your offense is that one-dimensional the advantage is definitely with the defense.

The Chargers' problems do not end with the running game. In fact, their biggest issue lies in their porous defense. The run defense is has been heavily affected by the lack of production from Merriman and Phillips, but it's the absence of Jamal Williams and the lack of depth behind him that is hitting them the hardest.

The passing defense is a little better than last year's, but the continued regression of CB Cromartie and the complete ineptitude of their safety play are worrisome. Added to the lack of a dominant pass rush, the defense as a whole leaves much to be desired.

As said before, the Chargers do have weapons on the edges in the form of Jackson and Gates, but the lack of a running game is troubling, to say the least. LT is showing his age and then some, the offensive line is once again regressing, and Sproles is not an every-down back.

Sproles is more of a change of pace back, and even then he is not a true running backóhe is better as a receiver out of the backfield. The Broncos' run defense has been anything but porous and should be able to handle the Chargers' running game with ease.

The Broncos should be able to go into San Diego and dominate Chargers and improve to a 6-0 record before heading to their bye week.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:24 PM   #2
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I'm curious if SD is planning on changing their offense a bit for this game. They sure do love those 5 & 7 step drops but facing the league's best pass rushing attack, I'd think they would want to change that up some. I betcha Norv is gonna try to use alot of screen passes to slow the pass rush down and get LT and Sproles the ball more in the flats as receiving targets then he is putting them in the backfield just to run the ball.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:25 PM   #3
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SD always starts slowly, and then plays well. I am hoping that this year exposes them as the frauds that they are ;-)
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:29 PM   #4
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well, here's more from that writer. His keys to the game.
He's right about taking Gates away. We shut down Witten so they should do a decent to good job on Gates.


Here are my keys to victory for Denver when they head to San Diego in week six.


1. Take away the screen pass to Darren Sproles

This is one of the Chargers' biggest offensive weapons. They absolutely love to hit Darren Sproles with a screen pass on third down situations, and they execute it well.

Sproles has caught only 15 passes this year, but he is averaging over 13 yards per reception. He is a big weapon for this team and Philip Rivers when they need to be bailed out on third and long situations.

The Broncos can neutralize this by giving the Chargers a lot of different looks on third downs, mainly faking blitzes. If the Broncos can disguise their blitzing well, they will be able to shut down this particular facet of the Charger offense.



2. Assign a defender to TE Antonio Gates

Gates is having one of his better seasons as a professional so far in 2009. He has 24 receptions for 349 yards, and he seems to have a knack for getting open.

The Broncos cannot let that happen.

Denver shut down Jason Witten in week four against the Dallas Cowboys, so there is no reason to believe they cannot bottle up Gates.

My guess is that the Broncos will either try and assign a defender like Wesley Woodyard to Gates or maybe somebody like Jack Williams, who could be giving up a lot of size but who has done a phenomenal job so far this season.



3. Dominate the Running Game (Offensively and Defensively)

The running game statistics so blatantly favor the Broncos in this game it is almost unfair.

Denver is ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 139, and the Chargers are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. They average 53.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks 32nd (also known as "Dead Last").

Defensively, the Broncos allow a mere 81 yards per game on the ground, ranking them sixth in the NFL. The Chargers are allowing opponents 151 yards rushing per contest, which is sixth worst in the league.

The statistics indicate that Denver will be able to dominate this game on the ground, both offensively and defensively. The San Diego front seven has been anything but impressive so far this year, and the Broncos have been absolutely stellar.

Denver is potentially getting a boost from veteran Correll Buckhalter, who missed last week's game with an ankle sprain. He was limited in practice on Wednesday, but that is more than he has done in a while. The Broncos are hoping he can go Monday night to give them their one-two punch of he and Knowshon Moreno, who leads all rookies in rushing yards.



4. Pin your ears back, and get to Philip Rivers

If the Chargers are unable to establish a running game, the Broncos could have a field day in terms of quarterback sacks.

This is a unit that ranks second in the NFL in quarterback take-downs with 16, and they are facing a San Diego offensive line that is battered.

Still, the Charger line has given up a fairly respectable 10 sacks this season, so there are no guarantees.

The Broncos need to make the Chargers one dimensional by shutting down the run, then hit them where it hurts.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:29 PM   #5
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Broncos may want to try sticking someone like JMFW or Smith on Sproles when he comes in. Sproles not hard to bring down, hard to catch, I think one of those 2 should shadow Sproles when he is in the game.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:31 PM   #6
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I'm surprised the Chargers haven't made like the Patriots yet and switched to a 4-3 front to try and work with the **** they have.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:33 PM   #7
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SD one of those teams that survives off turnovers and big plays to stay in it. Seems when they need an onside kick or a fumble they get it, save season, and win division.

Broncos have to realize that losing this game like 2 losses. It's that huge.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:34 PM   #8
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I want to see Sproles catch a short pass on 3rd & 6 right in the middle, then turn around to run for more yards but is greeted by Dawkins crushing him and sending him flying backwards 5 yards as he fumbles.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZONA View Post
2. Assign a defender to TE Antonio Gates

Gates is having one of his better seasons as a professional so far in 2009. He has 24 receptions for 349 yards, and he seems to have a knack for getting open.

The Broncos cannot let that happen.

Denver shut down Jason Witten in week four against the Dallas Cowboys, so there is no reason to believe they cannot bottle up Gates.

My guess is that the Broncos will either try and assign a defender like Wesley Woodyard to Gates or maybe somebody like Jack Williams, who could be giving up a lot of size but who has done a phenomenal job so far this season.
I was reading an interesting point about us "shutting down" Witten, it's not so much that they shut him down, but that the Cowboys had to keep him in to block because of our fierce pass rush (I love saying it so much). Hopefully they can bring enough heat on Monday to force the Chargers into the same.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:38 PM   #10
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I'm not a betting man but I actually think I might throw down $100 on the Broncos this week. Between McD's overall total team preparation and Nolan's half time adjustments, I don't think SD wins.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:05 AM   #11
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Wow, that is some astute analysis. Run the ball? Assign a defender to Antonio Gates? I can only hope and pray that McDaniels does not have access to this web site.

I think the oldest member of our aging offensive line is 27.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRBronco View Post
I'm surprised the Chargers haven't made like the Patriots yet and switched to a 4-3 front to try and work with the **** they have.
There is a lot of 4-3 stuff in the playbook. The Chargers opened the year in the 4-3. Unfortunately most of San Diego's defensive personnel are stretching their mental faculties to the limit just running a base defense. Mixing up looks usually just becomes embarrassing since nobody knows what they are supposed to be doing.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
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There is a lot of 4-3 stuff in the playbook. The Chargers opened the year in the 4-3. Unfortunately most of San Diego's defensive personnel are stretching their mental faculties to the limit just running a base defense. Mixing up looks usually just becomes embarrassing since nobody knows what they are supposed to be doing.
It looks to me like SDs defensive problems are directly related to two things. One is talent on the field is not what it was a couple of years ago. Injury is the biggest factor and lack of players developing the second.(Crow-Marty) the real problem with SDs team is attitude. I think they have believed all the hype about how great they are and haven't been prepared to give it their all in many big games. Unfortunately, it looks like the window is not just closing for you guys, but has shut. SD won't be winning the AFC title this year and it is looking unlikely that you will even win the west, now that the Broncos are fielding a team that can play some defense. Monday is an ESSENTIAL game for San Diego to win, not so much for the Broncos. That said, if the Broncos run the ball with success: (See Broncos O line) Broncos win :
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Wow, that is some astute analysis. Run the ball? Assign a defender to Antonio Gates? I can only hope and pray that McDaniels does not have access to this web site.

I think the oldest member of our aging offensive line is 27.
That's actually pretty funny.

It wasn't a great article, I agree. I think the Chargers always play us tough at Qualcomm stadium, I expect this game to be no different.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:06 AM   #15
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Broncos may want to try sticking someone like JMFW or Smith on Sproles when he comes in. Sproles not hard to bring down, hard to catch, I think one of those 2 should shadow Sproles when he is in the game.
I disagree that Sproles is not hard to bring down. he's able to shy away from contact well enough that you don't get a good lick on him, the same thing that Tomlinson has always done well.

No, he's not big, but that low center of gravity helps him a great deal. 13 yards per reception? Yowza.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:48 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by 400HZ View Post
Wow, that is some astute analysis. Run the ball? Assign a defender to Antonio Gates? I can only hope and pray that McDaniels does not have access to this web site.

I think the oldest member of our aging offensive line is 27.
That's what I thought too. I hope this guy didn't get paid for that article!

In addition, LT is definitely not a "shell" of what he used to be. He looks good again. The problem is the team can't run-block worth a crap and he has to constantly dodge defenders 2-3 yards in the backfield immediately upong receiving the handoff!
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Old 10-16-2009, 08:27 AM   #17
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I hate the chargers not as much as the raiders and not even close to how much I hate KC, that said this "article" is from the Bleacher Report, consider that and then pile on the chargers for real reasons and dont forget the keys to victory! run the ball and stop the run. maybe I should apply for a job with these guys I can break down games way better than these grade school punks.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:24 AM   #18
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That's what I thought too. I hope this guy didn't get paid for that article!

In addition, LT is definitely not a "shell" of what he used to be. He looks good again. The problem is the team can't run-block worth a crap and he has to constantly dodge defenders 2-3 yards in the backfield immediately upong receiving the handoff!
LT has lost a step. Or two. You can't look at all the evidence anymore and still deny it. Maybe our offensive line does suck, but LT looked all-world running behind scrubs like McIntosh and Ball and Garmon in the past. He's not the same back anymore.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:29 AM   #19
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According to nfl.com, San Diego is 32nd in rushing, but 2nd in passing. That seems to be the basis for this author's "one dimensional" comment. Having said that...

Chargers 848 Broncos 7
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:29 AM   #20
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Baaaad karma.

I'm worried.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:46 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black96WS6 View Post
That's what I thought too. I hope this guy didn't get paid for that article!

In addition, LT is definitely not a "shell" of what he used to be. He looks good again. The problem is the team can't run-block worth a crap and he has to constantly dodge defenders 2-3 yards in the backfield immediately upong receiving the handoff!
It's Bleacher Report, one step away from something Bob writes. Anyone can sign up and write an article on that site.

LT has actually looked pretty good when he's been given some holes to run through, before injuring his ankle and even on a couple of runs against Pittsburgh. The o-line has just been atrocious. Initially I thought Mruczkowski was playing decent at center after the Raider game but he has stunk after that. They need Hardwick back badly. Dombrowski playing at guard was just a nightmare. I'm surprised he even made the team in the first place but he's an OT and has never played guard in his life. Getting Vasquez back at guard is a huge upgrade for them even though he's a rookie who is still developing.
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