Category Archives: Chargers

Season Preview AFC West

As long as the touchdown machine that is Peyton Manning is in Denver, the Broncos will be the favorites in the AFC West. The division that was one of the weakest in the league, had three playoff representatives in 2014. The Broncos eliminated San Diego in the divisional round on their way to the Super Bowl. The Broncos received a 12th man sized beat down from the Seattle Seahawks losing 43-8. The Chiefs playoff loss was almost as embarrassing, as the Colts overcame a 28 point deficit and beat them. Despite their playoff failures, three playoff teams makes an impressive division. Will the division look so favorably in 2014?

The Broncos will be fine. They did lose some key players like Erick Decker and Knowshon Mareno, But Cody Latimer was drafted to fill Decker’s role. Losing Wesley Woodyard and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a bit of a blow. The Broncos however invested heavily in the defense signing Demarcus Ware, TJ Ward and Aqib Talib. With more star power on the defense & Peyton Manning under center the Broncos will once again be contenders.

The biggest threat to Denver would be the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers went 9-7 last season but came alive in the second half of the season. With an impressive playoff win in Cincinnati, they proved they were building something under new coach, Mike McCoy.

Phillip Rivers seemed revived in 2013. The Chargers had a great draft, filling needs. The defense found a starting cornerback in Jason Verrett and a pass rusher in Jeremiah Attaoucho. Things seem to be pointing up in San Diego but they have to get past the Broncos. Only time will tell if they took enough steps to do so.

Kansas City is an interesting team. Last season, under new head coach Andy Reid they got off to a 9-0 start. They finished 2013 with an 11-5 record losing 5 of their last seven games. Many people bashed me for not buying into the Chiefs hot start. I simply was not impressed because they had a powderpuff schedule. The tough games against Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis were all after their week 10 bye week. They lost these tough games.

This however is a season preview, not a recap of the previous year. The Chiefs have failed to improve themselves dramatically this offseason. They signed a handful of serviceable free agents but made no big splash. They had a rather mediocre draft. Dee Ford is a good outside linebacker, but he is more of a future oriented pick. The Chiefs failed to get a receiver opposite of Dwayne Bowe. Kansas City is essentially what they were last season: a decent team that may bully lesser competition but does not get a seat at the big boy table. I see the Chiefs taking a slight step backwards in 2014. I don’t think this is a playoff team.

The Oakland Raiders will be an interesting team to watch. They drafted Derrick Carr to be their franchise quarterback. With a looks shot Matt Schuab in Oakland, we may get to see Carr a lot in his rookie season. James Jones was a big signing for Oakland, as they stole one of Aaron Rodgers favorite receivers. The Raiders defense should be improved with notable free agent signings in Lamar Woodley and Justin Tuck. Khalil Mack should be an instant difference maker in his rookie season at outside linebacker. Oakland is headed in the right direction, a sentence I never expected to type. They will be competitive, but its hard to see them making real noise.

Draft Grades AFC West

-Chris Schisler

Denver Broncos: A-

In round one Denver selected Bradley Robey, the cornerback from Ohio State. Robey is a boom or bust player; it seems life the perfect fit under Jack Del Rio’s defensive tutelage. In round two Peyton Manning got another weapon; the Broncos drafted Cody Latimer a budding star wide receiver. The Broncos drafted entirely for need. The only suspect pick would be offensive tackle Michael Schofield, but it is by no means a tragic error. Lamin Barrow in the fourth round is a linebacker that really impressed me as I watched the LSU Tigers. He is a big bruising backer who takes good pursuit angles to the football. Denver impressed me in this draft. Where some teams made decisions that just made me angry, the Broncos just had some preference differences. I respect the work John Elway and company did.

San Diego Chargers: A+

The Chargers struck lightning in this draft. Getting Jason Verrett, the corner from TCU was a great value at 25. The Chargers drafted one of my favorite prospects in the second round, in Jeremiah Attaoucho. Attaoucho is a fierce linebacker who plays with such an instinctive football quickness. His on the field pursuit of the quarterback and ball carriers is quicker than his measurables suggest. I thought San Diego found a couple of diamonds in the rough, drafting Marion Grice (RB ASU) and Tevin Reese (WR Baylor) in the 6th and 7th rounds.

Kansas City Chiefs: B-

The Chiefs drafted outside linebacker Dee Ford with the 23rd overall selection. This was a great pick for the future as it will be hard financially to keep both of their pass rushers. Aaron Murray in the 5th round was an absolute steal. Give him a year or two to develop, and I think he will dazzle.
None of their other picks excite me, yet they did a decent job.

Oakland Raiders: B

I really like the draft that the Raiders had. If I had a different view of their second round QB, Derrick Carr, I would probably love it. Khalil Mack is a top 5 talent. I really like the guard they drafted; Gabe Jackson is a big physical run blocker. Keith McGill is a perfect value where they got him in the fourth round.

Halftime Adjustments: San Diego Chargers

Halftime Adjustments: San Diego Chargers

-Chris Schisler

The first half of the divisional playoff game against the Broncos and the Chargers went the Broncos way. The San Diego Chargers simply got their butts kicked. They had drive killing sacks plague the offense while Peyton Manning picked apart the defense. There was a glimmer of positive for the Chargers as the first half ended with an interception that prevented Denver from going into the half with a 3 score lead. The Chargers need to make some serious changes if they are going to comeback.

Here is the Chargers biggest problem area: Third Down Passing

2 of the 3 sacks Phillip Rivers has endured were coverage sacks. There was nobody open and Rivers had nowhere to deliver the mail. The offensive line has not played as poorly as the statistic of 3 first half sacks may suggest.

The Chargers need to be able to beat man coverage on third down. The Broncos are essentially glued to their receivers. The Chargers need to have creativity in opening receivers up. Routes with double moves like a sluggo or an out and up would be a nice touch mixed in with a heavy dose of crossing routes. Keenan Allen has got to make an impact in this game if the Chargers are going to win this game. The pass protection has not been bad. Receivers are not getting open.Yes the Broncos are bringing pressure on third down but Rivers has time to make them pay for this if receivers can just get open. The running backs need to be a factor in the pass game, create mismatches with them on linebackers.

Playoff Preview: Potential Shocker (Pun Intended)

The San Diego Chargers will play the Denver Broncos for a third time this season; this time there is a trip to the AFC Championship game on the line. Denver just like last year is the number 1 seed in the AFC. The situation is familiar but Broncos fans are hoping for a better result.

These teams are division foes and as such they are familiar with each other. To add to this storyline, the Chargers head coach, Mike McCoy was the Broncos offensive coordinator a year ago. It seems that the media overplays the importance of this; but it is a factor in both team’s preparation.

Their two meetings in the regular season resulted in a split. The Broncos won the first match up, the Chargers the second. In the first game the Chargers moved the ball well but failed to score touchdowns in the red zone. Denver won the game 28-20. In the second meeting the Chargers offense finished drives with touchdowns. Rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen was a big factor in this as he caught two touchdown passes.

The Chargers are a matchup nightmare for the Denver Broncos. The Chargers offense has found great production from their run game. They will look to out physical a beatable Broncos defense. This will set up big plays for Keenan Allen, the speedy Eddie Royal and the veteran tight end Antonio Gates.

They can methodically move down the field. Long drives are crucial against the Broncos because you limit your opportunities of Peyton Manning to shred your defense up. This also helps your defense rest as Denver’s high tempo offense is tough to keep up with in the elevated altitude.

Defensively the Chargers can create pressure without sending a bevy of blitzes. This allows them flexibility to better cover Peyton’s many deadly weapons.

The Broncos have all the pressure on them. The Chargers are this years “team of destiny” it seems as it is a miracle that they even made the playoffs. Denver expects a championship from the most explosive scoring offense in the history of football. The pressure is solely on the Broncos.

I tend to bet against Peyton Manning in the playoffs. It is hard not to. He is 9-11 in playoff games. While he was a Super Bowl MVP it is only because Rex Grossman played worse in a very sloppy game.

He also threw an interception that killed the Colts in his second Super Bowl against the Saints. Every year I hear how unbeatable Peyton Manning. Every year but one it was just hype surrounding a great quarterback. Peyton is masterful in the regular season but this does not always translate to the playoffs. I may be In the minority but that just makes it hard for me to bet on Denver.

The San Diego Chargers can beat the Broncos. They did it before. It makes sense and it’s also what my gut tells me.

Chargers vs Bengals: Wild Card Recap

Chargers vs Bengals: Wild Card Recap

Chris Schisler

dalton sucks

The San Diego Chargers should be grateful they are in the AFC and they do not have to travel to Green Bay. Instead they went into Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati for a wild card clash with the Bengals. The game was cold but it was nothing compared to the night game.

The Bengals defense sent a statement on the very first drive of the game. On a 3rd & 5 safety Chris Crocker came off the edge untouched to sack Phillip Rivers. The “Who Dey” yelling crowd was into it early and the pass protection error forced the Chargers to punt.

The Bengals opening drive had promise but they had to punt after a couple of first downs. That is when the San Diego offense came alive. The biggest component of their 86 yard touchdown drive was the production from the running backs. At this point in the game the Chargers were averaging 4.8 yards a carry. When Danny Woodhead gave the shaken up Ryan Matthews some plays of relief he was equally productive as the starter. Ronnie Brown even had an 11 yard rush.

Other than the one error in pass protection the Chargers offensive line was superb. They pushed the Bengals off the line and they were able to get to the second level of the defense for some big runs. They also were protecting Rivers well. On their initial scoring drive Rivers had the time to bounce step into the pocket and fire a bullet into the hands of the well covered tight end Ladarius Green for a 22 yard completion.

Andy Dalton struggled with accuracy in the beginning of the game. He had a few passes sail over his receivers’ heads. The Bengals second drive stalled when Dalton failed to connect on a 3rd & 1 pass into the flats. Former Raven Jarrett Johnson was there but there was no chance of him defending an accurate pass. Johnson’s presence in the flat was enough to scare Dalton into a poor throw. The positive that did come from this Bengals possession was flipping the field position. The Chargers were pinned inside their 10 yard line and were held to a three and out.

The Bengals were given great field position and they took advantage of it by marching to the red zone and scoring a Jermaine Gresham touchdown pass from Dalton. The Chargers were not the only team running the ball well. Giovanni Bernard rushed for 4.2 yards per carry while Benjarvis Green Ellis and Andy Dalton both averaged 4.5. Giovanni Bernard, the rookie running back from UNC, touched the ball on 5 of the last 7 plays on the scoring drive. This included a check down reception that Bernard took for 20 yards.

The Chargers next drive resulted in a three and out. On third down some controversy arose over the spot as Rivers, who was in an empty backfield was forced to run for the first down. He dove inches short and bounced past the marker but he was down by contact where he landed. It was the correct spot by the officials. Then on the Bengals next drive, Chargers head coach Mike McCoy challenged a Bengals reception by the sideline. It was a bad challenge and therefore it cost San Diego a time out. Then Marvin Jones caught a 49 yard reception that put the Cincinnati in the red zone. This was a wasted trip however as Giovanni Bernard caught a pass and fumbled on the 5 yard line. The play was highly controversial and the review was lengthy. It looked like Bernard did gain possession before fumbling and took two strides before fumbling. The play stood and the Chargers got the ball at the 11 yard line.

The Chargers went three and out giving Cincinnati just over a minute to try to score. An interesting decision by Mike McCoy was to run the ball on 3rd & long instead of going for the first down. Andy Dalton fired several inaccurate passes that his receivers jumped up to get. He made Jermaine Gresham leap high to grab a ball at the 26 yard line. The play had a lengthy review and it was ruled a catch. This is the long story short version of this sequence that ended up putting the Bengals ahead 10-7.

The first half was as completive and as physical as they come. Both teams were playing well and they knew exactly what they wanted to do. The most compelling thing about the first half was that both teams had very similar strategies. Both teams used their running games to set up manageable third downs and big passes down the field. Neither quarterback was playing phenomenal football but both were playing well enough.

The Bengals got the ball first to start the second half but it was the San Diego Chargers were the first team to score. The Chargers struck gold on a play action pass to Eddie Royal that went for 33 yards. A couple of plays later Rivers hit Ladarius Green for a 4 yard touchdown pass. The Chargers would quickly get the ball back into scoring range when Andy Dalton fumbled as diving for a first down. The Chargers however could only manage to get a Nick Novak field goal. With 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter the Chargers had a 7 point lead.

It is hard to imagine a worse 13 minute stretch for the Cincinnati Bengals. They gave up a long scoring drive; they gave it right back allowing the Chargers to take a 7 point lead. The Bengals needed to go down the field and score. San Diego had scored 10 consecutive points and had all the momentum. That is when Andy Dalton made the mistake that broke the Bengals back. The Chargers overloaded the right side with a blitz, Dalton forced a throw, Chargers corner Shareece Wright picked off the poorly thrown ball. The Chargers got the ball at the 4 yard line. That was easily the worst quarter in the Bengals season. The Chargers played well but the Bengals made mistake after mistake including a personal foul for unnecessary roughness on James Harrison.

Going into the fourth quarter the Chargers had firm control of the game and a chance to put the Bengals in a 14 point hole. The best case scenario entering the final quarter would be holding the Chargers to a field goal. A great play by Ray Maualuga stopped the Chargers third down play in the backfield; and the Bengals made the best out of a bad situation. Still they trailed by 10 and San Diego had scored on their last three possessions.

Things would only get worse for the Cincinnati Bengals. Andy Dalton threw another interception. It was his second costly interception and his 6th interception in three career playoff games. The moment seemed too big for Dalton as it often does. The Chargers would not take advantage of the turnover with points but they did take valuable time away from the trailing Bengals.

With 8 minutes to go in the game Dalton had to go back out on the field for some redemption. His home crowd could not have been sitting with much confidence in the rainy slop the sky had provided. The clock was becoming the enemy of the Bengals and the biggest weapon for the Chargers.

In a game of wasted opportunities the Bengals dropped their biggest chance. Dalton threw a beautiful dime to AJ Green that would have put the ball inside the 5 yard line. Green saw the ball slip right through his hands. Dalton was bailed out of a bad throw on a 3rd and 7 with a defensive holding penalty. The drive continued but it was taking way too much time. The Chargers were playing conservative defense understanding that the Bengals needed big chunks of yards quickly.

The Bengals last breath of playoff life was taken when they failed to convert on third and long. Andy Dalton threw a deep bomb that was dramatically over thrown. On a day where Dalton showed spotty decision making and even shakier accuracy the game essentially ended on a horrible throw by Dalton.

The Bengals made too many mistakes to win a playoff game and the Chargers took advantage of just about every Bengals mistake. The Chargers were able to contain AJ Green, they gave Dalton fits and were able to turn turnovers into points. Credit the Chargers but know they got help from their opponent.

Stay Classy San Diego.