1. Stupid Chargers Fans
Sigh, I was worried that with the first loss this would come and here it is. If you've been following along on twitter or even in some of our comments here at BFTB, you'll notice lots of people are trying to peg this loss on "A.J. Smith's ego" and the team not having Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill and Kassim Osgood. Let's go over this one last time:
- Marcus McNeill - I already wrote this one out. Please read this
- Vincent Jackson - I'll try to make this as brief as possible. VJax wants to be paid as the league's top WR. In 2009, far and away his best season, he ranked 10th in touchdowns, 9th in receiving yards and 30th in receptions. Add in two DUIs and two separate occasions where he ended up in cuffs during the NFL playoffs, along with a 3 game suspension from the NFL, and you could see why the team might be hesitant to make him the highest paid WR in football. Also, it shouldn't be overlooked that in 3 seasons as a starting WR Jackson has caught 60 or more balls only once.
- Kassim Osgood - Kassim wasn't going to stay here. Plain and simple. He wanted to be at least a top 3 WR, and the Chargers knew he wasn't better than Legedu Naanee, Malcom Floyd or Buster Davis. Getting one catch in his first game as a WR doesn't erase the doubts about his acceleration, route-running or hands. Chargers fans have to accept the fact that keeping Osgood was not an option.
2. Special Teams
Plain and simple, it was atrocious. Mike Tolbert, who was a special teams standout last season, was actually in great position to stop the Dexter McCluster run-back....but he slipped on the wet grass and fell over, leaving a big hole for McCluster to run through. Take away the rain and maybe it gets better, but that doesn't mean the Chargers shouldn't work on it. Kick coverage needs to get better. Mike Scifres needs to be sure to not out-kick his coverage. We haven't even gotten a chance to see Nate Kaeding kick, but there's that little bit of fear that it could be a disaster. If I had to put the blame of this game on one singular thing, it would be getting dominated on special teams all game.
3. Darren Sproles
This is part of the reason for #2. Sam mentioned in the open thread last night that Sproles probably got more "Dolts" than anybody else last season, and I think he might be right. For every big play Darren makes, there are about 7 or 8 that are just awful. He dances on punt returns, seems like he's looking for contact on kick returns and offers almost nothing as a runner out of the backfield.
|vs KAN / 9.13.10||Rushing||Receiving|
4. Run Defense
Say what you want about the run defense "besides Charles' 56 yard TD", we said many times last year that a RB's numbers were reflective upon him breaking one or two big plays a game. The biggest difference in the game is that Charles made that one big play, that one big run, and Ryan Mathews fumbled away his chance.
One thing the run defense was actually goo at last season was not giving up the big run, and they're going to need to get back to that. Giving up 8.4 yards per carry to one of the starters is not going to cut it.
|vs SDC / 9.13.10||Rushing||Receiving|
5. Pass Rush
I know Shawne Merriman wasn't there and if we're all optimists we're hoping that he comes back and dominates. However, if he doesn't return and dominate the Chargers might have a real problem on their hands. Matt Cassel, who notoriously holds onto the ball too long and gets sacked regularly, was taken down behind the line of scrimmage only once. Larry English got close only once all game. There were no safety or nickel CB blitzes called. Cassel had all day to throw, and it's part of what led to his handful of good passes.
I know this may be a little too simplistic for our environment here, but Ron Rivera's defense seems very boring. There's no big hits, not a lot of turnovers, no scaring the crap out of the QB. Compared to other 3-4 defenses around the league (Steelers, Ravens, Jets, etc.), the Chargers' D is incredibly vanilla and the zones in coverage can be torn to shreds by an accurate passer that has time to throw. I want more man coverage, more blitzes, more creativity and a look of fear in the eyes of opposing QBs.
|vs SDC / 9.13.10||Passing||Rushing|