This new season brought many significant people into the Chargers organization. New Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky. Bob Sanders. Takeo Spikes, as well as Donald Butler getting to start, and first rounder Corey Liuget. So how did the defense do? Let's dive straight into this. First, let's look at a few basic numbers:
|First downs allowed||10|
|Net rushing yards allowed||159|
|Net passing yards allowed||28|
|Total net yards||187|
|Third downs allowed (of 11)||4|
Here's how everyone graded at the end of the game:
The 5 highlighted plays seen in the analysis are all significant. Orz has the clips turned into one great minute of football. Observe the plays, realize their importance, and share your thoughts in the comments.
Play #1: A tribute to Luis Castillo's importance. Observe the lower part of the video.
Plays #2-4: These are back to back to back plays. Just before McNabb throws, look at his feet. That linemen was thrown down there by Vaughn Martin. Next play, again in the middle of the hashmarks, watch Castillo do the same thing to another linemen. Next play, middle of the hashmarks again, right at the line of scrimmage, observe Takeo Spikes being awesome attacking the run.
Play #5: Before the snap, try and locate Eric Weddle in the formation. As soon as the camera pans left with the pass, Weddle is on his way to stop the play. That's our $40 million man, boltfans.
Adrian Peterson was expecting to rush for 200 yards on the way to victory. He actually had 100, but a 2 yard loss knocked him down to 98, where he finished. Greg Manusky made great 2nd quarter adjustments, and 2nd half adjustments as well. Not all was gold, however. A few plays shows that certain players have to improve and step up if they want to remain on the team. There are also players who look like they belong in the pro bowl. Let's dig into this...
First, the new players, safety Bob Sanders and linebackers Takeo Spikes and Travis LaBoy. My favorite of these 3 is Spikes. The 49er faithful can't be happy Spikes is gone. The man is a beast. Despite being a veteran, he still has enough speed to cover well. He attacks the ball carrier and crashes into linemen with an eagerness I haven't seen since Junior. He hits hard and his fundamentals are solid. He takes good angles and knows how to read the play in front of him. I'm excited having him on the team. Second is Sanders. The guy plays like Weddle, if you took away a little coverage ability for physicality. However, he too often leaves his feet wanting to launch into a tackle instead of wrapping up, which is a concern. Also, he's only average in coverage, but I went into that in my scouting report of him. LaBoy is good. He seems to take some plays off a little, but when he has responsibility in a play, he plays hard, and is a good complement to Phillips. He might be able to hold Larry English at the #2 spot.
What about Corey Liuget and Donald Butler? I like them a lot. Apparently, so does Manusky. Enough to have Butler lined up behind Liuget, instead of offsetting the rookie with veteran Takeo Spikes, who plays behind Castillo. Butler is very good in coverage, and plays very smart. Very. Smart. Either Spikes is mentoring him to perfection, or AJ Smith knew exactly what he was doing when he drafted him. I would like to see a bit more hustle out of him though, as he doesn't always play to the whistle. Liuget is solid and I think he will be a very good DE for this team. He just needs experience. His fundamentals are good and his physical ability is surprising. Quick, agile, strong, and smart, just like Castillo. I have my doubts about Cam Thomas (you with me Buck?). He's not necessarily a slouch, he does follow the play and give a lot of effort, it's that he can't play nose tackle just yet. The guy can't take on double teams. If he's one on one with somebody, great. He can push them into the pocket and really be productive. But he needs to take lessons from Castillo and Garay on how to deal with doubles. If he can learn that, he'll keep his job at NT. I need more time to get a good read on Gilchrist, but he wasn't tested much(so far so good?).
This was a dominating performance on defense this past Sunday. The defense allowed just 10 points, and just 43 plays at 4.35 yards per play. Looking ahead to next week, the Chargers travel to Foxboro. Last year, Brady threw for only 160 yards, and McNabb just 39 this game. After his performance on Monday night, will Brady shred the Charger Secondary? Big thanks to Orz for making the video.