What to Watch For: Chargers Pass Protection

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESS - Presswire

The San Diego Chargers still has an impressive list of playmakers on their offense, and one of the league's greatest offensive minds calling the plays, but it might be all for naught if Philip Rivers doesn't have time to throw the ball.

Three weeks. That might be how long it takes to figure out that Mike Harris cannot adequately replace Jared Gaither.

In Week 1, against the Oakland Raiders, Harris kept Philip Rivers clean and the defense and Special Teams did the rest. The Chargers waltzed on to an easy road victory against a division rival.

In Week 2, against the Tennessee Titans, Harris and Tyronne Green were able to prevent any inside moves from Kamerion Wimbley. Harris spent most of the day pushing Wimbley past Rivers, who stepped up in the pocket a lot and found daylight behind Nick Hardwich and the Chargers Guards.

In Week 3, everything collapsed against a good Atlanta Falcons pass rush. Mike Harris couldn't handle John Abraham, Jeromey Clary couldn't handle Ray Edwards and the interior line struggled to stop the Falcons DTs.

In Week 4, the Chargers are lined up against Tamba Hali (12 sacks last season) and Justin Houston (5.5 sacks last season). "Oh, I guess Houston isn't all that good," you're probably saying. You'd be wrong. That was his rookie season, and he didn't have the benefit of a real offseason workout program or a real training camp. This year, in 3 games, Houston already has 4 sacks. So......maybe be afraid.

Norv Turner needs this victory against the Chiefs. He needs to be able to say, after 4 weeks, that his team is 3-1 overall and 2-0 on the road against divisional opponents. That's the only way to breathe oxygen back into the lungs of the fanbase after that whooping they took from the Falcons. If the Chargers are going to win this game, they're going to need to figure out how to keep Hali and Houston away from Rivers. That means big games are needed from Harris, Clary, and Norv as he sends in Tight Ends to help block.

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