Preseason records are meaningless, you know this already.What isn't meaningless is how it appears that the Chargers took a few steps back on the offensive side of the ball and special teams. Defensively though, the unit continues to impress and looks to be the only thing the Chargers can truly lean on.
Here are some brief offensive notes I took from Thursday night's contest in the Windy City:
- Truth be told, Chargers QB Philip Rivers is regressing. Every positive play made by the quarterback was followed up with two or three negative plays. Philip Rivers is still craving the 15 yard pass, still sticking to his first read too long and it's becoming increasingly harder to watch him operate the new offense.
Example: The Bears still run a Tampa 2 defense. It smothers the deep middle. Yet, instead of hitting Eddie Royal (who was 1 on 1 with a LB) who flashed in his face on the crossing route, Philip tried to fit the ball into Antonio Gates who ran a deep curl. Gates was not open at all. Is the pass to Royal a guaranteed first? No. If you see the replay though, he had a lot of room to run and I'd rather him take that risk than trying to force it.
- Tempo. Tempo. Tempo. Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and Head Coach Mike McCoy gave the fans a glimpse of the pace they'd like to play at once everyone is acclimated to the offense. Numerous times you saw the Chargers get to the line of scrimmage after a short gain and run Inside Zone (ZBS) and stretch plays (Also, ZBS) to attempt to offset the Bears' one gap pass rushers. Creating Headaches.
- Ryan Mathews is running hard and the Zone Blocking is helping him with decision making. I continue to be impressed by him sticking his foot in the ground in a timely fashion, but Ryan still, 'swings' the football in the open field and isn't getting that extra hand on the football when contact arrives. Must get in the habit of this.
- Rookie RT D.J. Fluker is textbook in his run assignments but his pass blocking mechanics are as mediocre as they come. He will need 'Chip' help from the tight ends until he gets his legs under him. The unfortunate ripple effect of that is it exposes King Dunlap to being on an island for longer durations of time. On which plays McCoy and Whisenhunt decide to keep extras in to assist Fluker is something to pay attention to next week in Arizona.
- Why are the Chargers reserving a roster spot for Richard Goodman again?
- The Max Starks experiment has failed and failed miserably. Those who actually wanted Starks to start at left tackle should be ashamed of themselves. We seriously shouldn't see Starks with the first team for a while. He blew his chance.
- Brad Sorensen continues to impress and, while it is against third string players, he is arguably the best player on the field when it's his time. He is the most comfortable in this offense out of the three QBs on the roster. He is poised, he gets off of his first read in a hurry and always takes what the defense gives him regardless of down and distance.
Example: The pass completion to Robert Meachem began by Brad Sorenson getting through his first and second reads in about 1-2 seconds. By the third second, he was planting and already in motion of throwing the deep route. He had a sound base, was well balanced and got the result he needed.
(NOTE: Sorensen also threw a 60 yard pass to end the game to silence any doubts about arm strength)
- I commend RB Fozzy Whitaker for making something out of nothing on the majority of his runs. But overall, I hate every running back on the roster after Ronnie Brown.
What did you happen to notice on the offensive side of the ball Thursday night?