Well, I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting out of last night's game against the Seattle Seahawks, but I'm more pleasantly surprised than anything. Before I get into any analysis, let me preface this by saying I originally watched the game at a sports bar and only got to rewatch (with the benefit of pausing and rewinding) the first quarter and a half at home before I went to sleep.
I think the most pleasant surprise was how competent the first string offensive line looked. No matter how many experts tell us that King Dunlap can't start at left tackle, I can't shake the feeling that I'm watching a pretty decent football player. Maybe it was the year spent watching Michael Harris getting run over, but I think that Dunlap can do a good enough job particularly in Ken Whisenhunt's offense. Other newcomer Chad Rinehart (why do I want to call him Steve? What is that?) looked better than I anticipated. His ability to pull (unlike his predecessor), in particular, stood out to me.
The right side of the line looked fine in pass protection and actually pretty stout run blocking. When D.J. Fluker and Jeromey Clary double team a defender he's moving backwards in a hurry. It was also nice to see Fluker getting help in pass protection. He still looks like a rookie, but that probably has something to do with this being his first game as a professional.
Ryan Mathews looked like a different player. He was more decisive and kept his pad level low. I think he has a real chance to break out this year. Remember this so you can throw it in my face when he inevitably sucks just to spite me. Regardless what else happens, that nine yard gain on 4th & inches was a thing of beauty.
I think we're all in love with Keenan Allen now. Right? He gets off the line quickly, he runs fluid routes, he attacks the football and he's faster than I thought he was.
Eddie Royal looked good, but I don't buy it. Robert Meachem is terrible. That's not entirely fair because he's played well in the past and is theoretically still physically capable, but he's terrible, and that's all there is to it. Charlie Whitehurst may very well be awful, but that first interception was on Meachem not coming back to the ball. Maybe he missed that part of high school football.
Philip Rivers is still late. Yes, his numbers were good, but he was late, and he just happened to get away with it. He's still the best quarterback on the team by a long way, but he needs to get the timing down or it will cost them games.
Shareece Wright is a player. I'm convinced he's going to have a good year. Derek Cox mostly looks okay, but face guarding isn't good enough. He needs to get his head around, and he should be ashamed that he even considered celebrating after that incomplete pass.
The front seven looks pretty solid. Larry English is always at his best when it doesn't count. I love the starting defensive line. Dwight Freeney looks like he might still be Dwight Freeney, and that's exciting. I'm glad Russell Wilsion is in the other conference, though.
Manti Te'o bit on a play fake. He may have also been on the field for other plays.
The best safety in the NFL, Eric Weddle, reminded us why he's the best. Darrell Stuckey gave us a glimpse into why he hasn't been able to get onto the field as a defensive player. I hope Marcus Gilchrist gets healthy soon.
The 2nd team punt coverage was laughably bad, and Richard Goodman is still tough to watch when returning kicks.
I'm tired of watching Charlie Whitehurst play football, and I hope Brad Sorensen gets some snaps against the 2s next week. He seems to have the best grasp of the offense out of the bunch, and I have to imagine it'd be helpful to see him against better competition.
I'd comment on the 2nd team offensive line, but I'm busy trying to forget.
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