One this is for sure, as the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs prepare to play each other with their playoff hopes on the line: Whichever teams comes up with the more innovative, and effective, gameplan will probably be playing again next week. How can Mike McCoy make sure that he's the successful one in this matchup?
The key to this game will be Chase Daniel, filling in for the injured Alex Smith, going up against Eric Weddle. Here is a listed of things that Weddle does well, ordered by which ones he does best.
- Deep (center field) zone coverage
- Blitzing the QB
- Zone coverage vs. slot WRs
- Zone coverage vs. TEs
- Man coverage vs TEs
You'd be hard-pressed to find a bigger Weddle fan than me, but I've been annoyed at how he's been used lately, spending most of his time in man coverage up against Rob Gronkowski and Julius Thomas. The Kansas City Chiefs have a very good pass-catching TE of their own in Travis Kelce, and they'll likely be expecting Weddle to be matched up against him for this game. Innovation comes when you do something the other team doesn't expect at all.
Chase Daniel, as an inexperienced backup QB, will not be ready to beat the Chargers if he gets a lot of pressure put on him by the pass rush. Using Weddle regularly as a blitzer will ensure that this happens. With Manti Te'o, Marcus Gilchrist, and Jahleel Addae, there are more than enough players on San Diego's defense to stay with a TE for a second or two before the pressure gets to Daniel.
Because the Chiefs don't have much in the way of a deep threat, or any real WRs, and their offensive line is a train wreck... I think the most innovative thing that John Pagano and the San Diego Chargers can do is use Eric Weddle almost as if he's an extra OLB, blitzing him regularly and forcing Chase Daniel to make quick decisions while under pressure.