I can't stress enough how terrified I am of Hue Jackson. I mean, not personally. I'm not a racist. However, I am terrified that he knows how to beat the San Diego Chargers, and I also think he might be an unstoppable genius.
For a quick refresher, Hue Jackson is the former Offensive Coordinator and Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders.
As the team's Offensive Coordinator, for one season, Hue Jackson's Raiders club went 2-0 against the Chargers and it wasn't particularly close. The final scores were 35-27 and 28-13. It didn't even matter that Jason Campbell threw 16 passes in the first game and 18 passes in the second, the Raiders scored and won.
As the team's Head Coach, again for one season, it was more of the same. In what I believe was Carson Palmer's first game with Oakland, the Raiders won 24-17. In the last game of the season, the Chargers finally conquered Hue....by scoring 38 points (and, in an odd side note, they did it with Curtis Brinkley and Mike Tolbert as their only running backs). It's a good thing too, because they would've finished 7-9 (and the Raiders 9-7) if they hadn't.
Then, Hue got fired. He's been kicking around with the Bengals coaching staff ever since, filling in where they need some good coaching, but he didn't take over the offense until last season when Jay Gruden left for D.C.
That is to say, this is the first time the Chargers are facing Hue Jackson the play-caller since his days with the Raiders. That's terrifying. If anyone knows how to beat the Chargers, it's that guy.
We saw what Ameer Abdullah did to the Chargers last week, and the Bengals are a much better running team.
Jeremy Hill provides the power, running for 63 yards and 2 TDs last week, while Gio Bernard provides the speed and the home run threat (his 7.9 yards per rush last week is not out of the norm for him).
If the Chargers have a weakness in their defense, it's right up the middle. They don't have much besides Corey Liuget on the defensive line, Donald Butler still looks a little confused (but better), and Manti Te'o can't tackle. In short, the run defense may be a problem all year.
The Chargers will probably hope to build enough of a lead to force the Bengals to abandon the run, but that seems like a foolish gameplan to stop the run.
Offensive Line Woes
This needs to be written in plain text in case it has not yet been made aware to you: Against a very good defensive line on Sunday, the San Diego Chargers are starting at Right Guard a man named Chris Hairston.
Chris Hairston has not played guard. Not in the pros, not in college, probably not in high school either. He's not a guard. He's a tackle that they're hoping can play guard at an elite level against an elite defensive line. That'd be fine if he had Nick Hardwick next to him at center, but he doesn't.
This is....big. It's a big deal. I've been ignoring it because I don't want to believe it's happening, but it is. It's like something out of a movie....
Scott Hatteberg Chris Hairston: [Responding to being asked to play first base right guard for the Oakland A's San Diego Chargers] I've only ever played catcher tackle. Billy Beane Mike McCoy: It's not that hard, Scott Chris. Tell him, Wash Joe. Ron Washington Joe D'Alessandris: It's incredibly hard.
Seriously, though, the Chargers offensive line didn't look that great in the beginning of Week 1. By my count, they still have two big weaknesses in there, and they're going against a team that likes to get after the opposing QB. Philip Rivers may be spending a bit of his Sunday afternoon on his (possibly still not 100%) back, which is bad news for Chargers fans.