1 Being Able To Copy And Paste From 2015 Columns Of This Type
During the offseason, I suspected that the team would not improve much in 2016 because they had retained too much of the coaching staff. I have not yet seen anything in pre-season or yesterday that would point to my opinion being in error.
Got a team that 4-12 last season that needs to improve to have any shot at a favorable vote on a new SD home in November? Ah, go ahead and take off a day early from OTA's just like last year, guys! You've earned it! Business as .333 winning percentage usual is just fine with us!
Starting out the second half the Bolts marched down to the KC 43, got stuffed on a 3rd and 1 and instead of putting in a power package and either imposing your will or getting creative (like you know, like a counter or quick hand-off to the fullback you drafted), McCoy predictably and in typical defiance of analytics did not go for it. As has been the case since 2013, when offered a chance to break the will of opponent, McCoy agreeably (and incompetently) declined.
I mentioned to the other writers during the game that some form of virus or other infectious agent seems to have been left behind in the offensive coordinator's office at Charger Park. The fascinating thing about this team is that with a lead, it does just the opposite of what a well coached team would do. Well coached teams do what they did to get the lead or run variations of successful plays to confuse a defense and drive a stake through the heart of its opponent. The opposite happens with this crew; they seem to have 3 basic plays for the 2nd half, which all come in the same sequence. The reappearance of the 2015 offense, with a healthy and intact offensive line was particularly awful.
2 Linebackers That Still Can't Cover or Tackle
21 receptions on 23 targets for 244 yards. That is the combined receiving line for Travis Kelce Demetrious Harris, Spencer Ware, and Charcandrick West. Considering that these are RB's and TE's for the Chiefs, the 10.1 yards per ATTEMPT is otherworldly. Put simply, if the Chiefs needed a first down, they threw it to Spencer Ware or any of the others in the flat and there it was...
Kyle Emanuel was humiliated twice attempting to cover Ware and Kelce. The only Charger LB to record a pass defended was Jatavis Brown, who should probably be seeing more of the field, as he seems to have speed (unlike Emanuel) and an understanding of pursuit angles (unlike Te'o). One pass defended on 23 attempts for the Bolt LB and safety group is simply unacceptable. I figure that Blake Bortles, Chris Ivory, TJ Yeldon, our old buddy Julius Thomas, and Marcedes Lewis will start slobbering as they look at the film this week to prepare a game plan for the Bolts.
3 The Incredible Disappearing First Round Draft Pick
And then there was, as happened a couple of times last season, the peculiar case of the (mis)use of Melvin Gordon. I think it is a reasonable expectation that if you spend 3 draft choices to acquire a big gun back RB, that every now and then, he be given the opportunity to do something that big gun RB's are expected to do, which is close out a game. Gordon finished the game with 14 rushes for 57 yards and two scores. 6 of those runs happened in the second half for 18 yards. He was not targeted once on a pass play. And as I noted before, the running game got more and more 2015-ish as the game wore on.
I would like to see what Melvin Gordon could do. I will not and neither will anyone else while we have the same coaching staff and a serviceable Danny Woodhead on the roster. Danny, I love ya, but I love ya when you are running a wheel or Texas route on 3rd down. I am starting to not like you when you are forced to cross dress as an all-purpose back by people cross dressing as coaches. The coaching staff has developed an unhealthy obsession with Woodhead and the team's record since this obsession developed at the beginning of 2015 is now 4-13.
Here's a free idea from a rank amateur; use Woodhead as an H-Back/slot receiver when in 11 formation. If you motion him properly, you can either hand off or pitch to him or get him some additional space as a receiver. If both Woodhead or Gordon are on the field at the same time, the defense may guess wrong about what you are doing from time to time. While you're at it, throw the ball to Gordon every now and then - he can actually catch passes, I have seen it with my own two eyes.