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10 Question Mailbag: Jatavis, Run Game Issues, Verrett’s Future & More

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

I threw out a mailbag that I mostly answered on the podcast with Matthew Stanley the other day. I’ll highlight some of those questions in case you didn’t get a chance to listen. Getting a lot of questions about Jatavis Brown, rightfully so. The 2nd year linebacker has been battling injuries but hasn’t really seen the field consistently in months. I received some draft questions, offensive line questions, and more. So I’ll get into it.

@Abanjjsjbba asks:

Rivers only was sacked once but he definitely was under more pressure than you’d like to have seen. Myles Garrett had a couple of those. The young guys inside are still trying to figure out their timing when it comes to picking up stunts. During the 2 minute drive at the end of the half, Melvin Gordon 3 bad reps in pass pro.

As much as Rivers is getting hit, it’s nothing new. Him not going down is what really matters. The Chargers are the 3rd best team in the league at keeping him upright. I don’t think the offensive line will cost the team in pass protection. I imagine we’ll see Gordon as a receiver more as well.

@achernandez17 asks

I get where you’re coming from and like where your heads at but pass. Durability, mainly. Also, I’m not going to invest in a guy that hasn’t played football in a couple years. Hard to say if Bridgewater is the same player. Not to mention he wasn’t exactly lighting it up when he was in. I’d go after “your guy” to backup/replace Rivers. Bridgewater isn’t it.

@Mattyice626 asks

Rivers is in a rhythm. I don’t believe it’s because of a “soft schedule” because he’s still been under pressure. I think the difference this last few weeks is that he’s hanging in the pocket. He’s being patient. He knows he’s going to get hit and he’s delivering strikes. Everything he’s doing in the pocket now he wasn’t doing earlier in the year. It makes a big difference. I also think he looks better because he’s throwing to his top targets consistently and not trying to spread the ball around. Rivers is playing at a high level and credit that to the adjustments he’s made, not the teams he’s played.

@Ferguson1015 asks

First off Glenn, elite question. I don’t think they’ll be up enough to pull a Falcons part 2. A last-minute heartbreaker in the playoffs is too predictable, so let’s get deep and dark and say they miss the playoffs by losing to the Raiders week 17. It’s a win-and-you’re-in scenario. Simple, right? They’re down 1 and the ball is on the left hash with 4 seconds to go in the game. Travis Coons lines up from 42 yards away and doink off the goal post. Chargers lose.

About 4 different people asked about Jatavis.

I reached out to someone in the know because this offseason I gushed about Brown and he was one of my favorite players to watch last year. So I hate not seeming Brown play. Against Cleveland, he only was on the field for 4 snaps. So what gives? My guy said “but AP is getting his snaps right now. Knows the scheme and plays faster. Basically, Addae is Kam Chancellor and Adrian Phillips is KJ Wight the way they are playing schematically right now. Pretty crazy, but they are getting the job done for the most part. Getting Perryman back was big.”

So there you have it. What I think we’re seeing is Gus Bradley understand the significance of having a great pass defense and how much more valuable that is than having a great run defense. Phillips played 81% of the snaps last Sunday. Desmond King played 83%. That’s how often they were in dime defense. That’s crazy. Do I agree with that? No, not at all. I imagine if they do get to the playoffs a team like the Steelers or Patriots will just go hurry up and run it down the Chargers throat. Look at this play as an example, This is what happens when you have a defensive back who is 200 pounds play linebacker.

Also, what happens when you have a guy that’s not used to reading offensive lineman. It’s a tough task. On the flip-side. It makes the defense more versatile. They can blitz more because they trust Phillips can cover more space. An example is the Browns tried to hit Josh Gordon on a deep pass where he usually would have to outrun a linebacker.

Good recognition by Phillips there. Bradley is choosing to make teams be patient and stick to the run. That hasn’t happened yet, so he hasn’t had to pull Phillips.

@Amacaspac2 asks

You could ask 5 different people and get 5 different answers here. I still think Von Miller is king. Even in a down year for Denver, he’s still ridiculously good. I’d go Von-Bosa-Ingram-Mack-Houston this year. PFF has them Von(1), Bosa(3), Mack(4), Ingram(7), Houston(14).

@Jay5mcdonald asks

The answer is no. During Eli’s peak maaaaaybe you could say pocket presence. But that was more obviousness than anything.

@AbdiOmerr asks, along with a couple others

This is an interesting topic to me. I’m aware that there’s an injury clause in picking up his option. That’s a no-brainer to have. At what point do you give up on Verrett? For me, the time is now. I’m flipping him for a pick and moving on. Trevor Williams has played no worse than the 15-20th best corners in the league. A healthy Verrett is a top 5-10 corner. He’s never available, however. Instead of stunting the development of Williams and King, I’m moving on. As for the Chargers, I’m guessing he gets one more chance.

Former BFTB writer Superduperboltman asks

They really do, man. If anything is going to stop the team from getting to where they’re capable of it’s the run blocking. Check this play out.

This sums up the right side of the line pretty well. Joe Barksdale just isn’t cutting it. If it was little league you could take him out on run plays and put him in on pass plays. His effort is dog sh*t on run plays. Wiggins tries his hardest. I really appreciate that. Talent level just isn’t there, though. Pulley is trending the wrong direction. The left side looks good most of the time.

From a coaching standpoint, they ask these guys to make some really tough blocks. Asking Pulley to go get a strong-side linebacker and cut him off. Asking Feeney to cut off a defensive tackle a gap and a half over. I’d limit how much I ask them to move lateral and make them more straightforward. Unfortunately, they’re best when they get to the outside. Gordon’s best run came last week when he ran through a tackle from Danny Shelton. It’s not fair to him or Ekeler but they’re going to have to make guys miss for the running game to be effective.

Another really good question. It’s gotta be Tyrell. Rivers made a hell of a play last week and Williams dropped it. He’s going to have so many 1-on-1 opportunities that he has no choice to take advantage. I liked his usage in the slot last week. Running speed outs and not just verticals. He had one route where he wasn’t targeted but was one of the better routes I’ve seen him run.

He wasn’t standing straight up and down. He was getting in and out of his breaks. That was great. When I say large impact I don’t mean these 10 catch games that Keenan is having. But he’s going to need to be their big play guy. Just a couple catches here and there to stretch the defense. That’ll go a long way in opening up things underneath.