Looking ahead to Monday night, when the Broncos take on the Chargers in San Diego, reveals a very interesting matchup. A couple of years ago, if someone would've told me the Chargers will be struggling to run the ball I would've laughed in their face and called them an idiot—but that's exactly what is happening.
The Chargers have an aging offensive line to go along with their declining star running back LT. Hampered by nagging injuries and age, LT is but a shell of his former self/ While I will point out he can still be productive, he needs a stellar line to make him more effective. In the past, LT could've made even the weakest offensive lines look good.
This will present a problem for the Chargers this Monday night. With a veteran defensive backfield and the league's top pass rush, the Broncos will challenge the one-dimensional Chargers, who like the to drop back with five and seven-step drops.
The Chargers are coming off a bye week, so they had extra time to prepare for this matchup. And while they do boast an amazing passing attack, when your offense is that one-dimensional the advantage is definitely with the defense.
The Chargers' problems do not end with the running game. In fact, their biggest issue lies in their porous defense. The run defense is has been heavily affected by the lack of production from Merriman and Phillips, but it's the absence of Jamal Williams and the lack of depth behind him that is hitting them the hardest.
The passing defense is a little better than last year's, but the continued regression of CB Cromartie and the complete ineptitude of their safety play are worrisome. Added to the lack of a dominant pass rush, the defense as a whole leaves much to be desired.
As said before, the Chargers do have weapons on the edges in the form of Jackson and Gates, but the lack of a running game is troubling, to say the least. LT is showing his age and then some, the offensive line is once again regressing, and Sproles is not an every-down back.
Sproles is more of a change of pace back, and even then he is not a true running back—he is better as a receiver out of the backfield. The Broncos' run defense has been anything but porous and should be able to handle the Chargers' running game with ease.
The Broncos should be able to go into San Diego and dominate Chargers and improve to a 6-0 record before heading to their bye week.