San Diego Chargers 2010: Seven Things The Bolts Must Improve in Week 2
The San Diego Chargers' season opener was a big disappointment for both the team and their fans. In a game in which most people expected the Chargers to dominate the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego managed to completely fall apart in the face of bad weather and mid-game pressure.
Week Two is a short week for the San Diego Chargers. After playing the late game on Monday Night Football, the Chargers face the Jacksonville Jaguar on Sunday afternoon.
If the San Diego Chargers want to have any chance at avoiding another slow starting season, here are some things that they must improve before they face the Jaguars.
1. Fix The Communication Issues
There were a lot of factors that played into the mental breakdown of the San Diego Chargers in the middle of the game against Kansas City.
One of the most notable ones was the complete inability to communicate properly.
Philip Rivers and Nick Hardwick seemed completely out of sync, leading to a few delay of game penalties. The Chargers seemed to have trouble setting up plays and executing pre-snap operations.
Some of this could be attributed to the crowd noise. However, the simple fact is that these things are basic parts of properly running an offense.
If the San Diego Chargers cannot fix the apparent lack of communication, they could find themselves having trouble for the rest of the season.
2. Learn to Take Care Of Business in Poor Weather
There is no doubt that bad weather changes games, and players are allowed some leeway in these kinds of conditions.
However, no team should collapse like the Chargers did on Monday night. These players are professional athletes, and they are getting paid a lot of money to play football. There is no reason why rain should cause them to completely fall apart.
I would suggest that the San Diego Chargers try something that the Denver Broncos did in the preseason: Line up the players in front of a mud pit, toss them a ball, and have them run through it while being sprayed with hoses.
Ball security and footing were two of the biggest reasons why the Chargers lost Monday, and this won't be the last game they play in inclement weather.
3. Bring Back The Versatility on Offense
I have to question the decision making of the last few plays of the game, something every San Diego Chargers fan has been doing since the end of the game.
Why would the Chargers throw the ball three times and run it only once? And why would they choose a delayed hand off from the shotgun formation as that one run play? And why would they use Darren Sproles on the goal line?
Mike Tolbert took two hand offs on Monday night, and racked up 26 yards on those carries. Why would the San Diego Chargers ignore this fantastic power runner when they have six yards left to the goal line with the game on the line?
Mike Tolbert should have been given the chance to do what he does best: power run the ball up the middle.
Instead, the San Diego Chargers ignored the versatile player(s) on their roster when they needed them most, which seems to defy the reasoning behind keeping only 21 players on offense.
4. Capitalize on The Defense
If there was one bright spot of the San Diego Chargers' performance on Monday night, it was the defense.
Yes, they gave up a 56 yard rush for a touchdown. That was the product of both the weather and a great misdirection play by the Kansas City Chiefs. However, outside of that play, the Chiefs had 9 first downs, were 1 for 11 on first downs, and 141 yards of total offense.
The San Diego Chargers have their defense figured out, but the offense couldn't seem to capitalize on that performance Monday.
Defensive performances don't get much better than that, yet the Chargers' offense failed to take advantage of those opportunities.
Expect the San Diego Chargers to have another impressive defensive showing against Jacksonville on Sunday. It'll be up to the offense to figure out how to win the game.
5. Turn Defensive Pressure into Turnovers
The Chargers put together a great defensive showing Monday night against the Chiefs.
That having been said, take a closer look at the numbers. While they were held to less than 200 yards of total offense, the Chargers only managed to sack Matt Cassel once, and they failed to force a single turnover.
Turnovers are huge momentum changers, and they can provide offenses with great field position. The Chargers need to do a better job forcing turnovers on defense, or they may find themselves struggling late season on defense and offense.
6. Tighten Up Offensive Line Play
I can speak for everyone when I say that no one has ever seen Philip Rivers as angry as he was on Monday night, and he had perfect reasons to be.
One of the biggest reasons for this frustration was a poor performance by the offensive line.
After a well played first quarter, the San Diego Chargers' offensive line fell apart. They weren't getting out of their stances well enough, and they were playing very soft.
They also allowed a sack and let Philip Rivers fumble the ball. Twice. That is not a good performance.
The offensive line has to go back to playing smash mouth football, and they have to figure out their apparent communication issues.
7. Team Performance
I know this is a very vague statement, but allow me to clarify.
It isn't enough for the San Diego Chargers to win on Sunday. It has to be convincing
The Chargers have to prove to themselves and to everyone else that they are better than their performance on Monday night.
This means that the offense needs to tighten up.
The defense needs to force turnovers.
The play calling has to improve.
The San Diego Chargers have to come out on Sunday and show everyone that they are the Super Bowl contenders everyone expected them to be.