San Diego Chargers: Just Say No to The Pass-First Offense of Last Season

Ian PhilipAnalyst IIIJuly 13, 2010

"Norv Turner is a pass-oriented coach."


“The Chargers are a pass-first team.”


One of my biggest pet peeves is people saying that either Norval Eugene Turner is a pass-first coach or that the San Diego Chargers have become a pass-first team.

Negative. Who was paying attention in NFL history class?

Turner is a run-first coach. Look at the Chargers’ last five regular season games and the three playoff games in 2007.

The Bolts averaged 176 yards per game on the ground and 159 through the air in the last five games of the 2007 regular season.

When they faced stiffer competition that could stuff the run in the 2007 playoffs, they turned to the air attack, passed for 267 yards per game, and ran for 90 yards per game.

Earlier in the season, however, the Chargers could not run the ball at all. They were stuffed at every turn, until LaDainian Tomlinson finally got his legs back in those last five or six games of the season.

Just like in 2007, when the Chargers found out they couldn't run the ball last season, Norv commanded Philip Rivers to chuck it all over the field. This time, however, LT never got his legs under him.

That, like Buddy Ryan (yes, Rex Ryan’s daddy) preached, is not the key to winning against playoff teams and Turner knows it.

So does AJ Smith. That's why Smith wanted to replace the great-but-fading LaDainian Tomlinson in 2009 rather than 2010.

Smith and Turner were not about to lose rookie running back Ryan Mathews like they lost Knowshon Moreno the year before.

If Mathews hits the hole with the type of authority that Turner expects, Rivers will not have a third straight 4000 yard season.

The key to Turner's offense is forcing even a team with a great defense, like the New York Jets, to respect the run.

It makes the offense unpredictable. If a team could not consistently predict if the Chargers were going to run or throw the ball, the Chargers could easily average over thirty points per game simply due to the missed assignments and confusion that would ensue.

The perfect mix for the Chargers offense would be 2400 yards from the rushing attack and another 3500 from the passing attack while maintaining more rushing attempts than passing attempts.

The Chargers did not have the workhorse to do this last season.

If Tomlinson could have made the Jets at least respect the running game in last season‘s playoffs, the Chargers would have had a great chance to score thirty or more points and possibly win the game.

Adding a dominant running game, which Turner loves, will greatly reduce the number of passing attempts by quarterback Philip Rivers.

That might sound like a bad thing, but remember the 2006 Charger offense which helped the Bolts score a team record 492 points. The 2006 offense ran the ball 522 times for 2578 yards, while passing 466 times for 3262.

The chuck and duck offensive philosophy that writers and TV analysts are accusing the Chargers of running will never bring San Diego a championship.

A tough, physical, balanced, and talented football team will beat a chuck and duck offensive minded team more times than not.

With addition of the physical runner Ryan Mathews, Turner will have his choice of the two and I guarantee you that he will choose the former.



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