Today’s “Game Analysis” piece is actually a two-parter. First I talk about the game and then I talk a little about the draft.
One QB posted the following stat-line:
17/30 COMP/ATT, 206 yards, 2/1 TD/INT
19/30 COMP/ATT, 213 yards, 1/1 TD/INT
The first was sacked three times, the second was sacked twice.
The difference in the game? The second QB, Oakland’s David Carr, was bailed out by a running game that racked up 145 yards on 29 carries (5.0 yards/carry). (The Chargers really miss Brandon Mebane.) Whereas the first QB, Philip Rivers, hardly got any help from the Chargers’ running game (73 yards on 22 carries – 3.3 yards/carry). The Chargers’ offensive line is the biggest weak link on this roster. The Chargers (or whatever they may be called in the future) will not be good again until they can put together a solid OL…and hire a new head coach.
So, while the Chargers and Tom Telesco need to start thinking about Rivers’ successor, it is not an urgency, and Rivers isn’t fading fast. He just doesn’t have time to do what he does.
Sunday evening came and went without a change in the Chargers’ head coaching position. Monday came and went without a change…this coming week’s game, against Cleveland, is on Saturday and thus the team has a shortened week. As much as I want a change to happen, it is understandable why one hasn’t happened yet. But win or lose in Cleveland, a change needs to happen. The Chargers continue to be predictable on offense and continue to make far too many mistakes (turnovers, etc.).
One coaching adage is that, “You’re either coaching it or you’re allowing it to happen.” Another saying, from John C. Maxwell, about organizational situations is, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” And for all of Mike McCoy’s press conference comments about the players needing to execute, if they’re failing to execute – repeatedly – then that’s on him. He’s allowing it happen. Rising or falling, and the Chargers are falling, it is on leadership. We’re past time for a change. We’re overdue for one.
On a positive note, despite allowing a lot of yards to the Oakland rushing game, the Chargers’ defense was rather stout on Sunday. The Raiders have the second highest scoring offense in the NFL and the Chargers held them to 19 points. In today’s modern NFL, if you can’t score 20 points, you don’t deserve to win.
The Chargers defense, after getting only one takeaway on Sunday, slid into 2nd place in the NFL in that category. I mention that tongue-in-cheek because the other teams in the top 5 (Kansas City, Oakland, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore) are all in the playoff hunt. The Chargers’ 32 giveaways still ranks 1st (or last, depending on how you word it). The next team is the N.Y. Jets with 30, and then it’s Jacksonville with 26. The horrific Jacksonville Jaguars have six fewer turnovers than the San Diego Chargers. Let that marinade for a bit. Did I mention that the Chargers need to fire their head coach?
With the Chargers’ season wrapping up miserably, the silver lining is another high draft pick. Currently, the Chargers are tied with the Eagles for the 7th worst record in the league, and in line for the 7th or 8th draft pick. I’ve repeatedly talked about the Chargers need to improve on the OL – particularly at both OT positions. The problem is none of the top OTs are sure-thing, plug-and-play OTs.
Depending on who you ask, Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey, Alabama’s Cam Robinson, or Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramcyzk is the top OT. But each comes with serious questions. So if we’re not comfortable using a top 10 pick on an OT how should we spend it? The next obvious answer is the safety position. While the Chargers’ defense has been good, their safeties have underwhelming. LSU’s Jamal Adams is the best safety in the class and has the size (6’1-2” 210) that the Chargers secondary has lacked. This seems like a no-brainer pick.
However, there’s another scenario I think Telesco and company should, and are, considering. An average secondary can play much better than it actually is if the defensive line (pass-rushers) can speed up the quarterback’s clock. This draft is incredibly deep with pass rushers. And while Joey Bosa looks like a monster and Melvin Ingram is versatile and talented, the Chargers could still use an upgrade in the pass-rush department.
The best pass-rusher in college is Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, but he should go top 3. But the Chargers could be in line to pick the second best pass-rusher in the draft (Tennessee’s Derek Barnett). Further improving the defense could help an emerging defense take a big step forward. If they go this route (or go with Adams) they need to spend their 2nd or 3rd round pick (or both) on an offensive tackle.
I will be out-of-town over the Christmas weekend and will not be posting a game analysis piece after the Cleveland game. Thank you all for your readership. Hug your loved ones. Merry Christmas, all.
Thanks for reading.