When you are a team and you are playing the game of football you have to dominate the other team upfront. The game is all about momentum and being physical. You must impose your will upon the other team and control them at the line.
This particular aspect of the game is something the San Diego Chargers have sorely lacked on defense for quite some time. It is completely demoralizing being dominating by another team up front and the fan base in particular hates seeing this from their football team.
On Saturday evening the Tennessee Titans stomped on the Chargers defense by running for 288 total yards on 33 carries. There were tons of missed tackles by defenders and numerous times when the ball carrier just ran through arm tackle after arm tackle. Not to mention the poor positioning of some players during the run attacks against them.
DeMarco Murray ran for a 71-yard touchdown on a 3rd and 1 play late in the first quarter. The Chargers were leading at the time, but this run set the tone for the rest of the game. The middle linebackers at the time were second year LB Nick Dzubnar and rookie James Ross. Of course both will not be starting for the Bolts and I would like to think Denzel Perryman and Manti Te’o would recognize the run play better.
Nick Dzubnar got caught absolutely flat-footed and was lost on the play. Ross recognized the run better, but was picked by Dzubnar and quite frankly was too late in his assessment and was too far away to make the play. Darrell Stuckey was the safety on the play and he took a horrible angle allowing Murray to get outside of him and home free to the end zone. The result was a breakdown from two or three players on the play and that is not tolerable. The team was also gashed for a 41-yard run by Bishop Sankey on the night. It was not a good night for the run defense.
It is early, but these run defending issues need to be addressed by the coaching staff. This cannot be a common theme with this club. Brandon Mebane suited up and played the first series or two. He will help shore up the run defense and provide a rock in the middle of the line. However, he alone cannot due the job of 11. The play from the safeties and the inside line backers must improve if the Chargers plan on competing this upcoming season.
You cannot blame this loss on Joey Bosa either. Perhaps the distraction of him not being there with his team had something to do with the team’s performance, but Bosa in uniform wouldn’t have helped this pathetic effort much. The team was simply beat up and out coached in this first game.
The Chargers were 27th last season against the run allowing 125.3 yards per game. That is unacceptable. You want the ball in the hands of your best player, Philip Rivers. With the defense getting run all over, the opposing teams offense will dominate the clock resulting in a Chargers loss. That is the recipe other teams are going to try to establish against the Chargers.
This league is about adjustments and clearly the Chargers coaching staff needs to do a better job. Coach Mike McCoy will be on the hot seat this season if the team starts off slowly. Much was expected from this team last season and he got very lucky in retaining his job after a 4-12 season. There are issues that need to be addressed and this team cannot continue to make the same mistakes. Contain the run at all costs. Make the adjustments and take control of the line and help Philip get the ball more.