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Chargers Looking For Confidence

Andie Hagemann |
October 9, 2011 | 9:39 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer


Rivers hasn't put up the kind of numbers people expect from him in 2011. (Wikimedia Commons)
Rivers hasn't put up the kind of numbers people expect from him in 2011. (Wikimedia Commons)
As the NFL kicks off Week Five of the regular season, teams are reevaluating their game schemes based on the first weeks of play. 

The San Diego Chargers were an early preseason favorite and some have predicted the Bolts to be the next to take home the coveted Lombardi Trophy. 

San Diego has only recorded one loss for the season (35-21 to New England) but Chargers fans are scratching their heads. 

How are the Chargers winning games by an average margin of just 6.66 points when they possess one of the most talent rosters in the league? 

Philip Rivers has been the Chargers’ starting quarterback since 2006 and has posted remarkable numbers. Over the past three seasons (2008, 2009, 2010) Rivers has totaled 12,973 yards, 92 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. 

However, the 2011 season has not been easy for Rivers. To date, Rivers is 107 for 157 with 1,286 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions. 

The Chargers boast a powerful offense that has averaged 22.8 points and includes lethal running back Ryan Mathews. 

Mathews, a first round pick in 2010, is in his sophomore season for the Chargers. This season, Mathews has rushed for 288 yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers have utilized Mathews as well as potent fullback Mike Tolbert. Tolbert has emerged as the go-to guy for crucial short yard gains. The 5’9 243 lb Tolbert has rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Both Mathews and Tolbert have battled injuries and are listed as probable versus Denver. 

Rounding out the Charger offense are wide receiver Vincent Jackson and tight end Antonio Gates.

Like most of the charger offense, Gates (pictured left) has been plagued with injury. 

He suffered a foot injury following the September 17 game against the Patriots, and is listed as doubtful against Denver. 

With Gates absent from the Chargers’ roster, the offense has turned to Vincent Jackson. Jackson is the team leader in receiving yards (374) and currently has three touchdowns. 

Neither Rivers nor the Chargers offense should be blamed for low offensive production in games thus far this season. 

With the majority of the team battling injuries, it is difficult to maintain a consistent offensive scheme. The bye week will aid the Chargers offense the most before heading to the Meadowlands to face the New York Jets in week seven. 

Until the Charger offense can maintain a healthy roster, the team must depend on the defense and is going by the mantra, “defense wins championships.” 

However, the Bolts’ defense has allowed an average of 21.3 points and 297.8 yards in the first four weeks of the season. It’s been dependent upon safety Eric Weddle, who has two interceptions this season in back-to-back weeks (Sept. 25 vs. Kansas City and Oct. 2 vs. Miami) and 26 tackles. 

If San Diego wants to maintain its number one ranking in the AFC West, Norv Turner and the Chargers need to focus on improving the defensive scheme. 

Utilize players like Weddle, linebacker Takeo Spikes and cornerback Quentin Jammer. With crucial road games on the horizon, the Chargers need to use the contest against Denver as a test in order to gain an overall consistent game performance. 

A win against the Broncos will lift the Chargers to a comfy 4-1 heading into the bye week. 


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