After a 35-3 defeat in San Francisco, the Chargers will head into week one with some un-answered questions.
The Chargers leave the preseason beat up, with three injuries that were sustained in preseason games to big contributors (RB Ryan Mathews, WR Vincent Brown, LB Melvin Ingram). Though the injuries of Mathews and Ingram shouldn't weigh too far into the season, there are still many areas the team needs to become better at before they are ready for the regular season.
The first being getting a rhythm going on offense. It seems like when the starters were in during the preseason, they were ending drives that could have been kept if there were some key plays being made. The catalyst for the decrease in offensive production was the weak offensive line. LT Jared Gaither and C Nick Hardwick were both out with injuries in the preseason. The success of San Diego's (as well as any other teams) offense begins with a strong offensive line that can hold back the pass rush and create nice, big holes for the running back to make plays.
If Gaither doesn't show up by week three, many would have to think that General manager A.J Smith will start looking (if he hasn't already) for an alternative line option until Gaithers return. Though Mike Harris is good and has potential, he will not be able to fair against elite pass rushers. The Chargers need Gaither or another experienced LT.
The Bolts have the talent to be a very potent offense, they just need all the pieces to come together at once and have everyone be on the same page. They will need some big plays from receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. They are the two big free agent pickups and they will need to step in and earn their paycheck. This team needs a true number one receiver and they can find it in Meachem.
Defensively, the Bolts need to stop letting the occasional big play slip past them. But thus far, the defense has been light years past what we saw last year. As soon as they can have rookie Melvin Ingram back in the mix, the better. He is too athletic and special for this team to miss much of. Some have said that the secondary is the weak link in this defense.
Larry English has really been the gem of this years preseason. He is finally starting to play up to his first round capabilities now that he has been healthy and has had a full offseason to prepare. English has recorded three sacks this preseason and will be looking to expand his success.
Which has been true in the past, but not this year. Free agent pickup Atari Bigby is a truly exciting player. He has stepped up big time for this team and has established himself in the offense. Look for him to continue making hard hits, and big plays for the Bolts.
The Chargers will take on the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football on 9/10/. Stay tuned for more news as we approach the game!
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