As is custom, each week we talk to the enemy to find out their take on the game coming up. This week that is John Gennaro from Bolts From The Blue. I sent him 5 Questions and got back five answers.
Blogging The Boys: What's going on with the offensive line. Who will play? Do you have confidence in them?
Bolts From The Blue: No idea yet. King Dunlap (LT), Chad Rinehart (LG) and Jeromey Clary (RG) haven't practiced yet this week. D.J. Fluker should be back this week after missing the Titans game with concussion symptoms. My guess is that Dunlap plays, while Rinehart and Clary do not, but at this point it's just a guess.
BTB: Phillip Rivers is certainly enjoying a good season. What do you attribute that to?
BFTB: For one, the offense makes more sense for this roster. Norv Turner's 7-step drops are all but gone from the playbook. The ball is getting out of Rivers' hand a lot quicker. Which is helping him to build confidence in the offensive line. Second, the Chargers offense is getting up to the line with about 20 seconds left on the play-clock to allow Rivers to check into different plays about half the time. That's not only resulting in more successful plays being run, but it's increased his confidence in the plays' ability to work. Third, the offensive line isn't quite as bad as it was last season. Finally, Ken Whisenhunt's #1 priority has been to eliminate Rivers' mistakes. Part of that is a negative, because it means games like last week against the Titans when Philip seemingly threw every pass for 1 or 2 yards and the offense couldn't stay on the field. However, part of it is simple confidence building that comes from completing an easy pass at the beginning of a drive.
BTB: The defense seems to be struggling, what's the major issues there?
BFTB: Talent and depth. Or, rather, a lack of either. Also, the gameplanning has been mediocre and the play-calling has been atrocious. The major issue is everything. The defensive line can't stop the run, the pass rushers can't get to the QB and the cornerbacks can't cover anybody. One of the team's safeties, Marcus Gilchrist, is a converted cornerback that wasn't very good at anything that didn't involve blitzing the QB. As a safety, he's been about the same but is never asked to blitz the QB. Eric Weddle, who is probably the most talented safety in the league, has been spread incredibly thin in trying to make up for the lack of talent around him. In recent weeks, he's been playing more nickel CB and inside LB than he has been playing the over-the-top "center field" coverage that he's so good at.
BTB: Talk about your new coach. What has he brought to the team?
BFTB: It's hard to say just three weeks in to his first regular season. Mike McCoy certainly says all the right things, and he speaks with authority. He could be the next Bill Belichick, or he could be the next Pat Shurmur, and only time will tell. He's very obviously trying to win as many games as he can with the broken pieces left behind by Norv Turner and A.J. Smith, but making sure not to tie himself to any of them because he's going to spend the next few years building the roster that he thinks can run his systems best.
BTB: If you were Dallas, what game plan would you use against San Diego?
BFTB: Throw. Throw a lot. Throw short passes on first down and watch the hilarious attempts to make a tackle by the Chargers defenders. Throw deep passes on second down and wonder how the cornerback ended up so far away from the receiver in that amount of time. Throw at Witten and Murray any time they're covered by a safety. Throw a TD to Gavin Escobar just to give SDSU Aztecs fans something to cheer about. Every so often, run the ball at Dwight Freeney and watch him fall over.
Thanks John. Head over to Bolts From The Blue for more Chargers news.