Chargers Limp Into Bye Week On A Wing And A Prayer
Starting with receivers, Rivers has thrown many key passes to guys who were not even on the team to start the year! Scout team guys, a former Cowboy, guys off the street! You see, the injury bug has bitten the Chargers right in the hip pads. If you count hold out Vincent Jackson, Rivers has spent at least some time without his top five receivers. Star tight-end Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, Legadu Naanee, and injury prone Buster Davis have all missed significant time this year. In fact, they were all out last week against the Texans. How did Rivers repond? 295 yards passing, with two TD’s, that’s all.
Next, the offensive line. Surly, they must be all pros across the line and never let Rivers get grass stains on his back. Ah…..no. The Chargers have had their issues there as well. With Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeill missing several games due to a hold out, many pieces had to move around in the beginning of the year. Now, Kris Deilman has been injured and couldn’t play against the Texans. How do you handle this problem? Just keep plugging guys in, coach them up, and trust your system. So far, Norv has been able to buy time for Rivers to throw. Not much time, but enough.
The running game has been decent this year, but perhaps a bit of a disappointment. First round draft pick Ryan Matthews has shown signs of brilliance! He has also been injured multiple times and has put the ball on the ground three times already in his young career. Personally, I’m not worried about the fumbles from Matthews. He will bulk up, gain strenghth, and not let those mean defensive players to rip the ball from his arm by next year. His fumles have not been due to bad hands, just the inability to out muscle the defenders in the pile.
Mike Tolbert has been the biggest and best surprise for the Chargers ground attack. With Sproles not doing much so far, it has been Tolbert who has picked up the slack, especially around the goal line. Both Tolbert and Matthews are averaging over four yards per carry which is still an improvement over last year.
Another prayer could be said for the defense. Injuries, bad hands, bad tackling, and mental lapses have plagued the Chargers in recent games. The Bolts defense, which once forced turnovers with the frequency of a cook at In and Out flipping burger patties, went almost five complete games without a turnover. There were opportunities, but apparently the other teams have been smearing the ball with melted butter, making it very hard to catch.
So, what is the one prayer that Chargers fans need to be praying right now? How about a healthy team after the bye week? Sounds good to me. Theoretically, Floyd, Naanee, Gates, Matthews, Kaeding, and Gregory should all be back after the bye and Vincent Jackson will be activated the following week, just in time for Indy.
Personally, I kind of hope that Rivers does not break Morino’s record. Why? Becuase that will most likely mean that the Chargers have continued to fall behind in games, have had to turn away from the running game, and Rivers has had to wear his Superman costume all too often. Remember, the more times he drops back to pass, the more likely that he will take a shot that will put Billy Voley into the game. No offense to Volek, but he’s no Rivers.