San Diego Chargers: Training Camp Report (August 16)
The San Diego Chargers didn't look overly impressive against the Seattle Seahawks last week, and there weren't too many positives to be taken out of their second preseason game, as they lost 33-28 to the Chicago Bears.
The first half was very painful to watch, but Charger fans have grown accustomed to witnessing this style of play over the last few years.
Head coach Mike McCoy must begin to hold this roster accountable for their mistakes, as discipline has been lacking for too long.
Thankfully, the preseason is nothing more than a televised scrimmage to feed the cravings of our football-frenzy culture, but the Chargers must show some semblence of becoming a team rather than a group of individuals playing in the same uniform.
Here are five things we've learned:
Where do you begin: Is it the amount of pentration the Bears' defensive front had into the backfeld all evening or is it committing four turnovers in the first 25 minutes of the contest? No, it has to be that quarterback Philip Rivers didn't complete a single pass to his wide receiver corps. Not good signs for the regular season, as the Chargers must gain some chemistry on the field. McCoy may need to simplify his game plan, in order for his team to gain some confidence in their play.
2) Special Teams, Where Are You
You expected a transitional period, as a new special teams coach was implementing a different philosophy, while dealing with an abundance of players on the roster that have very little NFL experience. But, this unit's performance against the Bears got ugly fast.
Collectively, they gave up too many return yards, as Devin Hester ran straight through them often untouched. Richard Goodman looked horrible returning kicks, and he may have to show more to make this year's roster.
Rookie Keenan Allen muffed a punt return and looked tenative running all evening. Special teams have become such an issue that the coaching staff must come up with a remedy before next week's game in Arizona.
3) The Offensive Line is a Mess
Let's cut to the chase, the offensive line must better pass protect or the Chargers will fight the Oakland Raiders for last place in the AFC West. Rivers was under-seige all night by a Bears pass rush that didn't include defensive end Julius Peppers in the starting lineup. This unit must come together as one or it will be long year for all.
You can pencil in King Dunlap for the starting left tackle position, as Max Starks has been a disappointment for the second consecutive week. He looked slow, lethargic and out-of-shape all throughout training camp. Speed pass-rushers have easily gone around him to put immediate pressure on the qurterback.
4) Will Real Ryan Mathews Please Stand Up
The lone bright spot for the Chargers in an otherwise disappointing night was the way running back Ryan Mathews ran (9 carries for 45 yards in limited time) with a purpose against a perennially-tough Bears defense.
Unfortunately, Charger fans patiently wait for the other shoe to fall, as Mathews is prone to injuring himself in competition. No question that Mathews has the talent to become a force in the NFL, but he must stay healthy for an entire season before gaining any fan support.
5) Where Have All The Wide Receivers Gone
Everyone in Charger Land breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced that a second opinion on wide receiver Malcolm Floyd's injured knee revealed no structural damage. No timetable has been set for his return to the starting lineup, but Floyd's contributions will be missed if he cannot start the regular season on time. Floyd must be productive in the passing game if the Chargers are going to have a winning record this year.
The team's front office should be more concern with rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen leavng practice this week due to problems with his surgically-repaired left knee. The Chargers' training staff cannot determine whether or not this is a new injury or an aggravation of the inury that occured last fall. Any prolonged absence by Allen from the lineup could force the Chargers to look for reinforcements on the free agent market.
Paging Mr. Brandon Lloyd...Paging Mr. Brandon Lloyd to a white courtesy phone.