Nothing Wrong with # 17
Predictably, the Rivers is washed up train left the station promptly following the loss to Miami. No matter who you want to blame for the Chargers’ offensive struggles until this offensive line can provide better pass protection and wider running lanes, the situation isn’t going to get any better.
Rivers knows it comes with the territory. The quarterback always receives more than his fair share of the credit, good or bad, win or lose. Like a true professional, he’s never been one to point fingers. Rivers takes his medicine knowing full-well this team remains a few, pieces short of competing for a playoff spot.
Not that he hasn’t contributed to the disaster, he has. He’s taken too many chances with the football and it’s cost the Chargers. But happy feet will do that the best of them and quarterbacks of this caliber only get happy feet when they don’t trust their protection up front.
Sure, more mobility from the quarterback position might be advantageous given the current state of the running game and the offensive line but Philip Rivers just is not that guy. He’s a (true) pocket passer, and pocket passers need enough time to set their feet, make their reads, and get the ball out. Sure, bootlegs and rollouts are a terrific way to help mask deficiencies in pass protection but, once again, Rivers is not that guy. Never was. Never pretended to be. The bottom line is that without a clean pocket to throw from, and for that matter, a consistent rushing attack to run play action off, there’s only so much the man can do.
Melvin Gordon is not Barry Sanders
Making things worse, the Chargers revamped rushing attack has regressed under Coach Lynn. Far too often, the Chargers’ running backs are met in the backfield. No doubt Gordon misses the travel trailer-size holes he ran through in Wisconsin. He’s seen nothing like that since and nothing in his college resume suggested he was the kind of back that could consistently make something out of nothing ala Barry Sanders.
The Chargers are 21st in average yards per rushing attempt and 27th in total yards rushing. It’s a wonder they’ve managed to keep games close, despite that fact. If there’s any glimmer of hope it’s that this unit has played well in spurts. At this point, coaching-up the likes of Pulley, Wiggins, Barksdale, and company is about the only hope the Chargers have of salvaging 2017.
Can’t Blame the Offense for Poor Tackling?
Sure, you can. The direct result of the offense’s inability to sustain drives with a balanced attack is a defense that is gassed by the second half. Minus all the turnovers on offense, this defense looks stout and formidable, despite its flaws.
All hope is not lost. Though certainly not worth hoping for, a miracle is still possible. Perriman’s absence has really hurt, his return would provide a boost on defense. Likewise, Mike Williams could provide the dependable, jump-ball, target Rivers really needs right now. They’ll get a chance to get some momentum going next week against the 0-4 Giants.
The Chargers’ hopes for 2017 ride on the ability of this offensive front to be coached up or find some sort of cohesion or chemistry. It’s about as big a long shot as there is but that’s what it will take. A loss next week and those of us that haven’t already can comfortably move on to next season.