Sep 8, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy reacts in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chargers 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Know Your Enemy
The Chargers ran the ball 53% of the time last season, one of the more balanced teams in the NFL. But their offense runs undoubtedly through #17. Philip Rivers was fourth in the NFL last season in yards, yards per attempt and passer rating, and 1st in completion percentage. He would have been a legitimate MVP candidate if Peyton Manning didn’t, well…. be Peyton Manning. With the return of Malcolm Floyd from a scary neck injury and another year under the belt of Keenan Allen, Rivers should only get better.
Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead lead a rushing attack that is average at best. As mentioned earlier, they were 21st in the NFL last year in yards per carry and struggled mightily on the ground in week 1 against a stout, but depleted, Cardinals defense.
Defensively, the Chargers have a few stars, and a decent overall group. They ranked 11th in points per game allowed in 2013 and 23rd in yards, but only forced 17 turnovers, the third least in the league.
Safety Eric Weddle is among the league’s best and can do everything they need him to, and former Husky middle linebacker Donald Butler is the leader up front. Sean Lissemore is a powerful nose guard, but nothing Max Unger can’t handle (although his kickoff return skills are not to be overlooked). Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes are decent ends in San Diego’s 3-4 scheme but the team as a whole doesn’t get after the passer much, ranking 23rd in the NFL in sacks last year.