November 18, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Ladarius Green (89) during the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Wrap Up: A Positive Spin


Last night we got our first look at the new San Diego Chargers. I will give you a positive spin on the game, as there is certainly a lot of negative to take from the game. I’m sure other writers will give you their thoughts on the game too, but here are mine.


My personal summary of the game (and, probably everyone else) was that the first teams played good, on both sides of the ball. The second and third teams played pretty awful, outside of a few plays. We lost 31-10, which really isn’t anything to jump for joy over. But, there were some good things we can take away from the game, as well. Here’s what I noticed about the first drives on both sides of the ball, which went very well. Let’s review.


First Team Offense:

- It appears that King Dunlap will be able to get the job done at left tackle this year for Philip Rivers. It’s still early, but his protection on passing downs gave Rivers the opportunity to get the ball out to his receivers quickly. Fluker also played pretty well, and was getting a little chippy, which is good to see.- Antonio Gates got open for a 20+ yard gain, and John Philips caught a pass for a first down. Tight ends looked good catching, and blocking.

- Ryan Mathews looked really good. He opened up the game with a five yard run. Then, he went up the middle behind a good block by Rinehart for 6 yards. He topped it off with an impressive athletic leap over the top of the pile, kept running for a nine yard gain, and a first down! I even saw him pick up a block on a passing play, which was nice to see (finally)!

- Eddie Royal played well, picking up a first down on the second play of the game. He also had a reverse, which was sniffed out, but he managed to salvage a yard or two. The main reason I am bringing that play up, is that he stiff-armed a defender twice his size, as if the guy was a pop-warner player! Made me chuckle a little bit, and it is noteworthy.

- Floyd caught a pass to set up 4th and inches. He was overthrown on another play, but he was covered pretty well by Sherman. Keenan Allen had a catch for 4 yards. Ronnie Brown had a three yard run to open up the game. So they spread the ball around quite a bit on the 12 play drive.

- Philip Rivers looked comfortable stepping up into the pocket for the first time in ages. The protection held up, his throws were accurate he even scrambled for a few yards. The running game really helped out a lot too, taking the pressure off of him. He was 5 for 6, and only had one incomplete pass, which was a throw away. Most importantly, he had zero turnovers! If they can keep that kind of balance going on offense, this year will be a lot better!


First Team Defense:

- Russell Wilson is a really slippery guy, and can escape with his speed. But, he never looked comfortable enough to sit back, and pass at will. The defense managed to get pressure on him, and force him to run, or make short passes. Nothing was given up over the top. And coverage was pretty good. Seattle’s first team offense did not score on our first team defense. A less mobile QB would have been sacked at least twice, or would have been forced to throw the ball away. (cough, cough Peyton Manning)

- Dwight Freeney was in Russell Wilson’s face quite a few times, and almost got his hands on him. He didn’t register a sack, but he was close. I was pleased to see that. Liuget & Reyes were disruptive, as well.

- Larry English was actually looking alright! I thought for SURE he had Russell Wilson sacked, but he squirted out the other side. There wasn’t anyone there to wrap him up, so Wilson got a good run out of it. But, if we had another pass rusher coming the other way, Wilson probably would have gone down. He then got good pressure on Wilson again, and forced an overthrow. Overall, I liked what I saw from English.

- Double J was able to set the edge on a good run play. This is something we all know he can do, but it was nice to see him doing what he does best. He is the key to our run defense, and one of the best in the league at stopping the run. Nice work.

- Weddle was good in coverage, as always, and broke up that overthrow that English forced.

- I will throw a little shout out to Shareece Wright, and Derek Cox who looked pretty good, and covered well in the backfield, which was a relief. They didn’t get torched at all like Josh Johnson /  Antoine Cason style (Yikes).

After going over the notes, I felt a little bit better about what actually happened. I actually had a section on my notes sheet for “not so good players & plays”. I didn’t put anything down for the first team, and was really excited about that fact. But then, slowly but surely, Whitehurst & the backups started to go downhill into a crescendo of horror (mainly in the second half). Fortunately, the team that will play week in & week out looks like it is coming along nicely. The depth is very scary, though. We need depth players at cornerback, outside linebacker, defensive end, possibly running back, etc. There was so much bad play, I stopped taking notes, and decided to just make this a “positive” post. If you saw the game, then you know what I mean, and there is no point in rehashing it. Just go to the open thread post on here.

I was very happy to see Sorenson play as well as he did. It was good to see that Sorensen to Green connection for a TD! I almost got the feeling that McCoy left Whitehurst in there on purpose. It was almost as if he gave Whitehurst enough rope to hang himself. Maybe I am reading too much into that, but McCoy could have easily pulled clipboard out much sooner. CBJ definitely wasn’t getting any better. Let’s cut him, and save that cap money! Steve Williams, Stucky, and Patrick did a nice job in coverage, too… despite a few plays with the 2nd team, where the pass rush was awful. They had some good & bad plays, where Stucky ran into Williams on that Seattle TD. I DID think it was impressive that we used up 2/3 of the game clock in the first half! That is amazing, and unexpected. If the first team was in there in an actual game, they probably would have scored on those extended drives. Let’s hope for a more solid performance next week in Chicago ; )


Thanks for reading, and Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!

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  • Stefanie Smith

    You are so right, Pete. Man, it felt good to see Rivers comfortable. He did play well. If they give him the weapons, he will be fine. But I got a little bummed when it all collapsed with the second and third teamers.

    Rivers, Matthews and Gates did well and Freeney got it going also. I was impressed with King Dunlap as I am not a fan–he and Fluker gave Rivers some time. They held up pretty well.

    • Gunnar Martin

      So… why don’t you like the King? Philly fans rub off on you too much?

      • Peter Thompson

        There ain’t nothin’ wrong with The King.. Have a Super Bowl Day ; )

      • Stefanie Smith

        I have doubts about King Dunlap because Philly fans did not like him. Same feelings about Gaithers Kansas City fans called him Big Lazy and we ignored it and believed he was great. This is why I am not jumping on the King bandwagon as I would if it were someone else. I hope he does great and not do poorly as the Philly fans predict and that he doesn’t end up getting Rivers injured.

        I am hoping the Philly fans are wrong about Dunlap.

    • JoseSD

      The thing with Dunlap is that in Philly with Vick he didn’t know where he would end up. Though Vick adds this elusive dynamic to the offense he also tends to hold onto the ball longer than he should scrambling til he finds an open man which increases sacks and it doesn’t help the o line that he runs out of the pocket trying to make a play. Dunlap might be blocking his man but Vick rolls outside the defender could disengage and chase Vick to the sideline all the while Dunlap thinks Vick is still in the pocket. Philip is a pocket passer making Dunlap’s job a bit easier

    • Peter Thompson

      It did feel good to see the confidence from our offense, and especially PR17! I was stoked that they played the starters. If they had sat, this game would have been WAY more awful to watch. I was watching it with a Seahawks fan. He was rubbing it in, but I kept asking what happened to his first teamers.. they got pushed around by our offense AND our defense. Backups are exactly that.. backups. Not that they aren’t important, but a lot of them won’t make the team. King Dunlap is going to surprise us, and kind of already is. Here’s to a healthy season from here out ; )

  • Sergio Quintero

    Nice write up Pete, good job as always. I want to see how Vincent Brown & Danny Woodhead fit into the offense. Will Brown be a possession receiver, or more of a stretch WR or slot receiver, I’m really curious to see.

    I want to see how and when the chargers try to push the ball upfield some. Be it through play action or heavy sets with multiple TE’s.

    Defensively, Freeney has a lot more left in the tank than I was led to believe. In terms of Manti Te’o he’s a lot more Gary Plummer (solid MLB) than Ray Lewis in his prime. So I will keep my expectation with Te’o at a reasonable level, I hope he exceeds them.

    I know Delissandris can really coach, but he better put in some extra time with the backups, the dropoff in level of play was way too noticeable. Following that point the right side looks like a major asset for the running game this year.

    • Peter Thompson

      Thanks Sergio. All good points there. I can’t wait to see V-Brown, Woodhead, and even Gilchrist, either.

      I think there was a lot of good to take away from the game. A lot of people didn’t like that we kicked the field goal. I’m sure it sucked if you were at the game. But I kind of dig the fact that he didn’t need to prove anything. They moved the ball at will, didn’t allow a sack, didn’t turn it over, chewed up the clock, had a great running game, didn’t take any negative yardage plays, and got a 4th down conversion earlier in the drive on a spectacular Ryan Mathews leap (which was really exciting, and reminded me of his pro-bowl campaign)! The Seattle defense is nothing to sneeze at, and we manhandled them down the field in 12 plays! They COULD have gone for it, but they already proved that they could get the 4th down.
      I know why McCoy was cautious. Having ANY of your backs running into a bunch of hungry first teamers stacking the box in the redzone on 4th down is a quick recipe for getting your players hurt. Not a good idea.. especially in a meaningless game. The offense looked great, and moved the ball well. It was all he probably needed to see. Just take the points. Regular season will be different, and there are still 3 preseason games left to show off.
      Baby steps.

      • Gunnar Martin

        And hey, Novak needs his reps, too ;)

  • Adam

    Great article Pete. I loved the first team. I think MM wants to compete immediately and believes our only chance is to trust that the first team won’t go down, and add depth next year. We just need a little luck


    Larry English really caught my eye. He looked extremely fast off the edge.

    • Peter Thompson

      Now… If he can just keep doing that, and get better.. He may be onto something.

    • tubbs45

      Knock on wood… quick!!! agreed though!

      • MachoMenos

        If McCoy and staff could get anything productive out of English it would make such a big difference to our LB depth. (Knock on wood, indeed!)

  • arnie

    Peter great notes. Do you know how to get good depth? Experience. That is the overall legacy of norv, a lot of young undeveloped players.

    • tubbs45

      while I experience is true, this is also on AJ and the Free agency spending spree to save his job and 3 bad drafts… The dynamic duo of franchise destruction!

      • arnie

        True. aj did his part. While in this case norv was directly responsible for the product on the field. There was an opportunity to develop Gilcrist, Taylor an others, instead he favored veterans, whether they could perform or not. Now we have a roster of 3rd an 4th year players, that may be a year or two away from their potential.

        • Peter Thompson

          The players we saw yesterday are capable back-ups. Maybe not as a unit of backups, but as plug & play guys. Let’s see what happens in game two and three, and then claim guys off other teams.

          • Nick in PB

            Peter and Arnie, you both make great points. I agree, there are some plug and play guys on this roster. There are some guys that if you have to play them, they won’t be a hindrance to their position. And Arnie is right in the fact that Norv wasn’t all that great in developing young talent. He didn’t have the teaching ability nor the patience. Marty was the kind of coach that developed young players into good ones and I think McCoy is the same way. It’s all about attention to detail and teaching that. Not just about repetition but also about doing it right! That was lacking under Norv Turnover!!!


    Losing Danario Alexander really hurts, especially in the Red Zone.
    He opens up the field for everyone.

    We have to start running the ball better while in the Red Zone.
    Ryan Mathews looked good and DJ Fluker should really help.

    Can’t wait to see Vincent Brown next week, along with Woodhead.

    And I want to see how Gilchrist looks as a safety.

    • Peter Thompson

      Losing Alexander stings, most def.

      Mathews ran up the middle behind Hardwick, Rinehart. & Dunlap. Brown ran behind Clary. Nothing went to the right, and was between the tackles. They are nurturing Fluker… building his NFL confidence, until BANG!!!!.He’s doing it on his own.. pro-bowl style. ; )

      Mathews, Gates, Phillips, and even Royal picked up blocks on the right. The support blocking was excellent! Everyone knew where they were supposed to be. Thank coach Joe D for that. Fluker was actually the only one who let a defender touch Philip’s jersey… hahahaha.. and Seattle got away with a false start on that play (effin’ Hochuli!!!), We still got Floyd for 4th & inches.

      I couldn’t agree more about Brown, Woodhead, and Gilchrist. I still think Gilly has competition, though.effin’

  • Cgoodness13

    Ryan Mathews is actually a good blocker

  • Nick in PB

    Thanks Pete! Nice writeup. I wish there was some positives to take from the second and third team. That’s a lot of what the preseason is about. Seeing who can step in when needed. I thought Beltre and Williams (both) had their moments when called upon. I was hoping to see more from the backup RB’s. Whitaker seems to have some moves but no holes. Hill disappointed me. Addae seemed in attack mode but wasn’t in until late. Sorrenson showed more poise than CBJ.

    • Peter Thompson

      I look at it as 49 guys who have jobs, and four guys we haven’t signed yet

      ; )

  • boltingindiego

    any 1 know the fozzy injury status? Will be interesting how the rb’s rotate next game with woodhead playing.

    • Peter Thompson

      Personally, I think we are locked up at the position.. Mathews, Brown, Woodhead, McClain.. probably keep Hill on the practice squad for insurance.