Nov 20, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown (86) goes for the ball in front of Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings (26) during the third quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

3 Areas To Improve For Week 2




Last week’s preseason game gave us our first glimpse of what the Chargers will look like in 2013. This Thursday, they head cross-country to face off against the Chicago Bears. The Bears were a pretty solid team last season, with a stout defense. Despite having a decent winning record, longtime head coach Lovie Smith was replaced by new head coach Marc Trestman, after missing the playoffs. Along with having one of the best defenses in the league, Chicago has one of the most talented wide receivers in the game, Brandon Marshall. Marshall had an astounding 118 receptions, 1,508 yards, and 11 touchdowns in 2012! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit jealous of those numbers, as I would LOVE for one of our guys to have those stats. But, I digress…

This game will be fun to watch, as there has already been a TON of tension between Jay Cutler, and Philip Rivers, originating from Cutler’s time with the Broncos. Rivers & Cutler have stated numerous times that the rivalry is old news, but they aren’t fooling me. I know they both expect to win, and turn it up a notch when they are going head to head… even if it is preseason. Philip has already commented on how he would like this team to walk out of Chicago with a “W”. His main reason is that he wants the team to get used to winning on the road (which I COMPLETELY agree with). But, don’t be fooled. He would love to have a great game, and watch Freeney put Cutler on the turf! Cutler had an awful offensive line last year, so we will get a chance to see if it has improved.

So, as we head out to the “Windy City”, we have to improve some areas of play that didn’t look pretty last week. Here are three areas where I would like to see improvement, so that we can solidify a victory over… Da Bears… and show that last week’s loss to the Seahawks was opening day jitters for a very young and inexperienced crew. The introduction to the NFL is over, and it’s time to get focused! Here we go.

#1 Special Teams:

Last week’s special teams play brought back haunting memories of the 2010 “Special Teams Debacle”. That year, the Chargers had one of the worst special teams meltdowns that the NFL has ever seen! It didn’t seem to matter how well Philip Rivers, or the defense played.. the special teams constantly left them with horrible field position, let a REALLY big play happen in every game, or just plain turned the ball over. In the Seattle matchup, our current unit gave up big returns, failed to make any returns of our own, and let Seattle get back in the game by giving them spectacular field position. That simply can’t happen this week. After Rich Bisaccia left for Dallas, we knew we were losing a good coach. We replaced him with ex-Cardinals special teams coach, Kevin Spencer. Spencer has been coaching for 23 years, so he is not new to the game. Him, and special teams Captain Darrell Stuckey MUST find a way to make this unit play better than it did last year. Also, somebody needs to step up, and break off a good return. Kicks were returned by just about every capable player on the team last week, and nobody really got the job done. We can’t afford another lack luster performance from this unit, even if it is only the second preseason game.

#2 Charlie Whitehurst:

It was painful to watch Charlie Whitehurst last Thursday. He has been in the game far too long to be giving up two interceptions on opening day. One could argue that he was running for his life behind an offensive line that played poorly, and his receivers (cough cough Meachem) were hanging him out to dry. Regardless, Whitehurst has to make better decisions with the ball. Throw it away, and don’t try to make too much happen, if the play isn’t there. He did have a couple of decent plays. But, at one point I saw him try to throw it away, and he bounced it off of his own player’s helmet, where it flew straight up into the air. The play wasn’t picked off, but that very well could have made it a 3 INT game for him. I will give him a mulligan, but you can only attribute so much to the poor play in front of him. He needs to have an amazing game this week, or Brad Sorensen will be put in sooner.. rather than later. Some fans are already calling for Sorensen to replace Clipboard, after only one successful drive. That is not good news for Whitehurst.

#3 Dumb Penalties:

Ed Hochuli was the official last week at Qualcom. Personally, I feel that he should never be allowed to ocall a Chargers game again. Clearly, the NFL does not share my sentiment. Every time Hochuli referees one of our games, I feel like we are fighting an uphill battle. He is the kind of guy that screws you with a HUGE call, and then tries to make up for it by calling two or three questionable penalties against the other team to make up for it, and try to make it look like he is calling a fair game… even though it will never be enough to fix the damage he has already done. Thursday night’s game had a lot of laundry on the field. I’m sure most of them were correct, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that he likes to hear himself over the loud speaker. Or, that he was trying to prove a point, as last year’s referee lockout led to some of the worst officiating ever seen. It’s TOTALLY a conspiracy theory, but I like to talk trash on Ed, because he deserves it.

As for our players, Johnny Troutman got dinged twice for penalties, and only had an average (at best) game. We are all looking to see this young man step up, and be the backup guard on this roster. Stupid penalties are something he has to get under control. I’ll give him a pass, because it’s the first NFL game he has played in forever. But, he has to clean his game up asap. Dombrowski also had a ridiculous personal foul penalty in the game. What makes it worse is that the penalty was tacked onto the end of a Whitehurst interception deep in our own territory. I don’t think he will make the roster, but putting our defense immediately on their heels, doesn’t give them much opportunity to show how good they can play, when they are scored upon so quickly. It would nice to be able to see what they can do, given good field position.

Those are a few areas I think we need to improve in. Please fill up the comments section with your own thoughts about how this team needs to get better. I am hoping that our 2nd and 3rd teams have a much better showing in Chicago, and we can stop worrying about the depth on this roster.

Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!

Peter Thompson


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Tags: Chicago Bears Jay Cutler Philip Rivers Preseason Schedule San Diego Chargers

  • joerockt

    I would say after last week’s performance, Sorensen deserves the backup spot. But if we get the same performances from both these guys, there really should be no question. CBJ was brought in by the old regime, so they really have no ties with him other than the 2 year contract signed last year.

  • AJ

    Just saw “The League” with Dwight freeney commercial. Pretty funny. Check it out. As per areas to improve, second team DB play. Also pretty excited to see brown and wood head play this weak. Our first team on both sides showed promise. Hope to see it continue and defence have a field day with Chicago’s right side o-line

  • GoBolts!

    I’d like to see what Fozzy can do behind the starting oline. Kid showed good potential running behind the 2nd string oline that struggled greatly. If Whitehurst gets a bit of a pass for having to play behind the 2nd string oline then Fozzy should get a little extra credit.

    • Gunnar Martin

      Totally agree with this.

      • joerockt

        I agree with your agreeing of this.

  • Cgoodness13

    I want to see CBJ go down hard….only to immediately rise up like this and call for a huddle

    • Peter Thompson

      If you could have photo-shopped a clipboard into this, that would have been epic!

      • Gunnar Martin

        Who still holds on to their clipboard when they’re out playing on the field? C’mon Pete, use some brains ;)

        I must concur though, that would’ve been epic.

        • Cgoodness13

          Well maybe that’s why he sucked so bad?

        • Peter Thompson

          Maybe he can throw at Robert Meachem when he hangs him out to dry!

  • Gunnar Martin

    I read somewhere that Jordan Mills (a fifth round pick that I researched pre-draft in case we got him) will be starting at right tackle for them instead of their regular starter. Go school the rookie, Dwight. Who knows, maybe Jay will throw another pick on their first offensive play of the game like last week. BOLT UP!!!

    • Peter Thompson

      That’s awesome! Weren’t they supposed to be fixing that o-line for him? Cutler should come out in a “Gazoo” sized helmet, to avoid concussions.. if he wants to make it through the season!

  • Gunnar Martin

    For that insanely dumb penalty he made, I will now call him Dumbrowski. Quite convenient, too, spelling-wise.

    • Peter Thompson

      I like it… been calling him Dumbo since he came in for McNeil in that Raiders game a couple of seasons ago. He was, and always has been a turn-style.

  • surge619er

    Go bolts

  • Sergio Quintero

    Things to Improve for me:
    - Time to find a 5th corner: With more teams doing the 5 WR formation, seems logical to carry a 5th corner.

    -2nd & 3rd string OLine: Time to raise the level of play, time to find the last 3-4 Olineman that make the roster.

    -Front 7 play from the backups: Its been talked about the lack of depth, so time to see some penetration and pass rush, there are roster spots available.

    Totally agree with your 3 points Pete.

  • ginodb

    First time reader and a relative newby to the world of NFL…(I’m Italian, so I apologise in advance if this may cause offence ;) ) my team is the Chargers for reasons unkown but to be honest, from everything I’ve seen and the stuff I’ve read we really need to work on our defensive coverage in short action games, Rivers just takes way too long to find a pass and isn’t getting the coverage expected… Oh well, I may have said something completely stupid, but in the meantime I’ll keep reading. Thanks for producing a great blog. G

    • Peter Thompson

      Welcome Gino! That’s what our new coach Mike McCoy is working on.. shorter & quicker passes for Rivers. The protection looked better last week to against the Seahawks. We will have to see how it goes tonight against The Bears. Thanks for reading!