With the Los Angeles Chargers at seven losses already, there is nothing more to lose. It’s either win out or nothing. So perhaps it is time to unleash everything they have.
Can you name the last Chargers receiver outside of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen to catch a football? The answer is Jason Moore, Week 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, caught a 10-yard in route to put the Chargers closer to the end zone.
What about the last time you saw a trick play? No clue. Because they haven’t run a trick play all season long. Do you know who ran a trick play? The New England Patriots, this past weekend. Because their offense couldn’t capitalize in the red zone decided to pull out the good ol’ double pass from Julian Edelman to Phillip Dorsett.
Jason Moore (Pre-Snap Arrow) Just running a seam in between the Cover 2 Invert (3 Arrows), Safety comes up to make a play at the sticks (Red Box)
Bush should be the one to cover this route in theory, unless they really emphasized "protect the sticks" here.
Should be a TD. pic.twitter.com/9HrIamULiH
— Jason Balliet II (@Syntari13) October 17, 2019
The Patriots are a successful football team, and they were struggling, so they got creative. You love to see it. What you hate to see, is the Chargers abandon all creativity and ask their aging quarterback to sling it.
That is what you hate to see. Instead of taking notes of what the Patriots do with their aging quarterback, the Chargers are putting the entire season on Philip Rivers‘ shoulders when they don’t have to.
You see, it might not seem this way, but the Chargers have one of the top five rosters in football. They have three very good running backs, an elite tight end, an elite wide receiver, a young wideout who caught 10 touchdown passes last season, and a fullback that remains undefeated when he gets 10+ snaps. That is just the offense, yet this is one of the worst offenses in the league. Why? Because it has no identity.
The Patriots have an identity. Run, check it down, play it safe, let your defense do the work. When the opponent gets confident, air it out, rinse and repeat. They do this to protect Tom Brady, and they protect Brady because Brady isn’t even a top 10 quarterback in the league anymore. Yet, he and the Patriots continue to succeed because they know their limitations.
The Chargers need to know their limitations. When is the last time you saw a screen pass to Keenan Allen? It’s been a long time. So, the Chargers need to throw all their cards on the table. Meaning what? Meaning they need to get every playmaker a chance to make a play. Sound simple? It should be simple, but the Chargers are desperately struggling to find a way to balance this out and make it work.
One game, you’ll see Henry have a good performance. Next week, it will be Melvin Gordon, then Austin Ekeler, then Allen. Rarely do we see all of them perform together as a unit to create a successful, productive offense.
This is a problem, and it is a problem the Chargers ignore. This last week, Shane Steichen, the Chargers offensive coordinator, pointed to how many offensive weapons there are on the Chargers. It is something Ken Whisenhunt also often stated, along the lines of, “This week it might be Keenan, this week it might be Mike, and last week it was Hunter.”
That should not be an okay thing to hear from a coordinator. As a coordinator, you want to get your offense moving together as a unit. You want the defense to account for each and every one of your pieces. The Chargers remain stubborn.
If the game plan is to feed Gordon, it remains that way despite the outcome. Ekeler won’t become the focus until the next week. The Chargers made it a priority to target Williams in the red zone this season, and yet when he is double covered, they still make an effort to target him. So what gives?
The Chargers don’t understand how to take what the defense is giving them. They don’t understand their limitations.
Last year, they could afford to ignore these limitations because Tyrell Williams was there to command a lot of the attention over the top. His talent leaving Los Angeles was far too easily ignored.
Now, the Chargers are trying to use Williams in that same role, and it has not kicked off. Rather than change the offense to work around the weapons they have, or even try a different receiver such as Moore to make a play, they remain stubborn.
One problem with both Rivers, and the offense as a whole, has been taking what the defense gives them. This was a good start.
In prior weeks, we probably see Mike Williams on a post, Patton on a crosser, Allen on a drag, Henry on a seam, and Ekeler leak out for the check down. pic.twitter.com/J9xp1yF0RE
— Jason Balliet II (@Syntari13) November 22, 2019
To put all the cards on the table doesn’t just mean to run a trick play, or to give Moore more snaps. It doesn’t mean to replace the talent that leaves with more talent, rather than ignoring the departure.
It doesn’t mean to adjust the entire offensive scheme to account for the limitations of Rivers. It means to do all of those things and more. Throw to all your weapons, make them all a centerpiece.
Make the offense a well-oiled machine. If the Chargers can’t do that, if they can’t find that identity, then perhaps it is time for a big change on the roster, the coaching staff, and the organization as a whole.
Moving forward, you have to expect the Chargers to find a way to get this offense to click. It’s getting closer, but they don’t understand the limitations. The second these limitations are accounted for, the sooner those limitations become obsolete, and the offense can be allowed to be what fans expected it to be.