Tale Of The Tape: San Diego Chargers At Jacksonville Jaguars
- QuarterbackThe Chargers have confidence in Philip Rivers, and he has a good working rapport with head coach Mike McCoy so far this season. Rivers has given in to huge emotional swings in the past, but he has kept his mind on his responsibilities and he has thrown the ball with accuracy this season. Rivers usually reads defense well and does not throw the ball in double coverage.The Jaguars are widely considered the worst team in the NFL, and they were 28-point underdogs to the Broncos last week. Chad Henne and his teammates seemed to gain a moral victory as they kept the game close through three quarters. Henne is a better alternative for head coach Gus Bradley than Blaine Gabbert, but he is merely a placeholder until the Jags find a legitimate quarterback.
- OffenseThe Chargers have a decent running attack because it can take the pressure off of Rivers. Ryan Matthews is not a breakaway threat, but he can make decent yards between the tackles. Tight end Antonio Gates has been playing well this year as he can go down the seam and make a big play. Keenan Allen is an emerging talent who can keep drives alive on third-down plays.The Jaguars may be able to hang around for a while because Justin Blackmon (hamstring and groin injuries, will play) has explosiveness and he knows how to get open. Blackmon has 19 passes for 326 yards and a touchdown in his first two games of the season. Maurice Jones-Drew has the versatility to complement Blackmon, but his 2.9 yards rushing average is a big disappointment.
- DefenseThe Chargers have struggled to stop opponents this year, and they have had their biggest problems when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter. Free safety Eric Weddle is a very active tackler who will sell out to break up passing plays. Keep your eye on outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, who can turn the corner and put pressure on the quarterback.The Jaguars are a lot more competent on defense than they are on offense. They rank 21st overall and 14th against the pass. Outside linebacker Paul Posluszny has 54 tackles, 9 passes defended and 2 interceptions this season. Strong safety John Cyprien is second with 41 stops and he also had 3 forced fumbles.
- Special TeamsThe Chargers have struggled with their special teams coverage this season, and that’s something that could give hope to their overmatched opponents. Nick Novak is a decent kicker, but he is not special. Punter Mike Scifres does an excellent job of dropping the ball inside his opponents’ 20.The Jags hustle on special teams and do a good job of covering kickoffs and punts. Josh Scobee has a strong leg and he has made all seven of his FG attempts this season. Bryan Anger has a long of 61 yards and he is averaging 46.8 yards per punt.
The Chargers are coming off a Monday night home game and they have to travel cross country to play the worst team in the league. They won’t be fired up and the Jags may find that this is their best opportunity to win a game until they host Arizona in Week 10. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor