If Broncos fans are thinking of how the offense is going to match up with the Chargers D, the San Diego papers are thinking about the same thing. This morning’s Union-Tribune ran a page 1 (Sports, of course – there’s another section of the paper?) article on the verities and weaknesses of the Charger D.
First in their sights was the play of Matt Wilhelm, the (currently) much maligned ILB. He acknowledged that right now, he’s been,
“…tentative at times, a step behind or out of the play.”
Wilhelm also noted,
“Do I like that I’m not the surest tackler right now, in Week 1? No.”
Derek Smith is still learning their defensive concept and scheme, and is sometimes caught out of position. Luis Castillo and Jamal Williams were, at times in the CAR game, pushed around, a rarity for the Charger D. Williams knees are a problem (although he’s listed as probably for the game) and he will miss some series during the Denver game, as he will all season or as long as he can go.
As we know from HT’s great article on the 3-4 Defense, at least two of the linemen must occupy two O linemen to make the scheme work properly. Right now, the Chargers aren’t accomplishing that. And,
“…too many communication errors are making everyone try to do too much instead of just doing they own jobs.”
It’s not all that much better on the offensive side of the ball. Marcus McNeill is out with a bulging disk that is responding slowly and Nick Hardwick is starting to practice (much like Tom Nalen) but is not ready to go. The difference in the center position between the two teams is that Shanahan and Co. saw this coming and brought in Casey Weigman, who has been everything we could ask of a backup center.
Clinton Hart, SS was elevated to captain in the wake of Shawne Merriman’s season ending surgery. LD Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie are listed as questionable, but both say they intend to play. Antonio Gates is probable.
The Chargers are a dinged up team, and it’s only Week 2. There are a lot of weaknesses for the Broncos to exploit on both sides of the ball. If the Charger O line can’t open the holes for LDT, if Gates is still a step slow or if their D continues to break down, it’s going to be Broncos, 31 – 27.