Midseason Report Card

The Chargers have been one of the most interesting teams in the league this year. There inconsistency has led them to a 4-4 record and a three way tie for 1st place in the AFC West. But before they take on the Raiders tonight, here are the Chargers mid season report card.

Quarterbacks – “B” – Entering the season, the Chargers were returning their number one ranked offense from a year ago and leading their high powered offense was Philip Rivers. Rivers considered an elite QB, has not performed well this year. He’s on pace for his 4th straight 4,000 yard passing season but his efficiency can’t just be judged in passing yards. Where it matters most, Rivers has only thrown 11 touchdowns and has thrown 14 interceptions. Rivers only threw 13 passes to the other team last year. Luckily, Rivers can rewrite the 1st half with a strong 2nd half and lead the Chargers to the post season.

Running backs – “B+” – The running backs have been affective both in the passing game and running game. If he can stay healthy, Ryan Mathews looks like he will finish around the 1000 yard mark. But the rushing attacked (ranked 16th in the NFL) hasn’t been wear they have been needed the most. In the passing game, Mike Tolbert ranks 2nd on the team with 32 catches (two behind Vincent Jackson for the lead) and Mathews ranks 3rd with 30 catches. Look for the Chargers to continue to lean on their backs out of the backfield which will hopefully open up the long ball for their receivers.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends – “C+” – I have high expectations for this group and they have underperformed thus far this season. Antonio Gates needs to stay healthy. He is a match-up nightmare and needs to be on the field. Vincent Jackson who looks to continue on his last weeks performance (7 receptions, 141 yards, 3 touchdowns) must step up with Malcolm Floyd down the stretch. This is still an offense that can be deadly if it is clicking and if Rivers turns it around, his targets will follow.

Offensive Line – “B” – The Chargers o-line has not been their problems on offense this year. Yes they can approve in run blocking but that’s not what this offense is based on. Rivers has been sacked 19 times which puts them ranked 18th. The bottom line is that Rivers needs time to get the ball to his weapons.

Defensive Line – “B-” The Chargers are allowing 120 rushing yards a game. To improve this, the Chargers need to win the battle at the the line of scrimmage so that their linebackers in their 3-4 scheme can get in the backfield.

Linebackers -” C+” – The linebackers are the best core the Chargers have on defense and like the receivers, they have under performed. Although, Takeo Spikes and Donald Butler are on their way to 100 tackle seasons, Shaun Phillips and Travis LaBoy have not done their job getting to the quarterback.

Secondary – “B+” – Take out last weeks game against Green Bay and this secondary has actually played pretty well. Eric Weddle is playing great and he is leading the Chargers secondary.

Special Teams – “B” – The special teams have performed well. Nick Novak has filled in nicely for Nate Kaeding and if the return game was better, they would have earned a better grade.

Coaching – “B-” – Its tough to give a low grade to the Chargers but Norv Turner has under coached this year. The keys to the second half will be the play of Rivers and the coaching of Turner.

A Look Ahead – The Chargers play a big Thursday night game which will be for the division lead against the Raiders. On there remaining schedule, the Chargers take on Oakland (x2), Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Buffalo, and Jacksonville. I still think they will win this division and finish 10-6.

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