Breaking down Pre-Season opener vs. Seattle

Chargers-vs.-Seahawks

The 2013-2014 NFL season is officially underway. After waiting for what seems like forever, NFL football is finally back within the comfort of our homes. The Chargers started off this year with a pre-season opener at Qualcomb Stadium facing the Seattle Seahawks.

The Chargers had some signs of improvement, however, this game was only a pre-season one and the possibilities are endless of what could happen over the length of a whole season.

The starting offense’s opening (and only) drive turned out to be quite impressive. While they did not score a touchdown, Philip Rivers was confident and Ryan Matthews as well. They were able to drive down the field seventy-four yards resulting in a Nick Novak 28 yard field goal attempt, which like always, was right through the uprights. They had a very good mix of run and pass plays. Philip Rivers was 5-of-6 for 45 yards often taking quick three-step drops to avoid the defensive pass rush of Seattle. On the ground Ryan Matthews had three carries for nineteen yards. Matthews also converted a fourth-down conversion to keep the drive alive.

The offensive line showed major improvements from last year. Philip Rivers had nothing but good things to say about the front five, although he also said no one should get carried away. He felt that the pocket he had was great. He had plenty of time and as a result he had a very clean and impressive first series for a franchise player on the hot seat. Ryan Matthews also benefited from the offensive line play. He had a solid first series highlighted by a a 4th and 1 conversion. Matthews leapt over two defensive tackles and while expecting contact in the air, he got none. He got back up to his feet and fought for more yards while Seattle defenders drug him down.

 The Chargers first string defense also impressed, forcing two punts on both of their two series. They were able to get consistent pressure on second year quarterback Russell Wilson, forcing him out of the pocket a number of times. Dwight Freeney was most consistent as he bull rushed through opposing lineman and showed some fancy spin moves, clarifying he still has gas in the tank.

Rookie Manti Te’o also played for the first defensive group. However, for being highly spoken of during camp he did not impress and I personally did not feel confident about him on the field. He was subbed out on guranteed pass plays. It was only one game, a pre-season game, so there might not be anything at all to worry about. However, if there is one player I will keep my eye on this season its Manti Te’o.

Te’o will miss this weeks game against Chicago with a sprained foot. The injury is minor. He will play it safe and has elected to sit out.

Danario Alexander has torn his ACL and is out for the season. It seems like he can’t catch a break. After a huge breakout season last year it looked as though he would be one of the top receiver choices for this years Pro Bowl.

Danario’s injury clears room for other receivers to pick up the slack. Vincent Brown will most likely take Alexander’s place and Malcolm Floyd has locked up his spot as a starter opposite of Brown. Rookie Keenan Allen will also be counted on to step up as Robert Meachem is still not being productive with the minutes he gets on the field. Keenan Allen is accepting the challenge and had two catches for thirteen yards in limited action during Thursday nights pre-season game.

Robert Meachem in his second year with the Chargers only had fourteen catches for 207 yards. Robert was the so called “alternative” for Vincent Jackson, after Jackson was waived and later signed with the Buccaneers. The Chargers were better off paying more money for Vincent Jackson than going with Meachem. His contract is probably the only thing keeping him on the 53 man roster.

I hate to begin this topic, it has to be said though. Charlie Whitehurst was horrendous Thursday night. He was 7-of-15 for 59 yards, he was sacked three times losing seventeen yards and had two INT’s with no touchdown pass. He’s played eights season in the NFL, six with the Chargers.

On a positive note, Brad Sorensen impressed many fans. Brad Sorensen (current third-string quarterback) is a rookie, he was drafted in the seventh-round of this years draft from Southern Utah. During Thursday’s game he was 8-of-11 for 86 yards, sacked one time losing seven yards, and one touchdown. No interceptions.

Sorensen is looking to give Whitehurst a run for his money. Once secured by Charlie Whitehurst, the second string quarterback will most likely be up for grabs. Whoever can prove more during these next few weeks will most likely find themselves the second-string quarterback behind Philip Rivers. Granted, Sorensen is young and Whitehurst has more experience. The difference is maybe Sorensen can improve his game as he gets older. Whitehurst is a veteran who has little chance of improving. Only time will tell how this unexpected position battle shapes up.

Although the scoreboard said otherwise, the Chargers first Pre-Season game was a success. It’s obvious that the Chargers second and third strings are worse than that of Seattle’s. However, the first string of offense and defense showed glimpses of greatness Thursday night. Let us hope that the football gods will continue to bless the Chargers for their hard work and patience, over the last three playoff deprived seasons.

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