Chargers Report Card Week 1

After suffering through a 27-14 defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs, it is time to hand out the grades to the San Diego Chargers. Despite being down 24-0 at halftime, the team had its chances. At the same token, the Bolts should have lost by 50.

Quarterbacks:

Drew Brees played well in the loss. Most of his passes were on target and his pocket awareness saved the Bolts valuable yardage. Brees went 18-33 for 202 yards, was sacked three times, and threw two touchdowns and two interceptions. The interceptions were not his fault and behind big, with the Chiefs thinking pass all the way, he still found completions.

Grade: B+

Running Backs:

LaDainian Tomlinson was out of rhythm quick. Behind in the game early, the Chargers could not establish a running game. LT ran just 13 times for 34 yards and had five receptions for 27 yards. On successive short yardage situations he was dropped behind the line.

Lorenzo Neal got a first down on his first attempt in short yardage and had one catch for –4 yards. He was not the lead blocker many envisioned when the Chargers signed him. He missed two blitz assignments, which from a veteran such as he, is not something that is expected.

Grade: D

Wide Receivers:

David Boston was non-existent. Trying to hammer people out of his stance, he looked more like a linebacker in coverage. He fell down a few times trying to make the perfect move. Reche Caldwell was simply terrible. He missed more passes than the rest of the team combined and had a team high 10 passes go his way. Eric Parker caught a touchdown pass and showed the same fire and hunger that got him the job last year. In all, the receivers dropped too many passes in critical situations and Caldwell alone was at fault on Brees' interceptions. Eric Parker made a great catch in the end zone to allow the receivers to escape a total failing grade.

Grade: D-

Tight Ends:

Josh Norman caught four passes for 64 yards with a touchdown. He led the Bolts in receiving and didn't drop a pass. Justin Peelle's most notable accomplishment was a special teams tackle in the second quarter. Peelle was in there to block and he didn't perform well. He could not seal off the corner on several plays and was not his usual stand out self in the blocking game.

Grade: B

Offensive Line:

In a word: Terrible. In short yardage, they got no push against the Chiefs defense. In pass protection they had more holes than Swiss cheese. Damion McIntosh played his worst game as a pro. Jason Ball did not play well against stunts and the rest of the line was mediocre at best.

Grade: F

Defensive Line:

Adrian Dingle was one of the better Chargers on the field today, credited with two sacks. Marcellus Wiley was not. Wiley was manhandled for much of the day. Opposing teams are realizing this fact: simply push the end up field and you will have all day in the pocket to throw as no pressure came from the middle. With ends so far upfield, screen passes went for huge gains.

Grade: D

Linebackers:

Ben Leber was pushed around by the offensive line, Zeke Moreno was invisible and Donnie Edwards did not make the plays we got used to last year. The worst part about their play was not covering up screen passes to Priest Holmes. That opened up a whole new game for the Chiefs.

Grade: D

Secondary:

Split between man to man and zone they were confused. Run support was suspect and ultimately they were weak in every facet of the game when it counted in the first half. A touchdown came on a missed assignment between the two young starting cornerbacks and when they played man they had to worry about crossing routes and hitting into other players. It may have been a bit much to ask for the secondary. The pick by Jammer was unreal (good).

Grade: D

Special Teams:

Steve Christie got the ball to inside the 10 on kickoffs. Not great, but not bad. The Chiefs started those drives on the 31 yard line on average. Darren Bennett was consistent averaging just over 43 yards per kick and the punt coverage was excellent. Eric Parker was again dynamic and had a 41 yard punt return called back. Tim Dwight averaged over 25 yards per return on kickoffs. Penalties remain a concern for special teams.

Grade: B-

Coaching:

Can't blame the coaches for all the receivers dropping balls, and can't blame them for Damion McIntosh. Drew Brees coached himself out of the pocket to make plays. The playcalling on third and short was predictable and costly. The defense did not show any surprising looks in the first half and the vanilla got chocolate sauce poured all over it. Still it is not up to the coaches to tackle, the players just missed them. If anything, the team was not prepared for the brutal crowd at Arrowhead or the fast pace the Chiefs came out with. That ill-preparation was the dooming of the Bolts.

Grade: C-

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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