Chargers Report Card: New York Jets

Just so it is clear. When running backs and tight ends catch the ball on the outside or in the short zones in the middle of the field it is not usually the fault of the secondary. A few big plays plagued them but otherwise they were solid for most of the game. The offensive line was not so offensive on Sunday versus a Jets defensive front that has some talent on it. They will continue to prove the harshest critics wrong.

QUARTERBACKS:

Drew Brees had one yard at halftime and with 9:02 left in the third quarter he had more interceptions than passing yards. LaDainian Tomlinson pumped up his passing stats with a two yard catch that turned into a 59 yard reception. Brees had countless overthrows of open receivers. Doug Flutie played in one series and got the team in the end zone. He converted two fourth downs of ten yards or more. A sparkplug indeed.

Grade: D-

RUNNING BACKS:

LaDainian Tomlinson was taken out of the game early when the Jets went up by fourteen but still managed to get significant yards. He had 163 yards from scrimmage. He was credited with two fumbles, one that he recovered and one that went out of bounds. It was uncharacteristic of Tomlinson.

Grade: B

WIDE RECEIVERS:

Reche Caldwell may have broken the hex. He had four receptions and zero drops. Eric Parker had two drops and looked nothing like the sure handed receiver of the past. Kassim Osgood had one reception and missed another on the sidelines that he should have had. Tim Dwight was barely used as a receiver – still bothered by his hamstring. The Chargers faced four rookies on defense and two in the secondary but could not come up with plays.

Grade: C-

TIGHT ENDS:

Antonio Gates snared four passes but dropped a crucial one in the third quarter. He had one reception before the Chargers final drive of the game. He also committed his fifth penalty of the year. Gates wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in week one on the receiving end and it showed based on the 11 passes thrown his way.

Grade: C-

OFFENSIVE LINE:

Faced with the tough task of keeping the New York Jets defensive line at bay, the line did a commendable job. The one sack they did allow was due to a breakdown on the entire line. Doug Flutie avoided one sack with his diminutive status. They completely missed another blitz from the safeties and it cost Brees a concussion. Besides those plays, the line gave the starting quarterbacks enough time to make plays. While Brees was harassed on other plays, he still had enough time to make an educated decision. The run push improved on the outside. The pulls were better from the interior linemen than week one. Runs going left provided the most consistent yardage while the middle of the line was not getting the push they needed, save the Chargers second series. Nick Hardwick had his hands full helping out on Dewayne Robertson and it freed up the linebackers to make plays at the line of scrimmage. When Hardwick did help out on Robertson it left Jason Ferguson free to make plays, sliding off Mike Goff blocks. Shaun Ellis also proved the victor in his run penetration matchup with Shane Olivea who was solid in pass protection. The Chargers rarely ran to the right side because of it.

Grade: B

DEFENSIVE LINE:

The Chargers looked undersized against the Jets line. They did not get to Chad Pennington at all and he picked them apart. The run defense wasn't much better with DeQuincy Scott the only player to get penetration which wasn't often enough. The line did not free up its linebackers to make enough plays and no one needed to be double-teamed.

Grade: D

LINEBACKERS:

Without Stephen Cooper who entered the game late, the unit was atrocious. Cooper provided solid run support but was weak in pass coverage over the middle. Donnie Edwards was solid again but has not come up with a big play. Steve Foley was disabled by a good offensive line. He came nowhere near the quarterback. Ben Leber has yet to step up and show he should be starting on a consistent basis. Want a sure touchdown against San Diego? Line up in a goalline set and target the tight end or fullback out of the backfield. He will be wide open. The Chargers have never been able to cover that play. Never – and the linebackers are responsible.

Grade: D

SECONDARY:

Didn't Quentin Jammer turn a corner? He must not have realized he was outside the five yard barrier against Santana Moss. Jammer had a tough time keeping up with Moss but was solid when matched up against Justin McCareins. The Jets tried to work McCareins against Davis and Davis was up to the task. He shut him down and kept him to two catches. Davis also showed he could tackle when he needed to. Jerry Wilson got beat deep on a go route. The secondary kept the Jets offense to seven receptions but three went for big yardage.

Grade: B

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Tim Dwight went from looking ugly to looking like a superstar. His first two kickoffs were terrible and had many asking why he was out there. The next kickoff was exactly why. He returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. He averaged 20 yards on his other six kickoffs but his ability to break the big one is what will keep him out there. Mike Scifres turned Moss into a non-threat. He didn't work with distance but he kept his hang-time up and caused Moss to call for two fair catches. The one return he did have went two yards. The coverage unit was much more impressive. They did allow a 27 yard return on a short kickoff from Nate Kaeding. Nate Kaeding was far better kicking off this week. He had two that reached the end zone. Scifres attempt at the onside kick was weak. He got the ball in the air but it was way too far down the field for the Chargers to make a play on the ball.

Grade: B+

COACHING:

The defense was weak against the run and the only change they made was personnel when Cooper replaced an injured Randall Godfrey. Not gameplanning for the Jets use of backs in the passing game was astounding. Schottenheimer failing to try and get an ailing Drew Brees started with one of his few strengths – the two minute drill – left many scratching their heads. Down 17-7 they could have made a strong statement with any semblance of a drive. They ran instead since they did not want a turnover. Too conservative. How Brees lasted two more series when he was woozy is beyond comprehension. Many who make those kind of mistakes in a job would be fired on the spot. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron failed in this regard of his management skills. Not relaying his thoughts to his superior is a crucial error.

Grade: D


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