As good as the effort and intensity levels were for the Chargers last week, they were equally as bad Friday night in Seattle. Yes, it’s just the preseason, and in the long run, no one is going to remember this game, but Mike McCoy will not be happy with how flat his team was going up against the defending Super Bowl champions.
San Diego looked like a team that didn’t want to tip their hand. Personally, what I am most frustrated about is the limited snap count for Philip Rivers. I get it, you didn’t want to show the Seahawks your best stuff, but I feel this game was a wasted opportunity for the Bolts. The Chargers head signal-caller only played one series before getting pulled for Kellen Clemens. Against the loudest environment in the NFL, I would have liked to see him test out the new, up-tempo offense a little more extensively. There would have been no better place to work on the non-verbal signals and communication it takes to effectively run this scheme. Rivers gained a first down with a beautiful throw to Malcom Floyd (who looks really good) on his only drive, but was forced off the field after a incompletion to Keenan Allen — a throw on which Allen was mugged. The officiating wasn’t great, but it had nothing to do with the Chargers’ lackluster performance.
What’s of higher concern is the defense. Pass coverage wasn’t good, but I still have high hopes for this unit. I think when Dwight Freeney is back, Jason Verrett is on the field and the secondary gets some time to play together, the defense will defend the pass much better in 2014. However, the run defense looked extremely shaky for the second straight week. Manti Te’o and Donald Butler don’t seem to be on the same page. Amidst some miscommunications, Robert Turbin torched the defense for 81 yards on 12 carries. To make matters worse, Seattle quarterbacks combined for 99 yards on 13 carries including four rushing touchdowns. I don’t know what it is, but John Pagano hasn’t seemed to figure out how to stop the running quarterback.
Unforunately, as a fan, you go into tonight hoping to see some of the young players show their stuff. When the Bolts fell behind 24-0, the pace of play didn’t favor getting a chance to see depth players shine. Regardless, there is NO need to overreact to this game. It’s just the preseason. The best player in a San Diego uniform only played six snaps tonight. This is a valuable teaching moment for Mike McCoy. And don’t forget, the Chargers have a chance to get back at Seattle in week 2.
There were positives tonight, along with some other quick notes…
-WR, Javontee Herndon played with a lot of urgency and is pushing to make the roster. He finished with two catches for 22 yards, but showed a high-level of effort.
– TE, Ladarius Green looked ready to take on a heavy load as he was key in the Chargers first scoring drive.
– OG, Chris Watt got his first experience in the NFL. While it wasn’t pretty early, we will have to look at the film in order to get a better feel for how he played.
– The Branden Oliver/Marion Grice battle didn’t progress much tonight. I thought Grice looked good on his limited carries — admittedly, better than Oliver — but #43 made an excellent special teams tackle late in the first half. It’s plays like those that can win roster spots.
– S, Jahleel Addae, and DT, Sean Lissemore, were both injured during the game. You have to hope neither are serious as both players will be vital to the Bolts defensive success.
– LB, Manti Te’o was the team leader with six tackles.
Overall, it was a disappointing performance for the Chargers. However, it will be more important how they respond next week against the 49ers. The effort level in San Francisco will tell us a lot about this team moving forward.