Once again this week, I crossed over into enemy territory for very good reason. I wanted to get to know the San Diego Chargers better since this is the Broncos first meeting of the year with them. I asked Ernie Padaon from Bolt Beat some questions about the team he knows inside and out. His answers are below. Additionally, he asked me some questions about our beloved Broncos. To read my answers, go here.
1. The Chargers are notorious for their late season runs. They’ve won two in a row going into their bye week. Do you believe this Chargers team will make the playoffs this year?
I think that the schedule was laid out perfectly for us to make another one of our trademark late season runs to the playoffs. There are still a lot of divisional games left for us to play, but we have a lot of home games and we are starting to build up on the confidence. The division is there for us to take back and it starts this week against you guys. I feel that we will close it out and win the next 7 games to end the season.
2. This is the Chargers first season without LaDanian Tomlinson in nine years. Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews have kept the ground game going, however. Do you see these two backs as the future of the Bolts’ backfield?
Both those guys will be our future at the running back position. Ryan Mathews will be the main back for the future and he has shown a lot of potential for his first season. He still has to work on handling the ball, but this is sometimes an issue with new backs in the league (Adrian Peterson). He also needs to shy away from injuries; he has had a nagging ankle injury for most of the season. When he learns how to hold onto the ball, he will see a lot of action and make some huge plays for the Chargers.
3. The Chargers are normally known for their high powered offense. What do you attribute their defensive success to this year?
I think that the defensive numbers are slightly a mirage. The numbers are a little skewed without poor punt and kickoff coverage and also with our high turnover ratio. When you allow the opposing team to start at 30 yard line going in, there just is not a lot of yards to chew up from there. There has been good play from our defensive tackle Antonio Garay and middle linebacker Kevin Burnett to help out in the defense though. The corners have played well in coverage, BUT we need to provide a little more pressure on the QB to help them out.
4. How do you see the Chargers’ #3 ranked passing defense stopping Kyle Orton and his #2 ranked passing offense?
We will need to provide some pressure on Kyle Orton. Any QB in this league will pick a defense apart if they have all day to throw the ball. Shaun Phillips has been having a career year without the presence of Shawne Merriman on the other side and he will have to put Orton on the ground a couple of times. Big Antonio Garay has 4 sacks as a defensive tackle and provides pressure right up in the face of opposing QBs. Antwan Barnes was signed in the middle of the season and has been able to provide some pressure as well. We are hoping that 1st round draft pick, Larry English, will be able to participate in the game and provide some pressure as well.
5. Who wins the game and why?
I have to select the Chargers to win this game. First off, we are at home and will have the support of the home crowd. Secondly, we are known for our second half success and that provides the team with a lot of confidence. We are coming off a BYE week and have had a couple of weeks to prepare for you guys and we will be fresh. We are getting healthy and should have all our weapons on offense available for us to pick you all apart. Chargers win!
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