When the San Diego Chargers welcome the New York Jets to Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, the man under center for the Jets will not be a familiar one to the Bolts defense. Greg McElroy was announced as the new starter in the Big Apple for week 16 and that forces the San Diego defense to make some adjustments in their preparation.
Considering the success that the other backup quarterback in New York (Tim Tebow) has had against the Chargers in the past, one may have thought he was the more likely candidate to take over for a struggling Mark Sanchez. The Jets instead chose to go with a relatively unknown commodity in the NFL thus far, but that says a lot about their situation as a franchise. Clearly the team doesn’t expect Tebow to be back in 2013 and they would love to move Sanchez’s monster contract in the offseason as well.
So where do the Chargers come into this equation?
Well, the Bolts have no way of preparing for McElroy which gives the Jets an immediate advantage, but defensive coordinator John Pagano will be sure to make the Jets new quarterback uncomfortable early and often on Sunday. This defense has been super-effective when blitzing during the season, but when that aggression wanes, opponents have the chance to regain their composure and pick this unit apart. Getting after McElroy is a must in this contest.
The one component that the Jets have on offense that could prevent the Chargers from just pinning their ears back and blitzing during this game is running back Shonn Greene. In the past, Greene has been able to run quite well against the Bolts and running against the blitz can be awfully rewarding. Pagano will have to plan his blitzes accordingly and be careful not to get caught being overly aggressive on running downs.
This game may be inherently useless to the playoff race and the overall scheme of things in the NFL, but the Bolts will surely use the film from this game to make personnel evaluations in the offseason. McElroy getting the start could be the chance for some Chargers defender to make a name for himself. Expect the Bolts to be aggressive in this game defensively and throw a variety of different looks in an attempt to confuse the inexperienced man under center.
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