After last week’s impressive showing by the San Diego Chargers on defense with 11 sacks of New York Jets’ QB Greg McElroy, the Bolts look to finish the season on a similar note against the Oakland Raiders. Defensive coordinator John Pagano will look to keep bringing the heat against their division rivals this week especially given Oakland’s uncertainty at the quarterback position. Regardless of which backup is under center for the Raiders on Sunday, they should expect to be harassed mercilessly by the Chargers defense.
Pagano was on fire last week against a third-stringer in McElroy and this weekend the Bolts defense will face another third string signal caller. Terrelle Pryor was handed the reigns for the by Raiders coach Dennis Allen on Friday and this will be his first career start. This decision is not all that surprising given the fact that starter Carson Palmer is out with a rib injury and the backup is Matt Leinart.
What this suggests is that the Raiders fancy their chances with a mobile quarterback going up against the Chargers and why shouldn’t they? The Bolts have historically been tormented by signal callers with mobility and Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton exposed that vulnerability just two short weeks ago.
How this decision factors in to Pagano’s ability to apply pressure is somewhat unknown at the moment. Rushing a mobile quarterback is a much more difficult task being that players can be aiming for the pocket on their rush, but when they arrive, the target has already escaped. When asked about Oakland and their personnel, Pagano said: “They are very explosive in the run game, and they have receivers and tight ends who can change the game.”
San Diego has to hope that their rush is still effective against the Raiders even with the mobile Pryor under center. Pagano loved his defense’s success at getting home on the rush last week as he said: “It lets us be able to play in drop coverage.” That is how this Chargers’ defense is most successful and even though there may not be a typical quarterback as the opposition this Sunday, they should still try to implement this strategy.
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