The first order of business for the San Diego Chargers in their Week 1 tilt against the Houston Texans has already been established in stopping Arian Foster. But an offensive goal for the Bolts in their opener should be to better insulate their own quarterback, Philip Rivers, and keep him from hitting the turf with such frequency this season.
Rivers has been adamant that he doesn’t need fixed entering this season, but the numbers certainly suggest otherwise. Rivers’ 47 turnovers during the past two seasons are absolutely unacceptable and won’t lead to many wins on Sundays. The number that often goes overlooked when discussing those giveaways is the amount of sacks that have occurred during that same time period, 79.
There’s no doubt the new-look San Diego offensive line will face a stern test in the opener against J.J. Watt and the Texans on Monday night. Watt led the NFL with a staggering 20.5 sacks a year ago and was a disruptive force in nearly every game last season. The Chargers are entrusting Rivers’ blindside to King Dunlap this season after a training camp competition between he and Max Starks determined the starter at left tackle. That assignment against Watt will be a crucial battle for San Diego if they want to provide their man under center with enough time to deliver accurate throws down the field.
Establishing some semblance of a running game will certainly aid the club’s cause as well after last year saw next to nothing out of the San Diego ground attack. The Bolts averaged just 91.3 yards per game which ranked 27th in the league last season, and their paltry yards per carry of just 3.6 tied them for second to last. If opposing defenses are unable to just pin their ears back and come after the quarterback play after play, the physicality for the Chargers should wear on them.
Monday night will be the dawning of a new era in Chargers football, and that rising sun should bring with it some optimism offensively. Head coach Mike McCoy is an offensive guy, and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has had a very successful career in working with quarterbacks. Cutting down on the turnovers for Rivers is clearly top priority heading into the 2013 campaign, and it is going to take a team effort to get this team back to where it belongs.