Jake Locker has gotten a pretty bad rap throughout the NFL thus far in his young career. While his numbers have been less than stellar – 55.6 career completion percentage – the blame doesn’t fall solely on him. The Tennessee Titans have failed to surround him with a solid supporting cast since he took over the reigns under center, but the San Diego Chargers will still have to be wary of the former first round pick in their Week 3 meeting.
Mobile quarterbacks have always given the Chargers fits. Now Michael Vick didn’t exactly prove that theory correct with his meager 34 yards on five carries last week, but he didn’t exactly disprove it either as 6.8 yards per carry is nothing to sneeze at. Vick’s veritable cast of weapons certainly helped him and the Philadelphia Eagles make the game a week ago a nail biter, and the Chargers really had no answer for DeSean Jackson or LeSean McCoy on the afternoon.
One could easily make the case that the Titans have a similar repertoire of skill players at their disposal with the speedster in the backfield in Chris Johnson and the guys catching passes on the edge in Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker. This team has plenty that should worry the Bolts, and defensive coordinator John Pagano realizes that as he told the team’s website:
“They’re heavily reliable on that running game (but) you can’t go to sleep on the pass. Between Britt and (Wright), they have a lot of targets and a lot of weapons.”
Where Tennessee improved the most this past offseason, however, was in the trenches as their young offensive line is quite impressive. Pagano went on to mention them as well saying:
“The offensive line’s a great offensive line. It’s a physical offensive line. They go to work every day and they’re productive. That’s what they count on and that’s why you see the success that they’ve had early in the season.”
Thankfully the Chargers have some guys in the trenches that have been steady this year with Corey Liuget, Cam Thomas, and Kendall Reyes. These guys will be tasked with occupying blockers in order to free up the linebackers to fly to the football and make plays. San Diego allowed a massive amount of yardage to Philly last week as the Eagles piled up 511 total net yards on the day, but in the end the defense made just enough plays to get the win.
While history is certainly on San Diego’s side as they hold a ridiculous 262 to 123 scoring advantage over the Titans in their previous nine meetings, these two teams have several different pieces even from their meeting last September when the Bolts throttled Tennessee 38-10. Pagano certainly recognizes that this will be no walk in the park for San Diego to get a victory on Sunday as he said:
“We’ve got to show up and play. This is a good football team. We’re going on the road; this is their home opener. We’ve known the type of battles we’ve been in down there and we’re expecting the same from them. It’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
Hopefully the Bolts are up to the task of stopping yet another dynamic offense with a shifty running back and a mobile quarterback in Week 3.