The San Diego Chargers have enjoyed quite a nice stretch of success against the Indianapolis Colts over the past decade. With five wins in their past six battles with Indy, it seems easy to say that the Bolts have the number of the guys in horseshoed helmets. But their last meeting came all the way back in 2010 when a guy named Peyton Manning was calling the shots under center. This time around, the Chargers will have a whole new quarterback to have to try and fluster.
And rattling Andrew Luck won’t be an easy task for the Bolts. Certainly the best way to get into a quarterback’s head is to get pressure on him, but the Chargers haven’t been the best at doing that this season with a modest 13 sacks so far ranking in the middle of the NFL.
While he may not be fleet of foot by any stretch, Luck is capable of picking up yards with his legs which could bite the Bolts if the play breaks down. Still, making him uncomfortable and bringing pressure from all different angles is going to be key to masking what has been an inefficient defense so far in 2013. Putting Luck under pressure will also allow a suspect secondary to cover for shorter periods of time and give them a better chance at success.
What defensive coordinator John Pagano does better than most in the league is design schemes to maximize the talent of his personnel. The Bolts might not have a list of Pro Bowlers taking the field on defense, but the guys they do have are organized and take care of their assignments. This will be a critical element to getting a win over the Colts’ 13th ranked offense on Sunday.
Two players that could finally have their much anticipated coming out parties of 2013 this week are defensive ends Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget. Expectations were high for both guys coming into the season, but neither one have done much to date with just one sack apiece. Indy’s offensive line is somewhat vulnerable inside, and in the 3-4 scheme that the Chargers run, getting Liuget or Reyes coming on stunts or twists up the middle could prove fruitful.
It’s the go-to cliché around the league these days, but protecting your quarterback and putting pressure on the opposing signal caller are the two keys to victory in the modern NFL. The Chargers have been exceptional at keeping Philip Rivers insulated as they have only allowed eight sacks through their first five games after giving up a ridiculous 49 during the 2012 campaign. That’s why preventing Luck from having the piece of mind of protection is top priority for the Chargers in Week 6.