Tale Of The Tape: San Diego Chargers At Philadelphia Eagles
- QuarterbackPhilip Rivers is an emotional quarterback who is capable of leading his team on a long winning streak when things are going well, but struggles to get out of trouble when things are going poorly. The Chargers may struggle quite a bit his season as new head coach Mike McCoy tries to breathe life into an offense that has grown stagnant.Michael Vick has much to prove this year. He appears happy and excited to be playing in rookie head coach Chip Kelly’s offense, and the first game against the Redskins was a rousing success. The key for Vick is reading the defense properly and getting protection from his line. That did not happen last year, but the situation appears to be turning around.
- OffenseThe Chargers have a lot of deficiencies on offense. Ryan Matthews has the tools to be a decent running back, but he has a difficult time staying healthy. Wide receiver Malcolm Floyd is coming off a solid season in which he caught 56 passes for 814 yards and five touchdowns. If Danario Alexander can pick up from where he left off last year, the Chargers may find a way to become competitive.LeSean McCoy is one of the most explosive running backs in the league and he appears to be flourishing in Kelly’s offense after ripping through the Redskins defense. DeSean Jackson is a big-play threat who can get deep and torment the defense. Tight end Brent Celek caught a TD pass vs. the Redskins and is adept at finding the holes in the defense.
- DefenseThe defense has to put pressure on the opposing quarterback consistently. The Chargers know that DE Cory Liuget is quite capable, as he had 11 tackles for loss last year in addition to 7.0 sacks. Keep your eye on versatile inside linebacker Donald Butler who has the speed to stay with receivers and the power to blow up plays in the backfield.Warm and welcoming. That’s what the Eagles defense has been in recent years, but they appeared more organized and prepared in the first half of the opener against the Redskins. Thirty minutes is not going to tell the story, but they are off to a good start. Outside linebacker Trent Cole appears to have been reborn this season and inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans is a dependable tackler.
- Special TeamsSan Diego’s special teams can be dangerous if Eddie Royal can stay healthy and make the first tackles miss. Punter Mike Scifres is one of the best in the league because he gets the kind of distance and direction that makes it difficult for most return specialists. Nick Novak is a competent field goal kicker.The Eagles have a chance to be quite productive on special teams because Jackson has the quickness to make big plays. Alex Henery is a slightly above average field goal kicker while Donnie Jones is a good kicker who can drop the ball inside the opponents’ 20 with great frequency.
The Eagles figured to be one of the more interesting stories of the year and they heightened the drama with their outstanding victory over the Redskins in Week One. If they can display the same kind of offense to start the season, they will start to open eyes around the NFL. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor