Dec 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) talks to Oakland Raiders defensive end Andre Carter (97) after the Chargers beat the Raiders 24-21 at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
1. What is the fan opinion of San Diego’s new management/ coaching staff so far?
So far it has been mostly positive. Fans have a lot of respect for new GM Tom Telesco mostly because he isn’t AJ Smith. He was able to put together a capable OL in one off-season, which is encouraging after the past 2 years. Ken Whisenhunt should probably receive the most credit for the season the offense and Philip Rivers is having. Mike McCoy is a great lead man, although his pre-mature assessment of injuries not being serious (only to see players hit the IR hours later) has been annoying.
2. Has Philip Rivers shown enough to convince fans that he can be the quarterback of the future?
I never gave up on Rivers, but he certainly looks like he is back to Pro-Bowl form. He is 31 already so Tom Telesco has to work fast to give him some weapons on offense. Once he has that, I think Rivers can be a top 5 quarterback without a doubt. Similar to Ryan Mathews though, the dark memories of the past two years still have many just waiting for Rivers to throw the game ending pick-6 a la Matt Schaub.
3. What player is on the verge of having a big game this season?
I’m going to go two ways for this question. On offense, I think TE LaDarius Green is just waiting to break out. He’s been stuck on the depth chart behind Antonio gates and blocking TE John Phillips. He’s shown the ability to find creases in the defense and make plays.
On defense, I’m going with Donald Butler. He was supposed to be our star in the middle, but so far hasn’t had much of an impact. The deficiencies at other positions have hurt the efficiency of Butler and Weddle, but the defense played better last week and Butler have a big game soon.
4. Who is one offensive player the Raiders must game-plan for?
Danny Woodhead. He has progressively become more and more involved in the offense and last week had 2 touchdowns. He is only going to get more snaps because he is probably the most effective running back for the no-huddle offense and the basic offense. His ability to catch in the flat, line up as a receiver and catch a pass downfield, run inside and outside, and pass block makes him hard to stop.
5. Who is one defensive player the Raiders must game-plan for?
The defense as a whole is pretty pathetic. If Pryor is able to throw passes within the general vicinity of his receivers, he should get a completion because our defensive backs play about 10 yards off receivers on every play. Eric Weddle is still the defenses best player by far and can play all over the field. Last week he was asked to play in the box almost every play and he made a few key stops against Jason Witten on multiple 3rd downs.
6. Bonus Question: What is your prediction for this Sunday?
The Chargers have some momentum going into the game but they have to execute to avoid falling to the Raiders in the Black Hole. The defense will probably make some Chargers fans nervous with Terrell Pryor sure to run all over them, but eventually get the stops they need to get off the field. I think the Chargers offense will do enough to get by this week and beat the Raiders 27-24.