No pressure, BO. But, the fact of the matter is, Branden Oliver’s play during tonight’s game has so much to do with the final outcome. He may be an undrafted free-agent, but he is, without a doubt, the x-factor in this evening’s contest against the Denver Broncos.
Coming into the 2014 draft, Oliver was passed up repeatedly by all 32 teams. In fact, if you include other free-agent running back signings, he was then the 32nd ball carrier to be picked up. There were 22 drafted running backs and 9 UDFA RBs taken prior to Branden being signed to the Chargers.
Talk about overcoming the odds.
Oliver ended up, after training camp and the preseason, securing a position on the 53-man roster with your San Diego Chargers. It is an honor that he doesn’t take for granted. BoltBlitz.com was the first website to interview him. I’m very proud of that and Brian Scott for making it happen.
Branden’s impact on this Charger offense is about to be showcased tonight as the Bolts attempt to gain the division lead over the Broncos. The need to have him involved in the offense cannot be overstated. Philip Rivers needs to trust him in the passing game and not be afraid to dump it off to him when the protection breaks down.
Due to the multitude of injuries to the Charger backfield, the Bolts must rely on Oliver to carry the load. This game is a true test of what Branden Oliver is made of.
Can he tote the rock 25 times a game? Can he add in 4-5 receptions and not be worn out? Is he a liability in pass protection when blocking in the backfield?
I believe that all of those aspects of his game will be tested this evening. Mike McCoy and Frank Reich need to have confidence in BO and find what he is capable of as a featured back. His performance tonight, and going further, have a lot to do with how the running back situation will be handled going into 2015.
San Diego has to take a huge gamble on relying on Branden Oliver to carry this team to a win. The best defense against Peyton Manning is to keep him off the field. Oliver is the key to making that happen. It should be a fun game to watch.
Thanks a lot for reading.