After a 1-1 start to the 2015 season, the Chargers travel to Minnesota to face off against the explosive Adrian Peterson and the Vikings.
In Peterson’s first two games this season, he has recorded 165 yards, while averaging 4.2 yards a carry; 134 yards were racked up in last week’s win over the Detroit Lions. If the Bolts plan to shut down AD, they will have to compete at a playoff-caliber level and finish flawlessly.
Currently, San Diego ranks 21st in the NFL in rushing defense. Unfortunately, this isn’t good enough to stop Peterson. In week one, the team gave up a huge run play as Detroit’s Ameer Abdullah went untouched making a 36-yard jaunt to the house. The question as to what the Bolts need to do in order to shut Peterson down is on the minds of all Charger fans.
Here’s the breakdown:
Hasn’t this been a trending issue for years now? Either way, San Diego has to go back to fundamental tackling in order to shut down the running game. Defensively, the line must hold true and close all gaps that Peterson will try to attack. Linebacker Manti Te’o has missed 10 tackles in the first two games. That can’t happen Sunday. It’s inevitable that AD will break through the line of scrimmage, however, it’s the Bolts’ duty to make all necessary tackles, especially against the veteran running back.
The Chargers have forced two fumbles along with two interceptions. In order for them to keep the offense on the field, the defense has to force turnovers and convert them to points. The Vikings quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, is entering his sophomore season looking fairly confident. With veteran players such as Corey Liuget, Melvin Ingram, and Donald Butler on the defense, disrupting his play will prove fruitful. Having only one sack on the season isn’t enough, therefore, getting after Bridgewater is mandatory come Sunday.
Time management is the name of the game in professional football. With Peterson’s running ability, Minnesota will look to manage the clock and tempo of the game. In order to obtain a win, Philip Rivers and the offense must maintain their composure and cause long-lasting drives, ultimately ending with points scored. Similar to what San Diego has done to Peyton Manning and the Broncos, the team must keep Peterson and company on the sidelines. Traditionally, the Bolts win most of their games where they hold the most time of possession. The same blueprint should be conducted against the Vikings.
Last game the offense hurt themselves with costly penalties. The same can be said about the defense, as well. Limiting the number of unnecessary penalties will help the Chargers move forward and complete plays. Additionally, having little to none on the defensive side of the ball will keep the Vikings from obtaining costly automatic first downs. Ultimately, penalties hurt progression which can’t happen in attempt for a win.
Overall, Adrian Peterson and company seek to also improve their record to 2-1, but the Chargers know it’s imperative to shut him down in order to limit the Vikings’ offense. With these four tactics, there should be no issue for the Bolts in advancing their record to two wins early in the season.
Briana Soltis (@BrianaSoltis)
The Chargers defeated the Lions in Week 1 by a score of 33-28. The Chargers defense held the “Gold-atron” (Golden Tate/Calvin Johnson aka “Megatron”) combination to less than 100 combined receiving yards. That is very tough to do. That shows this secondary is very good and will be very good moving forward.
The secondary consisting of Brandon Flowers, Jason Verrett, Eric Weddle, Jahleel Addae/Jimmy Wilson combination, looks to be one of the best that the Chargers have had in quite some time. But there is one player in that secondary who really stands out to me.
His name is Jason Verrett.
Verrett, the 2014 first-round draft pick out of Texas Christian (TCU), is getting better and better by the week. His assignment in Week 1 was shadowing Golden Tate, in which Tate went four catches on eight targets for 24 yards. Tate’s lowest totals last season, in terms of catches, targets and receiving yards, was Week 10 versus an elite secondary in Arizona. He finished with only two catches on two targets for 41 yards. On Sunday, he averaged a meager six yards per reception. In 2014, he averaged 13.4 yards per reception. In 2013, he averaged 14.0 yards per reception. In 2012, he averaged 15.3 yards per reception. I’m not going to go back any further, because I think you get the point. Tate is a very good runner with the ball in his hands and last season he was 3rd in the entire league with 691 yards after catch.
There was one play I want to focus on. In the second half of the game against Detroit, the Lions ran a wide receiver bubble in where they had Tate screened and with two blockers in front. Verrett weaved his way around the first blocker and made a fantastic solo, open-field tackle. The stop forced the Lions to punt.
These are the type of plays that only a few players in the league make on a guy of Tate’s caliber.
Jason Verrett is special. I do think if he stays healthy, he has all the tools and talent to become an elite, shutdown cornerback. His man-coverage ability is insane for his NFL experience. His instincts, which he was lauded for coming out of college, couldn’t be better and his open-field tackling might be the best on the team. Look for this guy to take his game to the next level this season, and prove to the NFL world that when they talk about top corners in the league, to not forget about No. 22, Jason Verrett.