Eagles

williamsandre

Photo Credit: Chargers.com (Official team website of the San Diego Chargers)

 

Andre Williams wasn’t left out in the cold too long, thankfully. Even better, no one tried to pick him up!

Williams re-joined the Bolts Tuesday. He was waived this past Saturday when the team had to promote tight end Asante Cleveland from the practice squad. The roster moves were necessary because Antonio Gates was not going to see the field against the Colts and there had to be another body out there in addition to Hunter Henry and Sean McGrath.

The third-year back was initially claimed off waivers by the Chargers earlier this month after being released by the New York Giants. That signing occurred after change-of-pace back Branden Oliver was lost for the season after tearing his Achilles’ tendon in the preseason game in Minnesota.

Williams (6-foot, 220 lbs) was a fourth-round pick of the Giants in the 2014 draft. With the Giants having the likes of Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Bobby Rainey and a couple other guys on hand, Williams just didn’t make the final roster cut. This preseason he managed to gain only 91 yards on 25 carries in three games. He was one of 11 running backs on the depth chart in 2015, managing only 257 yards on 88 carries with a lone TD.

Since entering the league, Williams has played in 32 games. He has rushed for 978 yards on 305 carries and scored eight touchdowns — 41 of those carries went for first downs while five were over 20 yards and two were over 40. He also hauled in 19 passes for 137 yards.

Williams is a former Boston College standout. He set a BC school record in 2010 when he made 42 rushing attempts in a single game when the Eagles played Syracuse in that season’s final game. Williams was one of six finalists for the Heisman Trophy in 2013, finishing fourth. That same year he was named the recipient of the Doak Walker Award, an honor given to the nation’s best running back.

Since being in San Diego, Williams hasn’t been in the mix. Things may change this week.

We’ll all just have to play the wait-and-see game.

Thanks for reading!

Cheryl White

@BoltnUp

 

ChargerDefense

Over a month ago the San Diego Chargers drafted defensive end Joey Bosa with their third overall pick. Along with Bosa the Chargers drafted two more defensive players. One of them was Bosa’s running mate at Ohio State, Joshua Perry. These look to be great additions combined with the free agent signings of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and safety Dwight Lowery.

Some Chargers fans are clamoring for the Chargers to switch defensive schemes. I’ll tell you why this can not and will not happen anytime soon. First, I’ll tell you the difference between the two schemes. For the purpose of this piece it will just be a base 3-4 scheme versus the base 4-3 scheme. After this I will give my opinion on why switching schemes wouldn’t be beneficial for the Bolts moving forward.

I’ve stated in a previous article (Bolt Up For Bosa) that the Chargers only run their base scheme about 50% of defensive snaps. It’s these 50% of snaps I will be focusing on. That being said what is a 3-4 defense? It has been used famously by Bum Phillips, the father of Wade Phillips.

Used by the Houston Oilers in the 70’s, it’s predicated on pressure by overwhelming the offensive line with multiple attacking defensive players. If used correctly this scheme can be virtually unstoppable. This was defensive scheme used most brilliantly by the Denver Broncos to defeat the Carolina Panthers in this past years’ Super Bowl.

The 3-4 was the staple of Dick LeBeau’s defense which helped drive multiple teams to Super Bowl appearances. Lebeaus’ defense has yielded two wins and four losses in the Super Bowl. In New England, the 3-4 has been the driving force behind the Patriots dynasty. Yes, Tom Brady has made his throws but its been the defense that’s given the Patriots four Super Bowl titles in 15 years.

Breaking it down the 3-4 consists of three down linemen and four linebackers. The four linebackers have endless possibilities on how they can be placed. There’s a multitude of packages to utilize. This makes the 3-4 a hard defense to plan against. With four linebackers you don’t know who is blitzing or who is dropping back in coverage. The point of a 3-4 defense is mismatches. It’s built to stop the run and apply endless amount of pressure on the opposing teams’ offensive line. In theory, the Chargers should be good at run-stopping although this has been the Achilles’ heel of the defense over the past several years.

 

Here’s a diagram of a basic 3-4 defense.

34defense.png (574×288)

 

So how will the Chargers look defensively? Let’s start with the defensive line. At left defensive end will be Corey Liuget. Anchoring the middle will be nose tackle Brandon Mebane. At right defensive end will be Joey Bosa. At weak side outside linebacker will be Jerry Attaochu. The inside linebacker will be Manti Te’o. The middle linebacker will be Denzel Perrymen. The strong side linebacker will be Melvin Ingram.

Anchoring the back end of the defense from left to right will be left cornerback Jason Verrett. At Free Safety will be Dwight Lowery. Next to him will be strong safety Jahleel Addae. The right cornerback will be Brandon Flowers. Keep in mind this is how it stands right now. A lot depends on training camp and if the Chargers sign other free agents.

So now know how the Chargers will run their basic 3-4 defense. What is a 4-3 defense? The base 4-3 first came to us under Tom Landry when he was the Giants defensive coordinator in the 1950’s. He then made it even more famous with the Dallas Cowboys and through their vaunted “Doomsday” defense. Ever since, there’s been multiple variations of the scheme from the Bill Parcells stack defense to the Wide-9 defense famously used by the Philadelphia Eagles.

On to the basis of the 4-3. It’s four down linemen and three linebackers. In its most basic form the four down linemen will always have their hands in the ground and be in pursuit of whomever has the ball. The three linebackers are in charge of coverage in this base defense although they may blitz in certain packages.
Here’s a diagram of a basic 4-3 defense.

base_4-3.jpg (600×387)

The Chargers run a variation of the 4-3 in a hybrid nickel package. The nickel package features Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu with their hands in the dirt. The 3-4 defense has been implemented since 2001 when Marty Schottenheimer took  over as head coach. Since then the Chargers have had a few dominant defenses in ’06, ’07, ’09 and 2010. Its been proven very effective when the right pieces are in place. In 2016 this is such the case. My main reason for this belief is Joey Bosa and the signing of cornerback Casey Hayward. The Hayward addition was an amazing pick up.

It’s all about the anchor of the 3-4, the nose tackle. A viable anchor is something the Chargers have lacked for so long. Since the days of Jamal Williams its been a revolving door at this position. Brandon Mebane probably didn’t make headlines to the casual Chargers fan. I believe this is the most underrated pickup of the whole offseason. Mebane can garner double- and sometimes even triple-teams.

This defense, hell, this whole team is going too shock a lot of people. As I said earlier the 3-4 requires almost pure selflessness from its three down linemen. It starts with Mebane. I may call him Bane by seasons’ end. If you know Batman then you understand the reference. Its been five years in the making with this defense. Why change philosophies now when this defense is so close to grasping greatness? Its proven to be a dominant defense in the past. It can and will be for years to come.

Quick is probably the best word to describe today’s game.  The Eagles’ offense was once again VERY quick paced under new head coach Chip Kelly.  The longest scoring drive for the Eagles took 3 minutes 41 seconds to drive 76 yards and completing 10 plays.  In fact, the average time of all 6 Philadelphia scoring drives was only 2 minutes and 1 second to cover an average of 65 1/3 yards.

Quick too was Eddie Royal.  Making clutch receptions for Rivers both on 3rd downs and on all 3 of his touchdown receptions giving him a league leading 5 TD catches over the first two games of the season.

Momentum also shifted back and forth quickly.  Twice the Chargers fumbled inside the Eagles’ 10 yard line, one each from Ryan Mathews and Antonio Gates, giving the Eagles a break and letting the air out of great Charger drives.  The Eagles missed a field goal with a chance to tie the game before going into the half, allowing the Chargers to keep the lead and get the ball back after half time.

In the complete opposite of the Eagles offense, the Chargers were methodical on offense.  Rivers’ drives were effective and ate up lots of clock, keeping the Eagles high-powered offense off the field for 40 minutes of the 60 minute game.  The Chargers amassed 33 first downs after managing only 14 in week one.  3rd down efficiency also increased from week 1 from 50% too 66%.  The Chargers were only forced to punt once, which I am sure made Mike Scifres happy.

A lot of the credit can go to the offensive line.  After turning in a good performance in pass protection week one, allowing only 2 sacks, they yielded only one sack this week and Rivers had plenty of time to go through his progressions.  They still need to improve on opening holes in the run game, however part of the blame for that falls on Mathews who is not a patient runner and does not always wait for the hole to develop.

Danny Woodhead was a much bigger part of the offense this week.  After turning in 2 catches and no receptions in week 1, Woodhead had 9 rushes for 27 yards and 8 catches for 37 yards.  He was also outstanding in pass protection with multiple key blitz pick ups.  Woodhead was once again close to a few great receptions on swing passes but Rivers needs to work on getting his throws down for the short RB as he has thrown it too high for Woodhead to handle 2 weeks in a row now.

Rookies also showed up for the Bolts today.  Jahleel Addae had a couple of tackles, including a massive hit on 3rd down, and recovered the fumble as time expired to end the game.  After the unfortunate injury to Malcolm Floyd, 3rd round draft pick Keenan Allen saw the first regular season action of his career and made 2 first down gaining receptions for 34 yards total.

Unfortunately though, most of the good things for the Chargers happened on the offensive side of the ball.  The defense allowed 511 yards of offense on only 58 plays, an average of 8.8 yards per offensive play.  They also allowed the Eagles to convert 45% of their 3rd downs.  The secondary got torched for 428 yards and allowed 9 receptions of 20 yards or more.  The defense was able to keep control of the ground game by holding the Eagles to 90 yards rushing, no small feat considering LeSean McCoy at RB and Michael Vick at QB.

Overall the Chargers played a good game.  If you take away the poor defensive performance, the offense was methodical and efficient, they played clean drawing only 4 penalties, and Nick Novak turned in possibly his best performance as a Charger converting all 4 of his attempts from 49, 44, 33, and the game winner from 46 yards.  There are lots of positives here to build on and keep rolling next week at Tennessee.

One final note, thoughts and prayers go out to Malcolm Floyd who was taken off on a stretcher today.  Initial word is that all tests, including a CT scan, have come back negative and he should be okay to travel home with the team today.  I do not want to speculate as to what the injury was but please keep him in your thoughts and, if you believe, prayers.

 

Follow me on twitter @boltfanindenver for all my latest articles on here and any Chargers talk.

 

The football-obsessed world tuned in last Monday night for the unveiling of Chip Kelly’s Oregon offense in the NFL. As the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, he hid his scheme during the preseason and we finally saw the real thing last week.  The offense was impressive to behold.  The offense utilized multiple formations, had tight ends playing tackle, deviated from the basic five across offensive line and the running game picked up yards at will. Anyone who watched Oregon got flashbacks of watching the Ducks Monday night.  The Eagles raced out to a big lead and then held on to win, leaving the pundits to analyze what we had just seen ad nauseam.

Will this offense work in the NFL?

In a word, no.

While this was an impressive debut of a potentially revolutionary offensive scheme, it has too many flaws.  Here are the top five reasons this offense will not be long for the NFL world.

1.  Michael Vick

Without Michael Vick this offense will fail. This offense is a running offense in which the running back, wide receiver or quarterback is running 80% of the time.  Vick had nine rushes in the game. That would put him on pace for over 140 carries in a season.  We all know Vick doesn’t last an entire season. Adding all this running to his normal duties as quarterback will only hasten his arrival on the injured list.  After Vick, there is no running quarterback on the Eagles roster.  Nick Foles is a pocket passer and so is Matt Barkley, whom they drafted this offseason. What happens to this offense when the key component goes down?

2. Offensive line

The experience on the Eagles offensive line is 10, 10, 9, 3, 0. That’s three over thirty, one 26-year old and the rookie Lane Johnson, 23.  All over 300 pounds. These are not spring chickens.  This offense is fun to watch but how exhausting must it be for the 33-year old, 320 pound offensive lineman has to line up, block, run, line up, block, run without a huddle to catch your breath? The skill positions are conditioned for constant running.  Linemen are not.  Depth will be an issue as the season wears on because their bodies will not be able to stand that pace.

In the Monday Night game, after the Eagles built a significant halftime lead, Kelly put the brakes on the Oregon offense. 1. To let the line finish sucking down oxygen from the pace of the first half. 2. Michael Vick was already walking with a limp. Vick was sacked three times and hit a lot more because of this style of offense.

3. The blueprint on how to beat this offense is out.

The Eagles felt they could coast after building a 26-7 halftime lead.  After halftime the Redskins outscored Philadelphia 20-7 in the second half. What happens when the score is alot closer and the Eagles have to try to maintain this pace? If a team can weather the first half offensive outburst they can rally to win in the second half when the offense is tired, the quarterback is hurting from all the hits and the system changes to a conventional huddle, pocket passing offense.

Like the read option offense, the key will be hitting the quarterback.  When Vick rolls out and tosses the ball, he loses his protection as a quarterback, meaning defenses are free to hit him and not fear getting fined or flagged.

4. Lack of depth/Age

At Oregon, Kelly could run this offense to perfection because he could hand-pick the best players to run the system. In college, he also has an 85-man roster. He could go three units deep on the offensive line to keep each unit fresh and the offense running at breakneck speed. In the NFL, he has a pre-made roster of only 53 men. Now Kelly is dealing with grown men with families, not 18-20 year olds he can use as cannon fodder to keep his offensive juggernaut rolling. The legs are older, the pounding more severe, the running not as fast. As good as the offense looked in the first half against Washington, Kelly thought the offense was ‘slow’. Perhaps Kelly is still looking at the field through Oregon tinted glassed.

 5. The real game film is out now

The multiple formations, the design of the plays, the comparison and contrast of the Eagles true offense and the Oregon offense is now there ready for breakdown by the other defensive coordinators around the league.  This offense will be solved quicker than the Wildcat which took a couple of seasons and the read option which is the sexy trend in the league right now.  How will Kelly adjust when defenses have played him to a stalemate headed into the fourth quarter and his players are gassed trying to keep up this pace? There are many questions left to be answered still. In the end, this will slowly devolve, (either by injury or by better defense) into a pocket passing system.

 

This is the perfect time for the Chargers to face the Eagles.  They’re both playing on a short week and the Eagles injuries, especially Vick’s, will heal slower.  The Eagles secondary is vulnerable and Rivers showed he can still carve up secondaries when he has time to throw.  The Eagles will be a bit overconfident with the success of their new offense but they succeeded in large part last week because of the unfamiliarity of the Kelly offense.

The Redskins tackling was poor and the running back LeSean McCoy had a field day. The Chargers played excellent defense against the Texans highly touted running backs and top five rusher Arian Foster, holding him to 57 yards on 18 carries.  The Chargers have done a great job with open field tackling going all the way back to preseason and that will be key to limiting the Eagles offense and keeping Rivers on the field to break down that weak secondary.

 

Greg Williams

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