Any long-standing San Diego-now-Los Angeles Chargers fan can think of many failed attempts at clever marketing tactics. The latest, entitled #FightForLA is just as bad as the rest.
We get it. Now that there are two teams vying for the same fan dollars in Los Angeles it is seen as a ‘fight’ for Los Angeles. That sentiment couldn’t be farther from the truth for two major reasons. First and most importantly, no one in Los Angeles wants either team to be there. Aside from the subsection of devout loyalists (such as myself) who grew up with the teams in their former homes and would watch them if they relocated to Mars; neither move has raised an eyebrow among the general NFL populous.
Secondly, if the #FightForLA is intended to pit the Chargers versus the Rams in a L.A. rivalry the same way the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are pretended to be, that too is a fallacy. The Clippers have always been the red-headed stepchild in the NBA version of this L.A. story and even though they are currently better than the current version of the Lakers, the Lakers will always be the alpha dogs because of the championship banners hanging from the rafters.
Head-to-head, the Chargers are hands-down better than the Los Angeles Rams. Don’t believe me? These rosters prove my point:
Quarterback: Chargers QB Philip Rivers vs. (Quick, does anyone even know who the Rams starting quarterback is??) The answer is Case Keenum, Jared Goff and Sean Mannion all took snaps for the Rams last season to disastrous results and a 4-12 season. Altogether the Rams passed for 3,313 yards and that includes a 4-yard completion by their punter! By comparison, Rivers threw for over 1,000-yards more than the Rams quarterbacks combined (4,386).
Running Back: Rams Todd Gurley vs. Chargers Melvin Gordon. Part of a dying breed of bell-cow running backs, this is the most even matchup on the ledger. Gurley fell off from his breakout rookie season once teams figured the Rams couldn’t pass the ball and loaded the box to stop the run. Gurley managed 885 yards and 6 touchdowns on 287 attempts (3.2 yards per carry). Gordon did the opposite, rebounding from a disappointing rookie campaign to fall three yards short of a thousand yards on 254 attempts (3.9 yards per carry). Gordon went from zero touchdowns as a rookie to twelve (ten rushing, two receiving) in his sophomore year.
Wide Receiver: The Rams tried to run their offense through the speedy but diminutive (5″8′) Tavon Austin. Secondaries figured out the game plan early and rolled coverage to him. As a result he had only 509 yards and three touchdowns receiving. Running reverses and other gadget plays added another 159 yards and one touchdown to his 2016 resume. Kenny Britt, Brian Quick and Lance Kendricks provided the bulk of the punch from the receiving corps, accounting for 1,063 yards and ten touchdowns combined.
In San Diego, Tyrell Williams had a breakout season amassing 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns by himself. Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin combined for another 1,487 yards and eight touchdowns. Not bad considering they lost their number one receiver, Keenan Allen, in the first week of the season.
Total offense: The Rams finished dead last in points per game (14) and yards per game (262.7). The Chargers finished ninth in points per game (25.6) and 14th in yards per game (356.8).
There’s no point into going over to the defensive side of the ball. Fans come out to see an exciting, dynamic offense and a good football game. While the argument can be made that neither team achieved that goal, the Chargers were able to put points on the board. The Rams were blown out (16 points or more) six times. They scored ten points or less nine times. The Chargers only had two games where they scored under 20 points (16 and 19) and of their 11 losses, eight were decided by a touchdown or less.
If this were a fight, the ref would’ve stopped it by now….
There is no question as to who is the best team in Los Angeles. Provided they can stay healthy, the Chargers will make the playoffs this season. Health is always the biggest problem with this team as they have not been able to keep their starters healthy for many seasons. The Rams will be living in the NFC West cellar for yet another year, healthy or not. They simply don’t have the talent.
Los Angeles is a notorious fair weather, bandwagon-jumping city. If you win, they will come and tell you they have been a fan for years. The only question is can the Chargers keep their weapons on the field and out of the trainers’ room and if so, how many games will it take before the Los Angeles public officially adopts them?
But retire the hashtag already…
Please and thank you.
The Greg One
The Chargers begin a brutal six-game stretch versus very formidable opponents. That run begins at Qualcomm this Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. Some may look at their 4-6 record and overlook the Jeff Fisher-led team. I can assure you, that is a big mistake.
The Rams are coming off a victory where they dismantled the Denver Broncos by a score of 22-7. There last three wins have come against the Broncos, 49ers and Seahawks. Needless to say, St. Louis is capable of beating any team in the NFL.
Let’s start by looking at the Ram offense by position group and which players stand out.
After replacing Austin Davis, journeyman signal caller Shaun Hill came in and led his team to a victory over Denver. Hill has played for 4 different teams throughout his 13 years in the league. Considered to be a game manager of sorts, Hill isn’t going to set any records but he can do just enough to not be a detriment to his squad. The Chargers must put pressure on him and force him into making mistakes due to a fierce pass rush.
Coming into the 2014 season, hopes were high for Zac Stacy. He flashed some ability in 2013 and almost reached the 1,000 yard mark. This season has been a different story. He has been a bit ineffective and the Rams now employ the running back by committee approach. Bennie Cunningham is one of the backs that has seen his share of carries. He leads the team with three rushing scores. The ball carrier to keep an eye on is Tre Mason. The rookie runner, formerly of Auburn, has started to receive a lot of touches and he leads the squad in carries. He has been picking up steam and the team is starting to believe in him more and more.
The Rams have 2 wide receivers and 2 tight ends that are noteworthy players and strong contributors in one way or another. When looking at the wide receivers, they have Kenny Britt. He is a tall, big-bodied wideout with good speed for his size. Britt is revitalizing his career after burning out in Tennessee. He may only have 25 receptions, but he is averaging 17.6 yards per catch. The other receiver worth mentioning is Tavon Austin. It could be said that Austin is suffering from a sophomore slump. He proved to be an electric player last year as the season wore on. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He has not seen much success this year in the explosive play department. Don’t let that fool and the Charger defense must have a gameplay to stop him from breaking the big one.
The leading receptions leader in St. Louis is starting tight end Jared Cook. Though he only has one touchdown, his 34 catches have been good for 446 yards. His is a big, athletic guy with great speed for his position. The other tight end is Lance Kendricks. He only has 21 receptions, but with a team-leading 4 touchdowns, he is scoring on almost 20% of those catches.
St. Louis used the second overall pick in this year’s draft on left tackle Greg Robinson. Ironically, he was college teammates with Tre Mason at Auburn. Robinson is a solid player already. He is only going to get better as he hones his craft. The San Diego pass rush will be left when facing him. He really stands out on tape, but he can be taken advantage of by rushers with multiple pass rush moves in their arsenal. Left guard Rodger Saffold is a big dude. He is much more suited to play his current position than when he was formerly a tackle. The fact that he plays next to Robinson only helps him out. There is a lot of beef on the Ram O-line.
In closing, the St. Louis Ram offense has not looked overwhelming when checking out the boxscore. But it does have the potential to burn opposing defenses in multiple ways. Getting pressure on Shaun Hill and making him second-guess himself during passing situations is paramount. John Pagano must be creative and the Charger third-down defense must play like they did against Oakland last week.
Tomorrow I’ll be writing about the St. Louis defense. Now that is where the major concern should be regarding Sunday’s matchup with the Rams.
Stay tuned to BoltBlitz.com and thanks a lot for reading.