After last Sunday’s debacle, the San Diego Chargers will play their home opener on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It is really early, but this game could make or break the Chargers season.You do not want to start the season 0-2, especially when you factor in how the team lost last weeks game in Kansas City.
Do the Bolts have the leadership to shake off last weeks crushing defeat or will that loss affect this weeks performance? Coaching will be critical if the Chargers plan to get their season back on track.
The Jaguars and their young exciting offense come to town this week and will surely be looking to get their first win of the season. For those that don’t know this KYO piece will take a look at their strengths and weaknesses. The Jaguars are a young team and they are on the upward trend so this matchup is not one to be overlooked.
1.- Blake Bortles
Let’s remove the obvious out-of-the-way early. After years of drafting or signing mediocre quarterbacks, it seems that the Jags finally have a blue chip talent at the most important position on the team. The former UCF standout has everything you look for in a franchise signal caller. He has a strong-arm, he is accurate and he also plays with a lot of heart. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Jaguars finally have a QB they can build around.
2.- The receiving corp
This might be on of the most talented units in the AFC. It all start with Allen Robinson. A year ago, Robinson was mostly unknown to the casual fan, but after putting up 1,400 receiving yards in 2015 he’s now opposing defenses primary focus. He is not alone as former Miami hurricane Allen Hurns is a very solid number two option. He runs quick precise routs that make him a very tough match up for the Bolts. The Jags also have former Bronco Julius Thomas at TE. He is not as good as Peyton Manning once made him look, but he has sure hands and is a tough match up in the red zone.
3.- Jalen Ramsey
I know this might be a bit premature, but in April I wrote that Ramsey was the best player in the draft and last week even the great Aaron Rodgers decided not to test the rookie from FSU, that should tell you how good he is. He seems fully recovered from a knee injury he suffered early in training camp. Look for him to be active on Sunday.
1.- Luke Joeckel
He was drafted 2nd overall back in 2013 and everyone assumed that the Jags had found their next Tony Boselli. It hasn’t been the case, as Joeckel struggles against speed rushers, so look for Jeremiah Attaochu to have a solid game on Sunday. He gets off the ball really well and should provide a lot of pressure on Bortles.
2.- Defensive front seven
This group lacks a dynamic player. Dante Fowler might one day become a special player but he’s coming back from an ACL injury. The Jaguars signed Malik Jackson from Denver but he’s still gelling with his new teammates and that will take time.
There is a lot of youth and inexperience with this group. Last week they outplayed the Packers for much of the game, but when it came down to the last drive they couldn’t get their plays in. Eventually they failed to convert on fourth down deep in Green Bay territory and lost the game. The Jags have a lot of promise but they are inexperienced and that works against them in the clutch. When the game is on the line, the Chargers veteran leadership should prevail.
To me the game will come down to the Chargers ability to pressure Bortles. If they do that, he will make mistakes. On offense they should try to impose their will on the Jags weak front seven and control the clock. We will see if coach McCoy is able to complete a successful game plan against this young Jaguar team.