Week 4 analysis: Team secures W but injuries continue to pile up
As i said before week four should server as a confidence kick starter for the Chargers. The team did end up winning by a total of 20 points but I am in no means ready to hail the team for their great play as this is a game that the team should have won. In fact in the first half of the game this defense looked very suspect. In the end they ended up putting it all together in the second half. The offense continues to get the lineman moving off of the line of scrimmage by utilizing screen plays and all different kinds of pulling plays. I guess the coaching staff feels more confident in the offensive line blocking out in space more so than they do trusting them with blocking on the actual line. Given the offensive tackle situation it’s hard to blame this strategy.
The never ending narrative and in house solution for the tackle situation is the lack of playing time for former second round pick Forrest Lamp. Yet low and behold in week four he saw more playing time than ever before. That’s not saying a whole lot as it was all that much, yet progress is progress. He played an entire series at left guard and looked very impressive. Then again during the last 5 minutes of the game the team elected to put the backups in to avoid further injuries at which point Lamp went in at left tackle, his natural position. I had mentioned in my week 3 analysis that playing against the Dolphins would present the perfect opportunity to experiment with things such as finding ways to get Lamp involved. This seemed like the coaching staff had a similar thought process and probably would have allowed for Lamp and others such as Trey Pipkins and Nasir Adderley to receive more playing time if the team would have had a bigger lead earlier on.
The pass defense showed noticeable improvement with the return of cornerback Michael Davis. Brandon Facyson who had filled in prior had shown why he was 5th on the depth chart to open the season. However as it would stand it seems that one guy returns from injury and then two more are lost. In this particular case during week four, start defensive end Melvin Ingram pulled his hamstring and was even wearing his regular cloths on the sideline during the second half. It has been said since that the coaching staff expects him to miss at least two weeks. While this is a big blow to the pass rush second year man Uchenna Nwosu will get a big opportunity to shine as he seems to thrive playing off the edge and was the primary fill in after the Ingram injury with Isaac Rochell getting just as many snaps. Nwosu finished with 3 tackles in this one while Rochell finished with one tackle and one sack. I would honestly be looking for a lot more defensive sets that involve 3 edge rushers and one two gap nose tackle. This essentially will allow two defensive ends too match the output Ingram usually brings while Joey Bosa man’s his own side. A large number of these packages will even allow the team to use Nwosu to disguise zone coverage’s even though he may be lined up as an edge rusher. Gus Bradley may even double up on his stunt blitzes.
Unfortunately Ingram was the only one hurt as third string tight end Sean Culklin suffered a much worse injury. Culklin blew out his Achilles tendon on what would be his only catch of the day. The tight end group is decimated at this point and makes the signing of Lance Kendricks from a few weeks ago all the more important. It is yet to be seen if Virgil Green, who is the teams primary blocking tight end and second on the depth chart, will return by next week. Meanwhile the more versatile and well-rounded Hunter Henry remains out for another 2-3 weeks. Collectively the more injuries that pile up the harder and harder it will be to stay afloat. The depth part of the roster in certain areas are now even starting to take a massive hit. The team must continue to tread water and secure a few more wins before reinforcement’s arrive. However if the team continues to average two new injuries to add to the list every week then it becomes unsustainable.