After the long wait, its finally upon us! Week one is finally here! With that comes knowing your opponent on a week-to-week basis. What are the week-to-week storylines to keep an eye on during the game? So once again I present the weekly keys to success. First off, the Bolts face the team who refuses to be named and instead insists on remaining nameless. A team who is very defensive and gritty.
Chargers DB core needs to make statement against a lesser QB
This is in no way a knock against Fitzpatrick as much as it is just a fact of what needs to happen. Now they do call him “Fitz magic” for a reason as he can flash from time to time. However, if you expect to confidently face the likes of Patrick Mahomes twice a year among others than you need a big statement right of the gate. While he may have a catchy nickname the fact remains that Fitzpatrick isn’t what you call a gun slinger. He is a very calculated and less likely to take big risk downfield. This is apparent by his career 6.9 yards per attempt completed %. He did throw for over 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns along with a 70.7 pass grade before getting the hook in favor of Tua. Several things come into play here. News came out that Washington’s prize offseason acquisition Curtis Samuel came up limping at practice after pulling a hammy. This leaves him very questionable as to if he will even be available on Sunday. That combined with the news that 2nd round rookie Asante Samuel Jr has won the second outside corner job which is probably best for the team’s pass coverage. Samuel has played well this offseason in all facets of the game and offers fresh young legs on the outside. Simultaneously this allows 32-year-old Harris to handle full time slot duties. Harris had a 61.7 defensive grade according to Pro Football Focus prior to his injury. He also only recorded 1 game with a higher coverage grade of 70+. He might be better off being fully regulated to the slot.
First big test & first time together for a newly shaped offensive line
Washington finished the 2020 season ranked with the 3rd overall defense. In fact, defense was so good that the team road them all the way into the playoffs last year. With arguably the best defensive line in football, a returning healthy Landon Collins, and first round selection of middle linebacker Jamin Davis, I’m sure the same can be said again going into this season…. if not even more so. Corey Linsley who graded out the 2020 season with an 86.4 overall blocking grade with Green Bay will have his hands full with Allen and Payne. Then of course there is the long-awaited match up of Chase Young vs the newly acquired left tackle Rashawn Slater. Slater’s claim to fame sort of speak was the fact he was able to virtually hold Chase Young out of the box score…at least when Slater was doing the blocking. Two years removed from that Northwestern v OSU game and you have what is Bolt fans most exciting blocking matchup since…well in a long time. I really like how Matt Feiler’s style of play fits in between the likes of Slater and Linsley. His ability to help out with Allen and Payne all while doing what lamp or Feeney never could and that’s pick-up stunt and delay blitzes to the inside gap will be paramount. The real wild card here is the right side. Can Bulaga handle the athletic Montez Sweat? Can he stay on the field? If not than can Storm Norton handle Sweat? Also, how will Aboushi Debut? He was brought in and one thing that stood out was his blocking efficiency %. He has had an inconsistent career with success so far in his career but how will he settle into these new trenches group?
Herbert just needs to do what he does.
I can go on and on about what Herbert can and has done…in fact I have. Along with the likes of countless others. We as Charger fans are very aware in what Hollywood Herb both is and will be! So, without risking sounded repetitive let’s just Herbert needs to do what he does best. Torch coverage schemes and run over linebackers!