The Eagles home opener against the San Diego Chargers is only one day away! That means it is time to look at insight from the opposition... in this case, Chargers SBN blog Bolts From The Blue. Big thanks to John Gennaro for taking the time to answer these questions. There are actually 6 questions, so consider the last one a bonus.
BGN: The Eagles' offense looked unstoppable in the first half against the Redskins. This is a broad question, but how can the Chargers hope to combat Chip Kelly's offense?
BFTB: No clue. My guess is that they'll try their best to disguise what they're doing in hopes of baiting Michael Vick into a mistake. Some have theorized that they'll use Eric Weddle as a "Wild Card"/"Joker" in the box along with Donald Butler to stop the read-option plays from going anywhere, but I think DeSean Jackson scares them too much to do that.
I haven't personally looked through whatever it was the Redskins did in the second half to slow Philly's offense down, but I'm sure that's where the Chargers coaches started their gameplan.
BGN What is to make of Phillip Rivers under HC Mike McCoy and OC Ken Whisenhunt? How much of a threat to an Eagles defense that didn't allow the Redskins to score an offensive touchdown until late in the third quarter?
BFTB: Well, Rivers looked a hell of a lot better against the Texans than Robert Griffin III did against the Eagles. At least in the first half. Those Eagles blitzes looked reminiscent of the Jim Johnson days in Philadelphia, so it could go poorly for San Diego, but Rivers looked great whenever Houston decided to blitz early on. What really got to him was when the Texans started moving J.J. Watt around to get him one-on-one matchups with guys that couldn't handle him. As long as the Eagles don't have J.J. Watt, I think San Diego stands a chance of putting some points on the board.
BGN: What is the Chargers weak point on defense? D-Line, Linebackers, Secondary?
BFTB: Secondary, for sure. All-new starting cornerbacks (including at the nickel cornerback spot) and a new starting strong safety for the Chargers this season. The adjustment period may take a while, or it might just be that Andre Johnson is that good. Either way, they looked terrible against Houston.
The defensive line is a very big strength, and the crux of trying to stop the Eagles' offense this week, but not very deep. Same with the linebackers, although Bront Bird (filling in for the injured Manti Te'o) has same rather large holes in his game that can be exploited.
BGN: Both teams played on Monday night, but the Chargers now have to travel cross country to face Philadelphia in the Eagles' home opener. The fans are likely to be fired up, especially considering how impressive the Eagles looked on Monday night. Can the Chargers overcome these challenges on the road?
BFTB: I'm more concerned with the early east coast game. West coast teams typically struggle with playing "early" after traveling that far, and this will be Mike McCoy's first time trying to find the right formula to overcome that for his team. As far as the crowd? This is a veteran team with solid leadership. I don't think they'll have jitters.
BGN: Generally speaking, Eagles fans seem to think this is a very winnable game for their team. The Chargers fell apart against the Texans on Monday night, but they looked respectable before they blew the lead. Does this have the makings of a close game?
BFTB: Maybe yes, maybe no. The Chargers could fall apart again, mostly because the reason was a lack of depth on the roster. San Diego is very talented, but also very thin. I expect them to keep it close in the first half, possibly even taking a lead, but they'll need the running game to be really good to keep their defense fresh. They struggled with that against Houston because J.J. Watt took away half of the field against the run and the rest of the defense did the rest. If the running game can get going against Philly, this definitely has the makings of a close game.
BGN: How do you feel about King Dunlap starting for the Bolts? How is old friend Ronnie Brown doing?
BFTB: Ronnie's fitting in nicely. He actually got the most carries of any RB last week because the coaches trust him the most in pass protection (and because running the ball was almost pointless in the second half).
Lots of people like King Dunlap. He's a pretty significant upgrade over whomever was playing LT for the Chargers last year, and he has the right attitude. Some people view him as a stopgap and others have hopes that he'll be here long-term, but nobody is unhappy that he's starting.
The Eagles (1-0) and Chargers (0-1) face off in Philadelphia at 1 PM EST on Sunday afternoon.