By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
In their first home game of the season at SoFi stadium, the Los Angeles Chargers would face off against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were coming off a narrow loss to the defending National Football League champions in Week 1 and would be seeking their first win of the season. In front of 70,240 screaming fans, the Chargers fans would be outnumbered by what seemed to be a 7 to 3 clip this past Sunday afternoon.
The Cowboys were coming off a massive passing game against the league defending champs. Dak Prescott’s passing efficiency continued against the Chargers. He finished the game passing for 237 yards and completed 23 of 27 passes. More critical to the Cowboys’ win on Sunday was how they ran the ball on Sunday, racking up 198 yards on 31 carries. Shortly after their initial game at SoFi Stadium with fans in the building, Coach Brandon Staley would say in his post-game press conference.
The Cowboys were coming off a massive passing game against the league defending champs. Dak Prescott’s passing efficiency continued against the Chargers. He finished the game passing for 237 yards and completed 23 of 27 passes. More critical to the Cowboys’ win on Sunday was how they ran the ball on Sunday, racking up 198 yards on 31 carries.
Coach Staley would say, about their challenges stopping the Cowboys running attack, “We were just a little bit off in the first level, which caused our second level to be a little bit off. There were a couple of slants that we moved the wrong way on, which forced a big opening in the middle. Overall, we just have to play better; at the first and second level. We have to play more physically at the point of attack, so the ball doesn’t get to the second level as often as it did. When it does get to the second level, we have to be where we need to be, and we need to tackle. We need to tackle physically.”
The Chargers ended up losing the game by only 3 points. This loss was marred by penalties, as they incurred 12 penalties for 99 yards. Six of those penalties caused first downs or touchdowns to be taken off the board. Head coach Brandon Staley didn’t want to give any credence to the penalties, though he was keenly aware of the impact they had on the game, as he mentioned the day after their loss, “For us, I know that we need to be cleaner from our side of things moving forward. That’s what I told the guys. That’s what I’m going to try and do for them, is to tap into a better understanding of exactly what’s being officiated and what’s being emphasized. Just put all this stuff on me and put it on our team to play better, to play cleaner. That way, we can live with the results instead of depending on somebody else.”
In regards to them giving up 6.84 yards per carry, I wanted to talk about this to All-Pro Edge rusher Joey Bosa and All-Pro Safety Derwin James Jr. about their challenges stopping the run on Sunday. Bosa boldly took the blame “Yeah, I think it starts at the front. We have to be better up front as a D-line and an EDGE group. That will make the job on the linebackers that much easier and the secondary. We’ve got to tackle better, that’s a big point from yesterday. We just have to execute on every part of the ball.”
Like you would expect the team captain to do, Bosa put most of the onus on himself while expressing that they needed to be better at the point of attack, “I missed a tackled and a good opportunity for a tackle for loss. There were many missed opportunities out there.” Chargers’ fans should be confident these guys will make the proper adjustments this week against the AFC Champions.
All-Pro Safety Derwin James would echo similar thoughts as Bosa and Coach Staley when asked about how they could clean up their run defensive mistakes, “Being tough upfront. We have to be tough; we have to set edges. We have to come out ready to play on the outside. When the ball expresses itself outside, we have to be ready. It’s a team effort; It’s not just the guy inside; it’s everybody. We have to tackle in the zone a bit better; we have to be better all around.”
As you might have imagined, Coach Staley agreed with Bosa and James during his Monday morning press conference when he stated, “We needed to be more physical at the line of attack in level one. I think our front mechanics were a hair-off, which caused us to be a little bit off in the second level, too. We have to be stronger at the point of attack and eliminate the air in the run.” Coach Staley shared his confidence with them making the necessary changes when he said, “The good news is it’s completely within our control. We knew that, that was going to be part of our plan against us, and we were in good run defenses, good run structures. We were a little off with our mechanics and with our technique. That’s going to be a point of emphasis moving forward.”
As they prepare for the defending AFC Champions, coach Staley would make it a point to address this apparent lack of focus by saying, “We just have to pay more attention to detail in both our fundamentals and our operation. We had ten penalties on offense, and a lot of it was technique-oriented and operation-oriented, guys making sure that we’re set from a cadence operation-motion standpoint. Going on a quick cadence, making sure people are set and then understanding the frame of a play from a technique standpoint.” He also made sure to point out that, “The main takeaway for me is that the Los Angeles Chargers are in control of what happened yesterday. We need to put the focus on us; that’s what we’re going to do moving forward.”
Coach Staley would also add, “As you saw offensively, we had a productive day. If those ten penalties don’t occur, who knows what type of day it’s going to be. That’s what we wanted to unpack today, which is the truth of what happened.” This first loss of the season will challenge the fortitude of these Staley-led Chargers. Leading this Chargers team that has historically underachieved will cause the fans to be on edge and skittish about this team reaching their full potential.
I have confidence in coach Staley changing the perception of this Chargers team, as I have them earning a Wild Card spot in this season’s playoffs. Kindly share your confidence in this coaching staff and what you think their ceiling might be for this upcoming season. You can reach out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I encourage you to forward any suggestions on what topics or angles about this new version of the Los Angeles Chargers you would like to see discussed this season.
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