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San Diego Chargers Keys to the Game
The Chargers return to action Sunday afternoon when they visit the New York Jets. Here are five things to watch for that could dictate the outcome.
1. Rattle McElroy– The Jets made a change at quarterback this week, electing to go with a second-year pro who has just seven pass attempts in his NFL career. Lacking experience, the Chargers would be well suited to get in Greg McElroy’s face right from the get-go. It is important to pressure and rattle him early and often to stop him from getting comfortable and gaining momentum.
2. Running Back by Committee – With Ryan Mathews out the remainder of the season, the Chargers will deploy a running back by committee primarily between Jackie Battle, Curtis Brinkley and Ronnie Brown. Each player has their own strengths. Battle is the power back, Brinkley a shifty scat back and Brown an ideal third-down back. It will be interesting to see how each of them performs in their role and if any of them emerge during the course of the game to become the lead back.
3. The Future Starts Now– A number of young players figure to get a substantial amount of playing time on Sunday. Third-round pick Brandon Taylor could be in line for his first career start at strong safety, while second-round pick Kendall Reyes will start once again at defensive end in place of the injured Vaughn Martin. First-round pick Melvin Ingram has also seen an increase in snaps in recent weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out on how this trio of youngsters perform.
4. Replacing Floyd –Malcom Floyd has been the Chargers number one receiver all season long, leading the team in catches (56), yards (814) and touchdowns (five). However, an ankle injury toward the end of last week’s loss to the Carolina Panthers ended the wideout’s season two games early. Now the Chargers will need someone to step up and replace Floyd opposite Danario Alexander. Eddie Royal figures to get the first crack at the starting job, but Robert Meachem and Micheal Spurlock will also get an influx of opportunities on the field as well.
5. On the Road – The Chargers started out winning their first two road games in convincing fashion against the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, they dropped their next four games to the New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos before rebounding with a big win in Pittsburgh vs. the Steelers. Sunday marks the final road game of the 2012 season, and the Bolts would like to end the year as a .500 road team. It will be a difficult task, however, as the game marks the team’s fifth 10:00am PT start and will be played in 30-degree weather.