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Mailbag: Bye Week Plans and Looking Ahead
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Q: Bye week plans? What is everyone up to? – Terri Conway
A: Mainly a whole lot of rest, relaxation and family time. Some are getting away for a few days and heading back home to spend time with their family and friends. Many are remaining in San Diego and taking time off to rest their bodies and get their minds straight for the final nine games. The NFL season is a grueling stretch, so the time off is a welcome respite from the daily grind.
Q: What are your thoughts on the way Ryan Mathews is playing? – Perry Atlas
A: It’s hard not to be impressed, Perry. I love the way he always fights through defenders and finishes off strong to gain the extra yards. He’s as tough a runner as they come with a great work ethic, so it’s great to see it all pay off for him. In fact, on NFL Network, former Chargers great LaDainian Tomlinson listed Mathews as his top running back from Week 7. I didn’t realize this until I saw it on ESPN.com, but Ryan is the first runner this season to have consecutive 100-yard rushing games. That is a pretty amazing stat, so kudos to Ryan. If you feel the same way, be sure to vote right here for Mathews as this week’s FedEx Ground Player of the Week.
Q: How about some love for the defense? They are playing so well! – S. Zapaliskas
A: As we noted immediately after the game, the Bolts defense is playing lights out. After further inspection and research, the streak they are on is even more historical than we initially thought. Not only is the two-game stretch without allowing a TD the most since 2002, but they are in the midst of 11 straight quarters without allowing an opposing player in the end zone. The last time that occurred was in 1977 and is the longest in franchise history, so kudos to the defense as well as Defensive Coordinator John Pagano and the rest of the staff. A major reason for their success has been a rejuvenated pass rush, as Head Coach Mike McCoy pointed out immediately after the game:
“One of those things too that’s been a big emphasis is getting after the quarterback. We didn’t do that early in the season and got exposed a little bit because you can only cover for so long. It’s not easy in this league. If you don’t get any rush on the quarterback it’s tough. The DB’s are on an island back there. So if you don’t get after them it’s tough. I think they did a great job. There were a lot of second efforts out there today.”
Q: What game is Ricky Henne looking forward to the most that is yet to come? – Kev Pennington
A: There is not one game that I am looking forward to Kev, but rather five: the remaining AFC West games. After the disappointing loss against the Raiders, I can’t wait to face them again. Moreover, I am looking forward to the four games against the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. It’s no secret that they are two of the top teams in the NFL right now, as KC is the lone undefeated team while the one-loss Broncos’ offense is on a record-setting pace. I’m looking forward to going up against them and seeing if we can find a way to capture the AFC West crown. McCoy has said repeatedly the team needs to win games in division, so those are the games I personally am looking forward to the most.