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The Number One Area the Offense Wants to Improve
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The Chargers offense has come through in the clutch over the past two weeks, authoring back-to-back game-winning drives in the final minutes.
Now that they’ve learned to finish, they must correct their sluggish starts.
The Bolts have struggled each week out of the gates, scoring only seven first quarter points all year. On the flipside, they’ve given up 50 points, repeatedly putting themselves in an early hole.
As the team looks to keep improving in the midst of a two-game winning streak, Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt stressed a top priority is getting off to a faster start.
“We’ve struggled to start,” he said. “That’s been something that’s been inconsistent, unfortunately. I think we’ve gotten a little better with our starts, but it’s also been frustrating because we were so good at that last year. But it’s something we look at to try to improve on.”
Whiz explained that there are little things the team has done during the week to start faster, but there is no easy answer.
“We’ve tried a couple things the past few weeks as far as how we prepare. Talking about plays that we like. Not necessarily a play string per say, but plays that we like early. We’ll work on those, especially later in the week when we’re saying, ‘OK, we’re thinking about these maybe early. So let’s make sure we focus in on those.'”
However, that’s easier said than done.
After all, how does one actively work on getting off to quicker starts?
In the end, it all comes down to simple execution.
“Some of it is we’ve had opportunities to make plays, and we’ve just missed for whatever reason,” Whisenhunt said. “A lot of times, when you talk about momentum or getting rolling, it comes down to somebody making a play. Then you build energy from that…. I think one of the things that’s hurt us a little bit is we’ve been in a number of third-and-longs. Your success rate on those isn’t as good. Now, we’ve converted some later in the game. It feels a little bit like we’re improving and moving in that direction. But, it’s also frustrating because we haven’t started better.”
Execution is obviously an important reason why the Bolts have been able to finish strong. However, attitude can be equally important.
The offense has been at its best when they’ve had to play with a certain sense of desperation. They’ve been able to turn it on the last couple weeks as the games continued, but it’s imperative they play with the same level of intensity from the get-go.
In fact, Philip Rivers emphasized the team must play the first few snaps with the same sense of urgency they do when the game is on the line.
“It's a collective approach, but we've always had it,” he said. “So I don't know that, 'Oh, this week in practice, we're going to do this in a drill to start our practice, and we're going to really start fast this week.' No, I don't think you can (do that). I think the best way I can try to make it make sense is just (to have) more of a sense of urgency, like we seem to have when it's 16-14, when the game's on the line, or when it's 7-0 and it's the drive before the end of the first half. We've been awesome in those situations. We've gone 90 yards. We did it against New York. We did it against Oakland last week. (We need to) find a way to put ourselves in that mind frame and do that from the beginning of the game.” Read