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Keys to the Game: Chargers vs. Titans

Posted Sep 20, 2013

Here are five keys to this week's game between the Chargers and Titans.

Here are five keys to the game heading into Sundays match in Tennessee between the San Diego Chargers and the Tennessee Titans:

1.  Bottle Up their Run– Watching Tennessee’s offense, it is overly apparent that they rely on the run game to set up the pass.  Between speedy game-breaker Chris Johnson and the powerful downhill running of Jackie Battle, the Titans have a one-two punch they look to cram down the opposing defense’s throats.  Thus, Defensive Coordinator John Pagano is preparing his team to face a steady attack on the ground

“Our emphasis is stopping the run and they run the ball very well. They’re a power running game with two different types of backs. One that’s that home run game breaker that can cut inside and cut outside. He still shows the ability to make those unbelievable cuts. And then they bring in a guy like Jackie Battle, who’s running downhill, that our guys are familiar with from playing against him in Kansas City and being here last year. It’s the type of player he is and he fits their scheme. They’re a power running football team that loves to mix in the play action pass, takes their shots down field and that’s what they’re about and that’s what they’ve always been about.”

2.  Tackle CJ2K – Going hand-in-hand with our first key, the Chargers can’t let their guard down against Johnson.  Many times over his career he’s had a series of minimal or no gain attempts, only to break through for a long run.  So, the Chargers can’t be satisfied if they begin the game with a number of tackles on “CJ2K” because if they get lulled to sleep, as Dwight Freeney says, Johnson has the knack for making you pay:

“As long as they’ve got Chris over there, he’s a guy where at any point, he can take it to the house. His home run creditability, he could have three, four, five negative runs where you think you’ve had him, then all of a sudden third quarter (he) comes out and takes it 80 (yards). It’s going to start with stopping him”


3.  Be Prepared  for a “Super-Active” Titans DefenseAs mentioned earlier in the week, statistically speaking based on where they rank compared to the previous teams the Bolts have faced, the Titans’ defense will provide the stiffest challenge yet.  A major reason for that is how active they are on defense.  A stingy front seven and an experienced front seven combine to form a defense Philip Rivers says is a tough group to face:

“They’re very multiple in what they do, in their looks.  I think they have a super-active defensive front and front seven.  Their linebackers fly around; they’re real active and they’re good pass rushers.  The secondary is an experienced group, and it’s a good defense.  The way they played both teams—they played Houston really well, and Pittsburgh, holding them to nine points—it’s a good group.”

 

4.  Fill the Void for Floyd – After sustaining a sprained neck last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, Malcom Floyd is out this week against Tennessee.  As a result, the other receivers are going to have to step up and fill the void left by the veteran wideout who has recorded six catches for 149 yards and a team-leading 24.8 yards per catch through six quarters of action.  Not only will Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown and Antonio Gates have to continue to produce like they have thus far, but Keenan Allen and Seyi Ajirotutu may very well see an increase of snaps.  According to Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, the team feels  confident they can step it up :

“I think we know a little about (Ajirotutu) just because he has history here. He did a nice job for us coming into training camp. He had to carry a lot of the burden against San Francisco in that last preseason game, because we were so thin at receiver and he did a nice job of it. Keenan answered the bell when Malcom went down in the game. Malcom goes down and Keenan makes a big catch on third down. It’s good to see him do that. With a young player, the challenge is to make sure you stress them to keep doing it.”

 

5.  Overcome the Crowd Noise– For the second straight week the Bolts will need to be road warriors.  LPField will be rocking as it is Tennessee’s home opener.  Rivers has played numerous times in Nashville and he mentioned how raucous a crowd Titans fans can be:

“It’s a tough place to come play.  It’s a good place to play.  It’s a tough crowd….  It’s definitely a challenge.  We’re both 1-1 and trying to fight to get our second win.  It’ll be a heck of a game.”

 

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