PFF Preview: Chargers @ Dolphins, Week 9
After a good start to the season, the San Diego Chargers (5-3) have stumbled and lost their last two games to division rivals. They will travel across the country this week to play the Miami Dolphins (4-3) who are coming off two victories on the road.
The Dolphins pass rush has generated pressure on the quarterback 138 times this season, which has been a key to their success. Cameron Wake leads the team with six sacks, but not far behind is Olivier Vernon with four. They have also generated pressure with their secondary. Cortland Finnegan has hurried the quarterback six times, while Louis Delmas and Reshad Jones each have a sack. The Dolphins currently have the third highest pass rush rating in the league (+22.1), while Wake has the highest Pass Rush Productivity rating for defensive ends in a 4-3 scheme.
The Chargers have struggled in pass blocking, where they currently rank 29th in the league (-28.7). The best pass block rating that a Chargers offensive lineman who has played at least half of the team’s offensive snaps is held by King Dunlap with a -1.7 mark. However, this struggle to pass block has not slowed down Phillip Rivers. His PFF rating does drop when under pressure as most quarterbacks do, but he has still managed a healthy +7.4 when under pressure with only one interception.
Here are some other players to watch when these two meet up on Sunday:
San Diego Chargers
Eric Weddle – In the absence of two of the better cornerbacks this year (Flowers and Verrett), Weddle played his best game of the year in pass coverage (+4.1) last week against the Denver Broncos.
Dwight Freeney – Freeney leads the team in pass rush rating (+8.5) and ranks eighth in the league in Pass Rush Productivity.
Jarret Johnson – The Chargers other starting outside linebacker has excelled in run defense (+5.5), making him a good complement to Freeney’s pass rush ability.
Jelani Jenkins – The Dolphins linebacker has played well all around. He has excelled in run defense (+5.2), pass coverage (+3.8), and has recorded two sacks. He also ranks fourth in Tackling Efficiency at his position.
Cortland Finnegan – Finnegan has excelled at coverage in the slot this year where he has a Cover Snaps Per Reception ratio of 12.7, which ranks him as the 2nd best in the league.
Olivier Vernon – Opposite of Cameron Wake, Vernon has had a good year outside of one poor performance against the Oakland Raiders (-3.0). His overall rating (+7.4) is the 7th best among 4-3 defensive ends.