PFF Preview: Chargers @ Raiders, Week 6
If there’s one thing consistent about the coaching staff in Oakland, it’s that they tend to be leased rather than bought. Dennis Allen found that out last week as he became the latest in a series of seven consecutive head coaches who failed to remain with the team longer than three years. Starting 0-4 had a lot to do with it, but there was precious little young talent to work with on this roster so it’s hard to know how much better another coach could have done.
Whether or not Allen was the primary culprit for Oakland’s start, management deemed him responsible, handing over the reins to Tony Sparano during the team’s bye week. Veteran signings have so far returned mixed results, with some (like Justin Tuck, +6.7) proving worthwhile additions while others (such as Carlos Rogers, -5.4) doing little to help. It’s hard not to like what you see from Khalil Mack, though, as the fifth overall pick this May has been everything the scouts said he would be, even if you’d like to see him rushing the passer a bit more frequently.
He’ll get his chance against Philip Rivers and the Chargers. It may not make much difference if he can’t sack Rivers, as the veteran quarterback has managed a QB rating of 94.7 even when under duress. Making the most of a solid receiving corps and an offensive line that likes to make things difficult for him, Rivers is nonetheless putting forth an impressive year. It’s hard to ignore the improvement on defense too, with the addition of Brandon Flowers and a healthy Dwight Freeney making their impact felt. If the defense can maintain their play and the offense can find someone to snap the ball to Rivers in the gun, there’s no reason to think the Chargers can’t make it back to the playoffs.
San Diego Chargers
Corey Liuget – Abiding to the rule that he can’t play either well or poorly for two consecutive years, Liuget has been on the upswing in 2014, earning a +3.5 run defense grade and tallying 10 knockdowns.
Brandon Flowers – After the disappointing group of corners that they trotted out last year, Flowers (+10.6 coverage) must look like an All-Pro caliber talent and in allowing just a 34.0 QB rating on passes thrown his way, he’s not far off.
Branden Oliver – The rookie free-agent running back has forced seven missed tackles on very limited snaps. That’s the same amount as Donald Brown, though Oliver has done it on 39 touches to Brown’s 72.
James Jones – With something of a reputation for dropping passes at inopportune times in Green Bay, Jones has caught 21 of the 26 passes thrown his way with no drops.
Donald Penn – This season Penn has allowed only eight pressures; all hurries but for a lone sack — and he’ll hope to keep that number from inflating too much against Freeney.
Charles Woodson – The 38-year-old Woodson has played 123 snaps in coverage this year, allowing just a single catch for nine yards and picking off a pass.
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