On Now
Coming Up
  • Sun., Mar. 26, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meeting Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Mon., Apr. 03, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with new head coaches may begin offseason workouts Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
  • Fri., Apr. 21, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
  • Fri., Apr. 21, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Cortez
    April 21, 2017
    Parque de Vida in Cortez, CO
    Click here for more information.
  • Sat., Apr. 22, 2017 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT TackleSTEM: Cardboard Combine
  • Sat., Apr. 22, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Del Norte
    April 22, 2017
    High Valley Community Center
    1210 Grand Ave, Del Norte, CO 81132
    Click here for more information.
  • Wed., Apr. 26, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents. Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.
  • Thu., Apr. 27, 2017 12:00 AM MDT 2017 NFL Draft The 2017 NFL Draft begins in Philadelphia and runs through April 29.
  • Fri., May. 05, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Fort Morgan
    May 5, 2017
    Legion Field
    219 S West St, Fort Morgan, CO 80701
    Click here for more information.
  • Sat., May. 06, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Woodland Park
    May 6, 2017
    Woodland Park High School
    151 Panther Way, Woodland Park, CO 80863
    Click here for more information.

Breaking Down the Chargers Offense

Posted Dec 12, 2013

Independent Analyst Andrew Mason takes a look at the Chargers offense.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Between the Broncos' 28-20 win over San Diego in Week 10 and the Denver leg of the teams' annual home-and-home series, the Chargers' offense enjoyed its best performance -- and, arguably, its worst.

But over the long haul of the four games, little has changed. 

Quarterback Philip Rivers remains at a career apex in terms of accuracy, embracing the Chargers' emphasis on short to intermediate routes. 

Running back Ryan Mathews remains in the most consistent stretch of his career; his fumble rate of one every 113.5 touches is the lowest of his career -- just a smidgen better than the rate of one fumble every 111.5 touches last year. The ball security issues that dogged him in his first two seasons -- when he averaged one fumble every 45.2 touches -- have vanished.

Indeed, Mathews is the embodiment of the Chargers offense under former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy: efficient, free of mistakes and consistent. Even in the 17-10 loss to Cincinnati two weeks ago, when the offense struggled, it still converted 46.2 percent of its third-down attempts and averaged 5.3 yards per play -- more than it did in 12 of 16 games last year.

What was a solid performance in 2012 is now considered sub-par. That's due to many factors: Mathews and Rivers' consistency, Antonio Gates' emergence as a more consistent underneath threat, rookie receiver Keenan Allen's growth into a legitimate downfield target.

But the one who's captured the Broncos' notice is running back Danny Woodhead, who scored the Chargers' first touchdown last month on the kind of play you're used to seeing from Denver's offense: a short slant that saw a sharp cut that left a quick defender -- in that case, linebacker Danny Trevathan -- flat-footed.

"He's their move-the-chain guy. It's kind of like (Wes) Welker for us," said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. 

But Woodhead has not been an every-down player, and his very presence changes the balance of the San Diego offense. When Woodhead is in the game, the Chargers pass 75.2 percent of the time; they pass on 42.2 percent of their other snaps. 

The Chargers average 6.40 yards a snap when Woodhead is on the field, and 5.84 yards when he is not. And they score once every 19.9 snaps Woodhead plays, compared with one every 34 when he's on the sideline. 

"He may not be appreciated by others, but we look at him and see a really dynamic player," said defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. "He’s a playmaker. He can run it, he can catch it. He’ll block a little bit – that is not his strong point, but he’s a good football player."

And he's one that the Broncos must contain if they are to win their fifth consecutive game in this highly competitive series.


* As usual, having the advantage in raw time of possession guarantees little. The Chargers have won this statistic in 10 of 13 games to date, and have gone 6-4 in them -- but are 0-3 when out-possessed.

* After covering Tennessee's Kendall Wright for much of Sunday, Harris figures that he'll see plenty of work against inside targets like Antonio Gates and Eddie Royal on Sunday. Gates has a six-inch and 55-pound advantage on Harris, so the third-year cornerback suggests the key is to avoid a physical one-on-one duel with Gates. "I try not to be physical with him. I try to use my technique and my speed on him," said Harris. "He wants a guy like me to try to be physical with him."