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Inside Enemy Territory: 5 Questions About the Chargers

Inside Enemy Territory is a feature where I ask a blogger for the Patriots’ upcoming opponent five questions about their team and the upcoming game. This week, the Patriots play the San Diego Chargers in their home opener at Gillette Stadium. I contacted Ernie Padaon from Bolt Beat to get his insight on the Chargers. Ernie also asked me five questions about the Patriots, which you can read HERE.

Here’s our Q&A…

1. When was the last time the Chargers were better than .500 in the first quarter of the season?
Ernie Padaon: Too long ago!!! The last time we were over .500, was the last season that Marty Schottenheimer was the head coach for the team. Norv has had a .500 record at best as the head coach of this team and the focus has been to get off to a strong start for the last few seasons now. Maybe this is the year that we can pull it off!
2. Special teams were a major concern last season for the Chargers, and then last week they lost their kicker and had a kick returned for a touchdown. Is special teams once again going to hold this team back?
EP: The NFL really helped us out by moving kickoffs up another 5 yards. If that rule was in place last year, we would have been in the playoffs. Losing Nate Kaeding will be tough for the team, especially with a career 60-something% kicker signed as the replacement. Nick Novak showed some improvement in the UFL last season, but we need to see him do it ourselves.
3. Is Ryan Matthews becoming an important part of the offense or is it the Philip Rivers show?
EP: It will always be the Philip Rivers show on offense. Ryan Mathews is learning more and more of the offense, but still needs to learn how to protect the quarterback better. Mathews does have the home run ability when he gets the ball in his hands though.
4. Jason La Canfora said on NFL Network that the Chargers-Patriots game could be a preview of the AFC championship. Do you agree with that statement?
EP: If you guys can get past the Jets, then YES. I believe our two teams and the Baltimore Ravens will be battling for that top spot in the AFC this year. This could finally be our year!
5. How do you slow down Philip Rivers’ vertical passing game?
EP: In the first half, Norv Turner will take care of that for you. We will probably try to force feed the run in the first half and then fall behind and finally decide that we are a really good passing team. In order to stop Philip, you attack him like you would Tom Brady. You pressure him and hit him as much as possible. He can still burn you if you keep beating him, but if you don’t hit him, you will have no chance.

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Tags: New England Patriots NFL Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers

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