We’ve entered Week 3 and after a shootout with the Chiefs, the Chargers are hoping to rebound against the Jags. Below are some x-factors that the Chargers will need to get back in that “W” column:
[brid autoplay=”true” video=”1104099″ player=”32134″ title=”Chargers%20Vs%20Jaguars%20Week%20Three%20Preview%20Storylines%20Keys%20Justin%20Herbert%20&%20The%20Opportunity%20Ahead” duration=”2462″ description=”In this episode, Jake and Dan preview the week three matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars. How will LAC perform after a difficult and hard-fought game a week ago vs the Kansas City Chiefs? Will Justin Herbert play, and what should fan expectations be for him? What is the health status of Keenan Allen, Corey Linsley, JC Jackson, Trey Pipkins, and the rest of the team? What are the keys to stopping Trevor Lawrence and the JAX offense? How can the Chargers offense take advantage of Jacksonville’s defense? How to plan an offense to be able to attack the Jacksonville defensive line? What are the keys to the game overall? Bold predictions, key matchups, mismatches, and final score predictions are all in this episode. Los Angeles Chargers are home to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. All this and more – tune in!Chargers vs Jaguars Week Three Preview | Storylines, Keys, Justin Herbert & The Opportunity AheadHosted by Jake Hefner and Dan Wolkenstein from the LAFB Network, Chargers Unleashed is a sports-focused podcast providing Los Angeles Chargers fans, writers, and listeners with news, team and game breakdowns, unique and refreshing perspectives, as well as exclusive special guest episodes with several NFL and Chargers players, HOF announcers, writers, insiders. and NFL Draft prospects. Chargers Unleashed prides itself on providing authentic Chargers coverage as a voice for Chargers fans, and in collaboration with Chargers fans worldwide. Tune into Chargers Unleashed for the latest Chargers highlights, Chargers recaps, Chargers news, Chargers predictions, Chargers players, and more.Chargers Players discussed include Justin Herbert, Derwin James, Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, Nasir Adderley, Rashawn Slater, Corey Linsley, Josh Palmer, Kyle Van Noy, Asante Samuel Jr, JC Jackson, and much more. We also discuss Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley and the rest of the Chargers coaching staffTwitter: @LAC_Unleashed | @DanWSports | @JakeTHefnerTwitter: https://www.twitter.com/LAC_UnleashedFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChargersUnleashedOur website: https://www.lafbnetwork.com/chargers-unleashedTHANK YOU SPONSORS! This episode of Chargers Unleashed is sponsored and brought to you by:***Head over to BetOnline.ag on your desktop or your mobile device to sign up today and receive your 50% Welcome Bonus on your first deposit! Just use our Promo Code: BLEAV50 to get started.***Charger Bolt Family! Find them on Facebook and on Instagram for all of your Chargers memorabilia, upcoming player signings, free giveaways, raffles, tailgating experiences, and more!***RSSM***LIQUID DEATH: Go get Liquid Death at your local Whole Foods Market, Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, or 7-Eleven. Or find a Liquid Death retailer near you with their store locator tool at LiquidDeath.com/LAFB. That’s LiquidDeath.com/LAFB.” uploaddate=”2022-09-23″ thumbnailurl=”https://cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/22501/snapshot/1104099_th_1663945818.jpg” contentUrl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/22501/sd/1104099.mp4″ width=”16″ height=”9″]
Double Trouble (Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa)
Making another appearance in my x-factors, and I’m sure it will not be the last, is the terrible twosome of Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa. Daniel Popper of The Athletic remarked after the game last week, “The Chargers did an excellent job of containing Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to the pocket…Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, who both played over 90 percent of the defensive snaps, deserve a lot of credit for how disciplined they were in their rushes.” Mahomes was still productive, throwing for 235 passing yards but Mack and Bosa each had 3 hurries while Mack had one sack, and each made sure for the most part that Mahomes was unable to make those magical Mahomes-type throws due to all the defensive pressure.
Trevor Lawrence is getting more comfortable in the pocket, so it’ll be up to Mack and Bosa to shake that confidence and breakthrough quickly. Of the games that Lawrence played last year, his completion percentage was fairly high at 68.1% when the pocket was clean, but that percentage suffered when under pressure (38.4%) and when blitzed (50.0%). Lawrence is also quick and not afraid to scramble, and in this last game against the Colts, did a few bootleg plays allowing him to get better positioning. His average time to throw on all dropbacks was also the lowest it was in the entire 2021 season during this last game at 2.31 seconds. Despite his speed, if either Mack or Bosa can get to him, the odds of Lawrence still standing, never mind getting the ball off that fast, seems slim.
The Chargers Need A Hero On The Offensive Line
If Justin Herbert plays on Sunday, the offensive line protection will be critical in making sure that his injury doesn’t worsen. And if he doesn’t play, it’ll still be necessary as the Chargers can’t afford to leave their fate in the hands of Easton Stick if Chase Daniel gets hurt. One of those heroes of this offensive line could obviously be Corey Linsley if he manages to play. The pocket always stays cleaner with him in it, and he didn’t allow any quarterback pressures when he was in during the Chiefs game last week.
Zion Johnson could also be that hero as he allowed very few quarterback pressures and no sacks in his first two games and held it down during the Chiefs game when so much was up in the air with injuries. Johnson, Linsley as well as Rashawn Slater will be some of the key pieces keeping Herbert safe, and let’s hope that Matt Feiler and Trey Pipkins (if Pipkins is playing) can hold their own. My worry has shifted slightly from Pipkins to Feiler now as he hasn’t always been great at pass blocking, especially in 2021 when he allowed the most sacks of his career at 5. At a time when pass-blocking will be critical, he definitely needs to hold his own if the pocket is to remain free of the likes of Josh Allen and Travon Walker.
Beware Of Derwin James
Travis Kelce said during his podcast on September 8th with his brother that Derwin James “is an absolute beast on the defensive side” and his brother Jason Kelce remarked that James hits harder than most linebackers. And the body slam on Travis during the Chiefs game last week, 100% proves that point. James is unstoppable and it’s no wonder he’s the highest-paid safety in the league. And he was certainly the piece that the Chargers needed to make sure Kelce didn’t pull out any 3rd quarter heroics. Derwin will be key in covering receivers like Christian Kirk, who has been dominating the Jags offense. In week 1 Kirk had 117 receiving yards and in Week 2 had 78 and two touchdowns. Evan Engram and Travis Etienne are other targets to watch out for, but Kirk definitely seems to be the biggest offensive threat, so you can bet that he’ll be getting some special attention from James.
Can The Real Running Back Room Please Stand UP?
The Jags struggled last year in run defense against teams like the Titans, Colts, and Falcons. And coincidentally those teams also have elite running backs in Derrick Henry (130 rushing yards during the Jags during week 5), Jonathan Taylor (116 rushing yards during Week 10), and Cordarrelle Patterson (108 rushing yards during Week 12). Though Taylor couldn’t make an impact in the Colts’ Week 2 blowout loss to the Jags, if the Chargers offensive line is intact with its usual suspects, the Chargers’ running backs should fare better.
Austin Ekeler can be commended for absolutely fighting for every inch during Week 2 to give the Chargers as much positive momentum as he did. He’s just been contained these last few weeks, as targets have been spread between Joshua Kelley and Sony Michel, and he’s been stopped with some tough defenses like the Chiefs. This game should be a bounce-back not only for Ekeler but for the other backs. And while Herbert heals, the less he has to fully extend to make those monster throws and can quickly hand it off so that he doesn’t risk getting hit, the better.
Chargers X-Factors For Pivotal Week Three Matchup Against The Jaguars. Photo Credit – Mike Nowak