The Los Angeles Chargers offense continues to struggle. They can’t move the ball. They can’t push the ball downfield. They can’t run and won’t commit to any physicality up front. They can’t protect the quarterback.
As it stands right now, the Chargers have 7 points against the Denver Broncos, QB Justin Herbert was downgraded to OUT with a finger injury, and the offense pretty much has only one notable drive.
I will wait until this game is over to really dive into what the offense accomplished today (or didn’t), but one thing is very clear, this offense is a mess pre-snap.
Not just with pre-snap penalties (they had a critical illegal shift on a 4th down attempt today), but in recognizing defensive sets, coverages, and blitzes. This may be unfair, but a lot of this falls on Justin Herbert.
For all of the things that Herbert does so well, he is not as strong at dissecting a defense at the line of scrimmage pre-snap. Before Chargers fans come at me with pitchforks, that is not to say that is terrible, or never makes the correct read, but there are too many times where he makes an incorrect read or decision.
Now, this shouldn’t all fall on Herbert. The center is another member of the offense that calls out the linebacker looks and makes sure that the offensive line is in cohesion. The loss of Corey Linsley has been very evident in this regard. He is obviously one of the best in the game a pure pass and run blocking, but what he does for this team pre-snap is where he is really missed.
Also, good defensive coordinators and play callers make their salt on disguising coverages and blitzes. The coach they played last week (Bill Belichick) is one of the best in history at doing it.
I totally understand these factors and nuances and can appreciate that Justin Herbert could use some more help. But all of that being said, the QB has to be more responsible with recognizing the blitz, especially if it’s coming out of Cover 0.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I am smarter than these coaches or these players, but when your front is outnumbered, and you don’t call a motion man to help with the block call, you have to know that the ball needs to come out hot.
Too many times do we see Herbet drop back in his normal drop cadence, waiting for the play to develop, and end up being a sitting duck for the blitzing defender. We’ve seen it at the end of just about every game in crunch time. We saw it in the first half against Denver. Has the offensive line regressed? Certainly. But the defense knows that Herbert isn’t going to check out of the call or get the ball out quickly. So they are able to just dial it up and bring the heat.
The offense hasn’t been much better in the 2nd half of this game against the Broncos, but for whatever reason, the pressure has been less on now QB Easton Stick, they have pushed the ball a bit further down the field, and even hit Quentin Johnston for 57 yards.
The Chargers offense is broken. There are many pieces to blame, but if Justin Herbert is able to sure things up a bit pre-snap, they will have more of a fighting chance.