Right now, among NFL circles the San Diego Chargers may be considered by some a pass-first team.
Through the Chargers’ 2-2 start, Philip Rivers has been arguably the team’s standout performer. He’s thrown for over 250 yards in each of San Diego’s first four games, including a 436-yard performance against Baltimore in Week 2. With his efforts, the Chargers rank second in the league with 295.5 passing yards per game.
The team’s rushing offense, meanwhile, has been at the opposite end of the spectrum. Through the first quarter of the team’s slate, the Chargers’ rushing attack ranks last among NFL squads, averaging 2.7 yards per carry and 53.8 yards per game.
Head Coach Josh McDaniels isn’t taking San Diego’s rushing offense for granted, though. Far from it. He said those statistics might be skewed because the Chargers have had to play catch up in a few games, causing the team to abandon the running game at times in favor of Rivers’ arm.
Featuring a backfield armed with the names LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles — and an all-around dangerous offensive attack to deal with — McDaniels said the Broncos have their work cut out for them.
“We are certainly very aware of their ability to run the football,” McDaniels said. “They have got people who can block well up front. Sproles and LT are very dangerous. We have talked a lot about we don’t want to be that team that they get it going against. They are going to be a great challenge for us because they have so many weapons other places, you can’t double team everybody and put a safety down (in the box) every play. You are going to have to pick your poison, and you are going to have to play sound defense.”
McDaniels said another factor possibly hindering San Diego’s rushing attack early in the season could have been the health of Tomlinson. The veteran back sat out the club’s last two games due to an ankle injury.
But with the Chargers coming off a bye Tomlinson is expected to return to the team’s lineup on Monday Night Football. With that rest, Champ Bailey expects the former MVP to be in San Diego’s lineup and at the top of his game.
“Coming off a bye week, he’s probably feeling as good as ever,” Bailey said. “So I’ve got a feeling that they’re probably going to feed him more than they ever have. That guy, he’s a special player.”
Two Broncos did not participate in Thursday’s practice session — LaMont Jordan (not injury related) and Spencer Larsen (shoulder). Correll Buckhalter (ankle) was listed as a full participant.
For the Chargers, C Nick Hardwick (ankle) was listed as out. Two other players — ILB Stephen Cooper (knee) and WR Kassim Osgood (back) did not partcipate in the session. OLB Antwan Applewhite (hamstring), DE Travis Johnson (groin), OLB Shawne Merriman (groin), OLB Shaun Phillips (calf) and P Mike Scifres (bilateral groin) participated in full.
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com
Here are some photos from the onset of Thursday afternoon’s practice session: