Amidst the fog and chaos of mistakes and fourth string players who will never make it in the NFL, some truths about this team are coming into focus.
On offense, Ryan Matthews is truly a special runner. He has the burst, strength and vision to be great in the NFL. He was able to pick his way through small holes and make multiple tacklers miss on the outside. I would even venture to say that his ability to see plays developing is beyond what LT was capable of his rookie season. If Mathews can stay healthy, he has a shot at becoming the next Hall of Fame runner in SD.
At Quarterback, Phillip Rivers showed he's ready for the season right now. His confidence in the offense and accuracy are in midseason form. He will have a great year. The recievers looked adequate, but it was clear they have no one who can stretch the field quite like Vincent Jackson. There is no doubt this team is worse off without him.
The offensive line looked about like it did last year. The pass blocking was adequate (except for Jeromey Clary's multiple false starts: they guy is just below average, period). The run blocking was weak. Mathews' big gains depended on his own brilliance more than any push. I continue to think there is something wrong with the run blocking strategy, as well as the personell.
The defense also looked about like it did last year, with one obvious truth making itself apparent: this group is average, at best, without an improved Larry English or a Shawne Merriman who has returned to form (both sat out last night). The coverage was passable and guys were making plays in the running game, but without an intense rush off the edge, this defense will be carved up by the better QB's in the league. Steve Gregory had a good game and it appeared Darrell Stuckey sat out, not getting a chance to challenge Gregory for the strarting job. Hopefully, we'll get to see Stuckey next week.