Q – Dear Axe Mike E
GATES! With 9 TD’s already this season, how do you plan to neutralize this guy or limit his production?
Who on our defense should cover him. What do you see happening?
I think we need Carl Spackler to cut his hamstrings.
Seriously, he’s going to be a problem. We were able to handle Marcellus Bennett, who is a similar talent, by causing a lot of pressure with our front 4. Problem is, we’re playing Philip Rivers this week, and not Jay Cutler. If we don’t get pressure on Rivers, in general, it’s going to be a tough day. I think a lot of us would like to see Dion Jordan cover Antonio Gates, and while that’s possible, I wouldn’t count on it. I’m sure Dion could run step for step with Gates, but not sure if he can really locate the ball as well as Gates, and that gives gates a huge advantage.
I’d bet we use a combination of Reshad Jones, Louis Delmas and and probably Jelani Jenkins to try can cover Gates, while also giving DJ some reps too. If DJ has success, maybe the others aren’t even necessary, but that’s assuming we allow DJ to cover him at all. If I were Kevin Coyle, I’d have DJ covering our TE’s all day every day in practice to acclimate him to coverage. Whoever it is covering Gates has a difficult job, as the Chargers, like the Bears, not only have Gates, but like Marshall and Jeffery, the Chargers have Malcolm Floyd who’s 6’5” and has 24 receptions for 470 yards, with an impressive 19.6 YPC average. On the other side is Samurai Keenan Allen, 6’2” who has 43 receptions and 427 yards on 64 targets. Allen has been the possession receiver, averaging a low 9.9 YPC. Allen has only 1 TD this year, but as you already pointed out, Gates has 9 (Did I hear a niner in there?)
Q – Based on watching the Denver SD game, I saw a lot of similarities between Denver’s Defensive front and ours that seemed to cause Rivers issues..
Was it just me wearing my Homer glasses, or do you see us being able to get after him and turn him into “Cutler”, panicking and making dumb decisions .. or was their LB crew responsible too much..
Thank you , love your posts sir…
Thank you so much Manitoba, for regularly sending in quality questions. I really do appreciate that!
I do think we have a difficult front 4 to block, no question. We have 2 DT’s (Starks and Mitchell) capable of penetrating the interior and our DE’s are brutal. I hope Vernon continues his fierce play, he really impressed me last weekend. Usually during the game, I’m so emotionally invested in the game, I don’t always catch great individual efforts by a player, but he was impossible to overlook. He was all over the place, and I think if he continues playing like that, he’s going to be our best draft pick on the defensive side in a quite some time. Besides those guys, the guys we rotate in in our various package are very good as well, such as Odrick, Johnson, Fede and Jordan.
Back to your Denver point – The Broncos are tied for 6th with 3 teams with 23 sacks, and we’re close behind with 21 sacks. The Broncos are allowing 20.3 PPG, which puts them 4th, while we’re 7th, with 21.6. You have a very good comparison there with Denver, well done! I think we need to try and force some turnovers against Rivers. He’s always been a gunslinger, but he’s an accurate gunslinger. Rivers has completed 68.3% of his passes, with 20 TD’s, and 5 INT’s. That’s some excellent QB play right there, good enough for 109.9 QBR. He’s been outstanding, so we have our work cut for us.
Q – I think the Chargers game is very important if we’re to make the playoffs. A loss doesn’t mean it’s over but it will make it a lot more difficult to get a wildcard spot, and we have to string some wins together to win the division. What say you?
I couldn’t agree more. We go back and forth on the blog about must wins, but the truth is, if you want to go to the playoffs, they really are must wins. If we want to go 8-8 or 9-7, than there is no urgency to win this particular game, but if we want to be up there with the best teams in the NFL, and make the playoffs, it is.
We most certainly do need to string together some wins. I know the Chargers are 5-3 now, and have lost 2 in a row, but their first loss of the season was very competitive 1 point loss to the ARZ Cardinals. They lost by 3 to KC, and then got outmatched at Denver by the Broncos, who were the better team. We’re 4-3 now, and the AFC is filled with teams similar to us. The AFC North has the Bengals at 4-2-1, followed by the Steelers and Ravens at 5-3, and the Browns at 4-3. The texans are 4-4 and the Chargers are 5-3, followed by the Chiefs at 4-3. If we want to make the playoffs, we need to keep pace. Our schedule isn’t going to get easier either. We travel to Detroit next week, then back home for the Bills, who we can’t seem to beat. After that, we travel to Denver to play the Broncos which is like trying to beat last years Seahawks at home. Almost impossible.
I hope our coaches feel like I do, and sense the urgency to rise to the top, and I hope our players do as well. We have a fine history of having excellence here, I’d like to see us get that back. Mediocrity not only doesn’t sell tickets, it causes turnover at GM and the coaching staffs. We need to be stable and and move up instead of sideways or backwards. We’re at 4-3, lets make a statement by not only winning 3 in a row, but by knocking off a talented SD team who is somewhat desperate for a victory after losing 2 in a row!
Q – Simple one — project the stats for Dion Jordan at end of the year. Sacks, tackles and you can throw in INTs if you want.
Do I have to? You probably won’t like it, even though we have to take into account his suspension, which kept him out of practice for 6 weeks.
OK, Here it is . . .
20 tackles, 3 sacks, 0 INT’s, 1 FF, 1 FR, 5 PD
Really hard to gauge this obviously, and it can change big time if there are any injuries to our starting DE’s, or even more so if DJ himself gets hurt. I think his numbers will be meager, and once again, we’ll go into next season not really having a good idea of exactly what we have with Dion Jordan, the #3 pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Q – When will we know who this team is; their identity? Or, are we destined to be indefinable again? By indefinable, I mean no discernible personality- something you can hang your hat on.. consistently predict a presence. I am afraid my question is too vague, but I’m just trying to figure out what we are; when other teams play/prepare for us they’ll say..” “? Good luck. Lol
As the Smelly Tuna once said, “You are what your record says you are”
Those words are somewhat true. Of course, your record can be determined by an easy schedule, or tough schedule, but in the end, it still applies. We will be what our record says we are.
Now, I’m really hoping our record tells us we’re a playoff team, as we go 10-6, and enter the playoffs for the 1st time since 2008. If we’re 10-6, it will say we are a capable team, that can win more than they lose. 4 games over .500 isn’t elite, but in the NFL, a 10 win team is good enough. if we’re 9-7, it will tell us we’re close to being where we want to be, and compared to being 8-8 last year, a minor improvement. I think if we go 9-7, Joe Philbin should stay, as he has us on the rise, even if only a slight rise.
If we go 8-8, it tells us we’re not finding ways to win enough games, and maybe we’re lacking in either talent or coaching, or both. If we go 7-9, it will tell us that we’re mired in quicksand, going nowhere. At 8-8 it’s a tough call on Joe, but I think you all know what my preference would be. At 7-9, it tells us something has to change, especially since we went backwards from last year. At 7-9, I think it would be time let Joe go, and I’m sure at some point, he will find a job as an OC, or some other capacity in the NFL. 7-9 is NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME, and a clear statement that something here is amiss.
I do think we can make it to 10-6, and I’m being totally serious. I know we have a tough schedule, but I think we’re capable of getting there. The defense is certainly up to the task, and if the O-line plays like they have most of the year, last week NOT included, I think it’s in the hands of the Coaches, and Ryan Tannehill to get us there. If Tannehill plays like he did for the stretch from the Raiders game, the 2nd half of the GB game, through to the Bears game, it will happen. If he plays like he did against the Jaguars, the Chiefs or the Bills, we’re done for.
Here’s to 10-6 TryPod, and our first playoff berth since ’08!
And now for the babe of the week . . .