By Marc Mandell

@mandell_w on Twitter

360Sports Review on Facebook

This week will be different. It will be more disciplined, better executed and faster play speed. It will be war. As I have said in the past, I am a fan first. Call me a homer, call me whatever you want, but as a fan I have a certain level of…acrimony for our neighbors in the AFC West. San Diego is no exception. What happened 15 days ago in San Diego was not indicative of what the Denver Broncos are capable of. On Sunday, at 2:15pm, the Chargers are going to be immersed in an angry environment that would make the most wretched creatures take flight. So much like the mosquitoes of Florida, the San Diego Chargers will be zapped, smashed and and eaten alive. Welcome back to Mile High, Phil.

Henry Hunter, Melvin Gordon and Phillip Rivers will be the main concern of the Denver defense. These are the three that humiliated the Broncos on that horrid Thursday night game. Since that dreadful debacle though, Wade Phillips, has made some adjustments to help the struggling linebackers and interior linemen. I really like Brandon Marshall’s skills and play, but the loss of Danny Trevathan has started to show its ugliness a little bit. Danny and Marshall had an excellent understanding of what each other was doing while on the field. It’s just going to take time to create the same rapport with Todd Davis. In the meantime, Wade is playing more zone defense and taking some of the pressure off the two linebackers for now. It should make covering TE Hunter Henry and TE Antonio Gates a bit smoother.

Melvin Gordon has had a break out year. He is scoring well and finding the open lanes. He is on his way to a 1000-yard rushing, 16 touchdown season. And that’s just on the ground. He has 2 TD’s through the air to boot. This will be Shane Ray’s prime objective this week. Keep containment, don’t let Gordon rip off huge runs like Lamar Miller did on Monday Night. Seal the edge, maintain assignment and shut Melvin down! This will make or break the game on Sunday. For both teams. Who can establish the run and impose their will on the other team.

This does present a new wrinkle in the run game doesn’t it? Without CJ, it’s up to the rookie Davonte Booker and his back up Kapri Bibbs. Bibbs has been with the team for a couple of years now but this is his first real shot at making a difference when it matters. Both backs are young and inexperienced. They can both make guys miss, shake to the outside or cutback and run down the seam, but the mark of a tried and true running back is……you guessed it, pass protection. Can Booker and Bibbs protect Trevor Siemian while he goes through his progressions? Can these two read the defense the same way the QB does? No one really knows yet. Now there are benefits to having a young, relatively unknown back make his first start. It’s that they are relatively unknown. Opposing teams don’t have a large film category on them. So while the Broncos and fans don’t know what we are going to get on Sunday, either do the Chargers. There won’t be a specific way to game plan against them. So pluses and minuses here. I, for one, will be rather curious to see how he does, as I’m sure most of you will be as well.

Here is Trevor’s passing chart from last week. If you remember from week 2, there were a lot of passes thrown to the left side of the field. We were left hanging on the edge our seat the following week to see if he would make any adjustments, but we were left in suspense because of the injury he sustained against Atlanta. However now, with what seems like a much healthier Siemian, we should get a look at adjustments made. Hopefully this includes more and deeper balls through the air. There was only one completion more than 10 yards down field last week and that isn’t going to cut it. If the run works, than the pass will too.

Donald Stephenson the right tackle looked like he got some of the rust off against the Texans. Max Garcia, the left guard, graded pretty well last week too. Even Russell Okung was improved, despite his holding calls. The thing that I would love to see is some consistency on the offensive line. To play better as a unit, working together.

All of the offensive changes that I have mentioned will be new to San Diego this week. Two weeks ago, the QB wasn’t right, the running game was terrible because half the O-line was different. Oh and the head coach was at home icing his dome. And it was on the road. It was by all accounts a different team, and an improved team is what the Chargers are going to get.

DeMarcus Ware practiced on Wednesday for the first time since week 2. Personally I would prefer him to sit till after the bye week, as Denver’s D has managed without him, and the more time Ware misses now, the better he will be when the games mean even more later on in the season. But it’s not my decision to make after all. Brandon Marshall is a little banged up right now too, with a hamstring strain. As of Thursday, Aqib Talib was held out of practice with a back injury. I’ll tweet more updates as I get them.

By Sunday evening, I believe that the Final from Denver will be 17-21 in the Broncos favor. Make the rest of the division catch us, as it should be, in the AFC West.

Thanks so much for reading and as always, GO BRONCOS!!!!!

 

 

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