Adrian Peterson WHO? It's debatable that Beanie Wells has the best stiff arm in the NFL. When Stanford Routt is able to get up off the ground you can just ask him. Ladies and gentlemen he is back. And by popular demand, so is the stiff arm. Beanie was out for the first two games due to a minor surgery that he had during the preseason. To much of our surprise, it wasn't revealed until just recently. It doesn't matter now because he is back and looks hungrier than ever. But alas, when one star shines, another star flickers out. Steve Breaston is that twinkle. Having had the same surgery, he will be missed for the next few weeks. Can we survive with Fitz and three rookies (two undrafted)? We'll find out. Here are 5 things to look at during the big game this weekend.
1. The Howling BeanTower is finally healthy. We weren't quite sure what we would get out of these three last week as Beanie was just coming back from injury and hadn't seen the field all season. To say it bluntly, he looked DAMN good last week. 75 yards on 14 carries and NOfumbles. He looked decisive in the holes and ran with authority and a mean streak we had been missing the first 2 weeks. Timmy remains a good option to start as he still is our best pass blocking back and is not too bad in the run game either. LSH continues to punish teams that passed him over in the draft. He has a stifling 7 yards per carry. Exciting, yeah I would say so. Now that the Beanie's dress rehearsal is over, I think we are ready to see the full assault from all three this week.
2. Can Derek Anderson get any worse? Well yes he could, but not by much. He is already having a subpar season, even by his standards. Is it all his fault? Absolutely not. He has had very little time to drop back and scan the field before making a sound decision on a target. Poor pass protection would kill any QB's hopes of building confidence. Although having a quick release wouldn't hurt either. Believe it or not, after watching this last game, it appears his timing is getting a little better with his receivers. There were many passes thrown that should have been completions. That's right. Too many drops by the receivers. This will have to improve or the INTs will start to mount up. Besides that, our 3rd down conversions will continue to spin in the toilet.
3. 3 rookie receivers and a not quite 100% Fitz. Stephen Williams, Max Komar and Andre Roberts will have to grow up quickly if they want to help this team win. Fitz is showing signs that he is getting better and will continue to get double teamed. This will be our rookies' opportunity to show their stuff against single coverage. But they will have to react quickly as the Chargers front 7 will continuously pressure DA. Under/over thrown or tipped passes could be disastrous if our rooks don't quickly get in position and then go get the ball. The Chargers, by all accounts, have under achieved to this point and their record should have no baring on the type of game they will play in front of a home crowd. I expect to see more deep balls thrown this game and Williams should be in position to come down with some long balls. Komar will be a threat in the slot and Roberts should show signs of life this game as well.
4. Can our edge blockers contain their front 7? Levi Brown is not the answer at LT. Or RT for that matter. Now obviously this is my opinion, but I would rather see Jeremy Bridges log some time there. He is not as good of a run blocker as Brown, but he is a much better pass blocker. DA is more mobile than some of us expected, but his blind side needs the best protection we can offer. I don't want to see him get hurt because of a slow footed Brown. Keith will get better. This is his first season starting. Lights Out and Brandon Siler (I know he's an ILB) are quick linebackers that would greatly benefit from our weak ends. I don't like this match-up.
5. Can our Special Teams beat theirs? LSH is awesome. Expect him to keep us in good field position all game long. He might even break one as their ST unit has been shaky all season. They do have two studs returning, but will it be enough to stop the Hyphen? Kick return should be a cake walk. Punt return is another story. Apparently we will stick with Roberts, even though he had a terrible showing last week. This is a battle we can't afford to lose. Momentum swings and the crowd gets electrified with this play. If he loses another fumble in their territory, we will be in for a long day.
I'm sure there are countless other things to watch for during the game. What are your thoughts?