Chargers learning by watching

Chargers learning by watching
San Diego Chargers Cornerback Josh Johnson (36) handles punt return duties during the first preseason game. Photo by Bill Reilly

SAN DIEGO — Play, pause and rewind buttons on every remote control in each of the NFL’s 32 teams’ film rooms must be near worn out following the first week of preseason action.Last week marked the first time this season that teams faced opposing teams; that players tackled other players to the ground and offenses got different looks from defenses.Around the league coaches and players began watching film of their games, whether a win or a loss, analyzing every play, watching them unfold in regular speed and then in slow motion, again and again.Despite a loss 31-10 to the Seattle Seahawks, the Chargers’ film room was no different following their preseason game on Aug. 8.That’s one thing you’ve always got to do after a game, is go back in the film room and look at every little thing, said head coach Mike McCoy.

And what’s best about watching game day film over training camp film?

In training camp guys are in shorts and they’re not going to the ground, not finishing plays, explained McCoy. The game, he said, is about blocking and tackling.

“We’ll watch the tape and see how many missed tackles we had, or if there’s a lack of finish on the offensive side of the ball,” he said.

Given that there are a lot of young players getting an opportunity to make a roster spot, and veterans are still learning a new system, McCoy and the coaching staff translate a missed tackle or blown assignment seen on film into a coachable situation on the field.

“As coaches, I always tell the players ‘Tell us what you don’t understand.’ There’s no excuses game day. You’ve got a job to do; you’re supposed to do it the right way and I don’t want to hear an excuse of, ‘well, I didn’t know.’ No, that’s our job as coaches — to coach them,” he said.

Game day film is a great way to show the players what finishing the plays mean, McCoy added.

After reviewing his firs preseason game, first round draft pick and right tackle D.J. Fluker said he could do “a lot better.”

Getting better as far as getting his hands on the right places, getting over double team, being able to move the pile, and hustle a whole lot more, he said.

“I’m watching everything,” Fluker said. “I’m watching anybody, because I want to be able to learn what they’re doing — good, bad — if their hand placement is good, I want to know how to get my hand placement right,” he said.

Even for veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, he still takes “tons” away from watching game day film, he said. And the learning curve improves that much more quickly, too.

“You tend to get used to going against your own guys,” Rivers said. “There’s only so many different pass moves that the guy you’re going against on your own team in training camp can do; or so many different coverages they can play

“So it’s nice to get out there and not be able to know the coverage; not know exactly what the guys are doing and have some different match ups.”

The preseason games not only help the young guys and the guys fighting like crazy for a roster spot, but all of the team as a unit getting in sync, getting going and building as they prepare for the home opener, Rivers added.

 

 

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