12thMR: Are the Chargers “for real” this season? Assuming you do, what makes you believe this team is better than last season’s Divisional Round squad? Prediction?
BB: The San Diego Chargers have a better team than last season, but not sure how that will translate during the season. The schedule is tougher this season playing against the NFC West. The team has not lost any key players from last season’s squad and they only added new pieces into the mix. They will have Malcom Floyd back for the season to help the offense and have added a few key players onto the defense.
I think that they will finish with around 9-10 wins during the year.
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12thMR: Who are a couple of backups that Seahawks’ fans should be watching for with San Diego this week?
BB: Watch out for RB Branden Oliver and WR Dontrelle Inman on offense. They both had outstanding games last week and are fighting for roster spots. Oliver reminds a lot of Chargers fans of a heftier Darren Sproles. Inman has been impressive with his speed and ability to get open down the field.
12thMR: Over at Bolt Beat, you seem to be pretty high on Phillip Rivers and his prospects of making the Pro Bowl again in 2014/2015. What factors will lead to this becoming reality for P.R. this season? What factors could derail that reality?
BB: The offensive scheme that Mike McCoy brought over has been perfect for Philip Rivers. The team has a lot of trust in him to run the offense and it allows him to use his brain and get rid of the ball quickly. He will finish with a high completion percentage again and has more weapons on offense this year. He should make it to the Pro Bowl. Only way he doesn’t is if he gets hurt.
12thMR: The Hawks and Bolts will meet again in just a few weeks for real, so my thought is that there won’t be a whole lot of anything shown on Friday. How do you see it playing out from the strategic standpoint of “showcasing” anything just to see how it might look against the other team?
BB: It will be a bunch of backups getting on the field running some vanilla schemes. It will be all about finding the top 53 on Friday.
12thMR: Ryan Matthews is fairly well known, but there’s a lot of intrigue with the Chargers’ backup running back situation, what’s that all about and who are these guys we’ll be looking at Friday?
BB: Mathews will be the main back when the season starts. He will get the main work. Danny Woodhead comes in during passing situations and in 3rd down. He gets a lot of work during the 2-minute offense as well because of his ability to catch passes and protect Philip. Donald Brown will be thrown into the mix as a change of pace. The team will be relying on it’s running game a lot this year.
12thMR: Any Seahawks you’re looking forward to seeing this week?
BB: To be honest, I will be staring at the Chargers players and evaluating their performances.
Thanks to Ernie Padaon for taking the time out to talk with us about this matchup, we look forward to this one Friday and will get back with BoltBeat.com in week two when the Hawks visit the Chargers for one that counts.