Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley met with the media yesterday afternoon as the team prepares for a Sunday home tilt against division rival San Diego Chargers. The Chargers of course have been dubbed one of the most talented teams the past few years but, like the Dallas Cowboys, that talent has only translated to the regular season.
Some say the Chargers window is closing but Haley isn't fazed by LaDainian Tomlinson's diminishing skills (at least by the numbers).
"I have seen none," Haley said when asked about a slippage in LT's play. "He’s a player that scares the heck out of me."
Tomlinson is on pace to finish with less than 1,000 yards, something he's never done in his career. He did not accumulate 100 yards rushing in either of the games against the Chiefs in 2008. However, he had rushed for at least 130 yards against the Chiefs in three games prior.
One weapon that is not on the decline is quarterback Philip Rivers. As much as it pains me to say this, he's one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
"The most obvious characteristic I see in him is he’s competitive," Haley said. "He’s into the game and fighting to win every snap and I like that quality in a quarterback. He’s big, got a quick release, got a bunch of weapons and he’s a dangerous player to face and he’s obviously shown that over the last handful of years."
In six career starts against the Chiefs, Rivers is completing 58% of his passes, averaging 232 yards passing and has a 7/9 touchdown to interception ratio. Basically, while he's playing well against the Chiefs overall, we've been capitalizing on his mistakes. However, he boasts a 4-2 record.
Compared to the rest of the division, the Chiefs are actually handling Rivers well. Against the Raiders and Broncos, he's completing a higher percentage of his passes, has a touchdown to interception ratio of 21/8 and a 12-2 record.
Haley recognized that the Chargers are a team full of talent and IF they put it all together, things could be rough.
"As we went through practice today you can see on tape they have a vast array of weapons that you have to defend or beat. They create a lot of problems in a lot of areas especially that little punt returner."
And, I did the check the Chargers roster, and Shawne Merriman is indeed still listed as a member of the team.