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How the Bolts Can Win vs the Dolphins

As I explained in my Chargers Key Matchups article, Week 1 vs the Dolphins is an important game for the Bolts. After an unforgettable loss to the Jaguars in last year’s playoffs, the franchise is looking forward to a new season; one of optimism. In order for the Chargers to get off on the right foot, this matchup can’t be overlooked. Week 1 sets the tone for the rest of the season. If the Chargers come out swinging, other teams will take notice. If they don’t, teams will also take note. Week 1 sets the standard for how the other 16 games will go. Listed are some points of emphasis if the Bolts wish to come out victorious on Sunday.


Trench Warfare

I don’t know how many times I need to say it, but wars are won in the trenches. Both teams are equipped for an all out brawl on the line of scrimmage with the Dolphins offensive and defensive fronts featuring star-studded names. Thankfully for the Bolts, so are theirs. On Sunday, the Chargers might also benefit from All-Pro LT Terron Armstead’s absence as it’s still unsure as to whether he’ll play or not. 

On Sunday, the pressure will be on both of the Charger’s fronts as Christian Wilkins wreaks havoc up the middle and while Jalen Phillips and Bradley Chubb do the same on the edges. The Chargers have built up their offensive line the past few seasons, and it’ll surely be tested this week. Defensively, the Charger’s line will be the foundation for their defensive success. It’s no secret the Charger’s LB corp isn’t the strongest, but solid DL play could help balance things out. Bringing in Nick Williams and drafting Tuipulotu and Matlock should help, but it’ll be a tough challenge for these new recruits whom are expected to make an immediate impact. 


Spread the Love

Besides having a phenomenal defensive front, the Dolphins also have one of the best defensive backends in the NFL. Thankfully for Kellen Moore’s offense, All-Pro CB Jalen Ramsey will not be playing. Still Xavien Howard is a lockdown corner and Kader Kohou proved he shouldn’t be tested either. Roaming deep, the Dolphins have a very underrated safety corp. Jevon Holland has been versatile, has shown great instincts, and is a natural at playing football. Pair him with DeShon Elliot, this is one of the underrated safety duos in the league. 

With all this fighter-power, you have to spread the football. This isn’t exclusive to wideouts and TEs, but also to the RBs. On every play, you can expect either Mike Williams or Keenan Allen to be doubled. This will leave open TEs, other receivers such as Quentin Johnston, Joshua Palmer, and Derius Davis, and RBs. This week, it’s important that the Chargers have other RBs that can catch out of the backfield; not just Ekeler. It may not be their forte, but Kelley, Spiller, and Dotson are all capable of working from the backfield. 


Trust Your Players

Lastly, in order for the Chargers to win, the coaching staff will need to trust their entire 53-man roster. Don’t get me wrong, the stars will play in the crucial moments of the game. But besides this, the Bolts can’t be afraid to let their young guys get some reps. 

Offensively, Justin Herbert is going to have to trust that all his receivers can get open and catch the ball. Moreso, Kellen Moore is going to have to trust that all his RBs can get the job done. The season is long. Moore has to be willing to pace Ekeler given how many touches he accumulates each week.

Defensively, it’s the same strategy. Brandon Staley will have to trust that all of his rushers will be able to either get to the quarterback or defend the run. It’s going to be guys such as Matlock, Rumph, and Tuipulotu who are going to be the unsung heroes of this week. Possibly more important, it’ll be necessary for the CBs to be rotated. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are arguably the fastest WR-duo in the league and Cedrick Wilson isn’t to shabby either. It’s a fact that the CBs will be moving a lot on Sunday which will make them tired. Thankfully, the Bolts have a deep backfield that should make for a good rotation between Jackson, Samuel, Davis, and Taylor. 


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