The Chargers are 3-1, all alone in first place in the AFC West. Through those first four games, Philip Rivers has been arguably the best quarterback in football. So, all is well is Chargers Land, right?
Not exactly. Rivers has had to be as good as he's been because the Chargers running game is borderline non-existent.
"The big negative, obviously, is the running game," said Chargers head coach Mike McCoy on Monday, a day after his team beat Jacksonville 33-14 despite rushing for only 42 yards on 20 carries. "It's nowhere near where it needs to be."
The Bolts are the only team in football averaging less than three yards a carry (2.4 to be exact).
"We should run the football better," said McCoy. "I've seen it done with the guys we have."
However, they don't currently have some of the guys they have. Injuries to Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead are tough to overcome. Could it simply be the Chargers don't have enough talent right now to run the ball?
"No, we have plenty of talent here," said McCoy. "We have plenty of talent to run the ball. It's execution. We have to execute it better."
If it's not talent, then let's look at other factors. They have played some dominant defenses. The Bills, Cardinals and Seahawks are ranked 3rd, 4th and 5th, respectively, against the run. It's too early in the season to tell if the Chargers are not running well because the teams they've faced are really good, or if the teams they've faced are really good because they've played the Chargers. It's probably a bit of both.
"Yeah, there are some good defenses, but we've got a good offense," said McCoy. "I know we can run the football better. We will run the football better. We have to run the football better."
The Bolts may have a solution. Rookie Branden Oliver showed enough against the Jaguars (nine carries for 23 yards) to provide a glimmer of hope, especially if the guys up front get just a couple more blocks.
"He did a great job," said McCoy. "He's just going to get better with time. If we get him a few more creases, there are going to be some explosive plays."
The Chargers could use a few of those next Sunday against the Jets. New York comes to Qualcomm Stadium with the NFL's #1 run defense.