The Raiders’ talent matches up well with the Chargers. In fact, they own San Diego. The seven-point win does not give a clear indication of how the Chargers were really never in the game. The Raiders are more physical, stronger and controlled both lines of scrimmage. They really dominated even without their best player, Darren McFadden. With Carson Palmer showing renewed life in his game, and more importantly in his arm, the Raiders could do whatever they wanted to the Chargers, offensively and defensively.
Chargers GM A.J. Smith will watch the tape of the game realizing that the Raiders are a significantly better team and a bad matchup for how he has constructed the Chargers roster. San Diego allowed almost 200 yards rushing and almost 300 yards passing in one game, which should signal to Smith that he has a ton of work to do. Some will say quarterback Philip Rivers played poorly and was the reason the Chargers loss. In reality, the Raiders’ pass rush was causing Rivers to have trouble. He was under constant pressure all night, in part because of losing some of his best offensive linemen to injury and also because the Raiders were better up front.
There is not much Smith can do this season to close the gap on his team’s talent as it relates to the Raiders. And the myth that the Chargers are a really talented team has been destroyed. All of America saw the Chargers and knows they have big problems. The first order of business for Smith is to find more talent in his defensive front. He must take back the line of scrimmage, and the only way he can accomplish this will be to get bigger, faster and stronger in both lines.
Smith must plan his course of action now, realizing he cannot solve his problems but can get a head start on his plan. He must accept the fact that the Raiders are the better team and then do something about it with personnel moves in the offseason. Get more pass rush, get bigger in both lines and get someone in his front seven who can dominate the game. The items on Smith’s checklist are not easy to achieve, but he must start now, or else the Raiders will keep widening the gap and dominating the series.