We’re really motoring through our ‘State of the Franchise’ series and this is the 10th edition to bring us closer to the start of the new NFL season. This time around we’re focusing on the Los Angeles Chargers and we’ve drafted in some help from Jac Trenchard (@Trench99)to share his thoughts on his team.
So, let’s take a look at one of the newest franchises (by name) in the NFL …
Last Season’s Reflections
The Los Angeles Chargers entered the off-season in good shape after winning six out of seven games to end the season, narrowly missing out on the playoffs to the Buffalo Bills on a tie break.
Having started 0-4 (Thanks Younghoe Koo!!) it seemed the franchise was floundering under the cloud of a relocation but fortunes were to change as Antony Lynn decided to move away from his stubborn run game and let Phillip Rivers sling the rock about.
This change in policy saw the Chargers go from 0-4 to 9-7 which has branded many pundits to state Chargers are favourites for the AFC West, however I must disagree. When did the Chargers last beat the Chiefs?….. 2013 to be precise thanks to an illegal field goal line up that went unnoticed.
Changes During The Off-Season
This leads me to the off-season where I believe the Chargers are building to be able to beat the Chiefs by drafting Derwin James with the 17th pick in the draft – for me the best value pick in the first round. Uchenna Nwosu in the 2nd to bring some much needed speed to a bang average linebacker group, minus Denzel Perryman. Justin Jones from North Carolina was brought in the third to beef up a run defense that has leaked yards, although I do question if he can handle a high number of reps per game. Justin Jackson in the 7th round has a great chance at making the roster behind Melvin Gordon & Austin Ekeler and I can see him turning a few heads in camp.
Tom Telseco is known for being quiet in free agency and will always look for value for money. He filled two big holes with the addition of Caleb Sturgis from the Eagles to end the kicking game woes and he also pounced for Mike Pouncey after his release from Miami who will finally give the Chargers a capable Center since the great Nick Hardwick retired.
The Saga At Tight End …
Virgil Green was brought in at TE for his blocking skills. This saw the Chargers moves on from Hall of Famer Antonio Gates in favour of a younger and highly underrated TE Hunter Henry.
However, as a Chargers fan of well over a decade, the injury bug always seems to hit early and seeing the news Hunter Henry has torn an ACL in an unopposed route in OTA’s is gut wrenching. Will they return to Gates with their tail between their legs or do they believe they can find the answer from an unsigned Julius Thomas, one scenario to keep track of.
Predictions For The New Season
For this season I am optimistic, however, the run game needs to improve as only twice last year did a back run for more then a 100 yards (One of those was thanks to a Melvin Gordon 87 yard TD run against New England). Run defense has been the weak link as the Chargers ranked 31st and allowed 4.9 yards an attempt. They have Two Pro Bowl Caliber edge rushers in Bosa & Ingram joined by a deep defensive back unit spearheaded by Casey Hayward so I hope they force teams to throw the ball!!
As a Chargers fan, I have learnt the hard way from believeing the hype. Certainly after being beaten at home in the playoffs by the Jets and Mark Sanchez (Yes the same guy who is best known for a Butt Fumble!) after winning 11 straight. I predict they make the playoffs with an 11-5 record but will they beat the Chiefs and take the AFC West?…I hope so… Roll On September!!
Editor Notes: Chargers fans, let us know your thoughts and tell us whether you agree with James’ reflections and predictions. Leave a comment or contact us via social media below: