“Chargers-What is LA Getting?”
They don’t belong to us anymore, and that angers everyone.
They are now Los Angeles’ team, or so they say, so they hope.
But what is LA getting as the Chargers players check into camp and begin workouts on Sunday in their new home, Costa Mesa?
So we grade them going into camp.
They get a good coaching staff. Do not judge Anthony Lynn as a head coach till we get to the end of December. He inherits a great quarterback, as did Mike McCoy 5-years ago. But we know how things wound up with McCoy.
Of course there are tin cans tied to the Chargers tail, when it comes to hiring head coaches. That last group of offensive coordinators, hired to be the Bolts head coach, never panned out.
McCoy…Mike Riley….June Jones…Kevin Gilbride…Dan Henning…Al Saunders…all found wanting, then found themselves fired.
But Lynn will have proven coordinators as his wing men…Ken Whisenhunt and ex Seahawks bright light Gus Bradley.
Hall of Fame candidate Philip Rivers has never missed a game in his career with injuries, despite lots of hits, sacks and turnovers. Who knows if Cardale Jones could be the QB of the future..or if Kellen Clemens could win a bunch of games if he had to play?
Running Back (A)
Melvin Gordon took a massive jump in year two, running, catching, blocking. They will miss Danny Woodhead. Not sure Brandon Oliver is a true replacement, but he is productive. Gordon has to be on the field.
Wide Receivers (B)
Keenan Allen comes back, but can he pick up the enormous productivity he showed before his devastating injury of a year ago. If Mike Williams puts this back issue in his rear-view mirror, then that is a tandem to reckon with. Others have produced, but nagging injuries and dropped passes have plagued Donnie Inman and Tyrell Williams. Get them on the field, and they all could be good, thanks to Rivers. Lose any, and it’s not the same group.
Offensive Line (C)
3-starters are gone. A stunning waste of money for King Dunlap and Orlando Franklin, and a disappointment DJ Fluker reached a plateau and never got off it, and now they’ve gotten rid of him. They gave alot of money to Russell Okung, dumped by Seattle and Denver, who seems to have nagging injury issues too. Most everyone believes in rookies Forrest Lamp, Dan Feeney and new center Spencer Pulley, but until you do it game by game, no one knows.
Tight Ends (A)
It might be the final go round for Hall of Famer Antonio Gates and it should be a breakout year for Hunter Henry. Exceptional.
Defensive Line (B)
Yes there is Joey Bosa, and a new position for Melvin Ingram, and there is massive-thick NT-Brandon Mebane. But they are thin behind them, and the top 3-backups are nothing special in terms of playmaking, and each has had a major injury. And they are going to a 4-man front, so lots of roles change.
Yes they are fast, Jatavis Brown and Donzelle Perryman, and yes they hit. But they didn’t stop the run, and are really poor in pass coverage. They let some depth go too, whether or not you like Mantei Te’o, and whether you regard Jerry Attaochcu-Kyle Emanuel and Korey Toomer as just guys. There’s no Ray Lewis-Khalil Mack-Von Miller anywhere in this group.
Casey Hayward comes off a great season, and hard to believe Green Bay did not keep him. Jason Verrett is a star in the making if he can stay free of injuries. Dwight Lowery is an old war horse, and makes some plays. Jahleel Addae is the warrior, but the heavyhitter gets hurt. Young backups Craig Mager and Adrian Phillips made plays last year in sub packages and figure to play even more. Collectively might be the best group in all.
Josh Lambo is back despite a poor finish last year. Drew Kaser needs a strong year punting, or might lose his job. Still they’ve had more good games than bad ones.
Kick Returns (D)
Until somebody proves to me they can do it regularly, it’s a pitiful position. Kenjon Barner may take the job away from Travis Benjamin, but then again Barner has been dumped by a couple of teams already, so how good is he? Isiah Burse doesn’t scare anyone.
We’ll see how quickly Anthony Lynn can put his tough guy personality into this team. See how well and how long they go with Gus Bradley’s new ‘4-3’ defense. See how quickly this new look offensive line comes together. And see if it becomes ‘Ground and Pound’ then throw the ball, because that is what Lynn has used before. The Chargers have won just 1-playoff game in the last 8-years despite the greatness of Rivers. They have lost 25-of-35 games for lots of reasons. They look good on paper, but they always have recently, and still have not won.
Team Grade…(2.7)…..a strong (B-Minus)
Bring on the pre-season.