“Chargers Mid-Season Report Card”
On paper when the season was to start, the Chargers looked loaded.
Now on paper, they are a shell of the team that started the season, with alot of name players names on a different piece of paper, the injured reserve list
Yes they are (5-3), but that is a very unimpressive set of numbers. The Chargers played the easiest schedule in the first half of the NFL schedule. They are (5-3) against teams with a combined record (25-37-1).
The 5-wins Brandon Staley’s team has, came against teams that are a combined (13-26-1).
Beginning this weekend, as they move into the 2nd half of the schedule, look at who they play: the 49ers on the road..at Arizona, at Las Vegas, and home games with Kansas City and Miami. All that with a crippled roster, with virtually half their stars out.
Here’s a mid-season report card on each facet of Chargers football:
OWNERSHIP…Big debate if they are winning the Fight for LA. As the losing set in, more and more fans wearing the other team’s colors, started showing up at So Fi Stadium. They have been in the playoffs just once within recent memory, in the Anthony Lynn era The Martyball era sure seems like a long time ago. If they don’t win, they won’t draw. Team Spanos feels more like the Clippers weak comparison to the Lakers for all those years…., the Angels an afterthought to the Dodgers, the Ducks not equal to the Kings, or like UCLA thinking they are USC. Grade (C)
FRONT OFFICE…The scoreboard does not lie. The John Spanos-Tom Telesco football leadership has resulted in a combined (57-68) ledger. They have drafted well, but cannot keep their players on the field. Grade (C)
BRANDON STALEY…So much for the whiz kid of a year ago. The quick start has been replaced by alot of struggles, much of it injury related. An (8-5) start last year was replaced by a (1-3) finish. Add in this season, and Staley’s team is (6-6) since last December, and the teeth of the schedule is still to come. His 4th down daring decisions have been replaced by defensive schemes ready to stop him. His defense cannot stop the run, gives up chunk plays, and is now decimated. The offense would be pedestrian if anything ever happened to its leader, Justin Herbert. Just not the team we expected, and his leadership has led to questions, ‘if you were such a genius with the Rams on defense, how come your Chargers defense is so bad? So much so the national media says maybe Sean Payton would be a better fit for the Bolts. That sounds absurd. Grade (B)
QUARTERBACK…Justin Herbert is the West Coast version of Josh Allen, leading a building team. He has shown so much leadership, dynamic play making, played thru his rib injury, done so much. He is the last man standing on what could have been a really great offense. Grade (A)
WIDE RECEIVERS…Woe is Keenan Allen, who has not been able to get healthy, and Mike Williams, banged up when not making great plays. Josh Palmee is coming, but there have been so many injuries, that the Bolts have just one key receiver out of their top four lining up to play the Niners. Bad luck. Grade (C)
OFFENSIVE LINE…A fluke injury takes out LT-Rashawn Slater, a 100,000 mile series of knee ailments is hobbling its veteran center, the right tackle has sprained his knee twice in three weeks. They can’t run block, protection is shakey, and this weekend they face a violent 49ers pass rush with Jam Salyers and Forest Sarrell possibly starting at the tackle spots. Tough time. Grade (D)
TIGHT END…Oh for the days of Atnonio Gates or even last year with Jared Cook. Gerald Everett makes some plays but not enough. Grade (C)
RUNNING BACKS…It’s Austin Ekeler, catching, running, almost a one man gang. Josh Kelly learns how to play then gets hurt. Sony Michel is not what he was early in is Patriots’ career. The kids they drafted haven’t gotten on the field. Hope Ekeler survives the season. Grade (A)
DEFENSIVE LINE…You lose Joey Bosa you lose the explosiveness on that side of the ball. Khalil Mack makes plays but not enough of them. Sebastian Joseph-Day has been solid and tough but after that there is nothing. Team has given up 13-plays of plus 35-yards this first half of the season. Grade (C)
LINEBACKERS….Dru Tranquill has had a really good season, and at times Kenneth Murray has played well, but there has not been much from anyone else. I think they miss Uchenna Nwosu doing good things in Seattle. Very disappointing campaign as a group. Grade (C)
DEFENSIVE BACKS…Derwin James is everywhere. JC Jackson never showed up, never seemed to fit, and has now had a devastating injury. No doubt Asante Samuel can make plays, but they target him alot because he gets beat alot. Not sure that Michael Davis has found consistency. Don’t see much consistency from the likes of Gilman Adderly, even Callahan, and all these other young draftees. They do give up chunk plays. Alot of 3rd down conversions too.. I know it’s tied to lack of pass rush upfront. Seems like the injuries in the front seven have wrecked the back end. Grade (C)
SPECIAL TEAMS…Adequate returning punts and kicks is DeAndre Carter. Tremendous punting. Okay coverage. The rent a kicker field goal unit has been solid as well as hurt. Grade (B)
SUMMARY….Half a season to be played by a half a healthy roster against a really rugged schedule. To me last year’s (9-8) season was a disappointment. Fear this year will wind up the same too. More because of injuries than anything else. Think (9-8) is waiting them at the finish line. Hate to say ‘Wait till next year, but wait till next year’. What a shame. Team Grade (C)