5 Los Angeles Chargers That Failed To Meet Expectations In 2023

Which Los Angeles Chargers players just didn't have "it" in 2023?

I recently took a hard and honest look at the 2023 Los Angeles Chargers team assessing who fell below expectations.

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Los Angeles Chargers That Failed In 2023

1. Running Back: Austin Ekeler

I’ve talked about Austin Ekeler A LOT during this season so there’s not much more that needs to be said. This was the year where he needed to prove himself more than ever, after asking for a trade during the offseason and being given extra contract incentives to produce. Between an injury and being out multiple games, he hasn’t been the player of years past. Perhaps it’s his age or just general wear and tear, leading to his lack of production.

Though also suffering from injuries, Christian McCaffrey has gotten better ever since going to San Francisco and is only a year younger than Ekeler. So perhaps there is hope for Ekeler to rebound. Regardless, it’s unclear whether he’ll be wearing Los Angeles Chargers powder in 2024. Chances are the Chargers won’t have a lot of room to pay him. So it’s sure going to be an interesting offseason seeing where he ends up.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

2. Edge Rusher: Joey Bosa

Oh man, this one hurt. You can’t blame people for injuries but he’s been injured quite a bit in the last few years. Joey Bosa was feeling so healthy this offseason but then he hurt his toe and then his foot, and the season slipped out of his reach.

According to Over the Cap, he comes with a larger cap number in 2024 ( $36,611,666) than in 2025, but there are slightly more cap savings if he gets cut post-June 1 in 2025 ($25,360,000) as opposed to 2024 ($22 million). It may be worth holding onto him to see how he does this coming season. Because if something happens to Mack, he’s going to be needed to hold down the fort. Maybe the Bosa of years past will pop in and stay a while this coming season.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

3. Running Back: Isaiah Spiller

Isaiah Spiller didn’t progress as he should have this year. He wasn’t utilized much as a third back and when he did play, most of my notes on him consisted of the words “slight,” “short,” or “small” when it came to his yardage production. He was out so much last year with injuries that this was supposed to be the season when he made his mark. Instead, there are still so many unanswered questions concerning his play. Given the lack of progress, it remains to be seen what role, if any, he’ll have in this offense under new coaching.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots
Los Angeles Chargers: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

4. Defensive Lineman: Morgan Fox

Morgan Fox didn’t have “it” this year. Despite having five sacks, his numbers overall were down in a handful of areas (quarterback hurries, pressures, STOPs, most Pro Football Focus grades). He played 178 fewer snaps in 2023 than in 2022 but only missed one game overall. This time last year I was saying he should get a contract extension and now I’m not on board. The Chargers would have a small amount of dead money owed ($1,250,000) but would save more ($3.5 million) if they got rid of him. In 2024 I’m leaning more toward cutting than keeping.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Green Bay Packers
Los Angeles Chargers: Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

5. Wide Receiver: Quentin Johnston

Quentin Johnston has been one of the biggest disappointments this season. He’s the one that each time I saw him drop a pass or not quite connect with a catchable ball, I thought, “Why didn’t they pick Zay Flowers?,” Flowers went 22nd while Johnston went 21st in the first round.

Johnston has the speed, but his ball security was always a concern. His most notable drop was when he bobbled the pass at the 35-yard line during Week 11 against the Packers, icing the Chargers chances to tie the game. After Mike Williams went down for the season, everyone was looking at Johnston because of his physicality and athleticism, but he’s too raw. Maybe he’ll turn it around, but he didn’t produce like a first-rounder.