The crushing part about this defeat, was not just that it was their 2nd loss in a row dropping their record to 2-4, not that it was their 4th loss in a row to the Chiefs, not that they are now tied with the Denver Broncos at the bottom of the AFC West, but rather the way in which they lost, and that expected improvements are not happening.
This team really struggles with complementary football. It’s not an easy task, getting both sides of the ball to play in unison at an elite level, but the Chargers make it look damn near impossible.
In the first half, the defense was incompetent, allowing 333 yards and 24 points. The offense, on the other hand, played really well, scoring 17 points of their own on 200+ total yards. Then in the second half, it flipped. The defense stepped up, allowing a lone late touchdown in the 4th quarter. The offense, however, fell flat, getting shut out, gaining 115 total yards, with three 3-and-outs and two Justin Herbert interceptions.
Six games into the season, this is not a good football team. The defense can’t stop the pass, the offense is extremely inconsistent and hasn’t played a complete four quarters, the star players have lost their shine.
And Justin Herbert has regressed.
So what now? Is the season salvageable at 2-4 with a loaded AFC? Or is it time to look toward a full teardown? Is a rebuild possible with the NFL trade deadline rapidly approaching on October 31?
With the performance through six games, I would lean towards the latter.
When it comes to name recognition and salary, this team is loaded with star talent. That is precisely why a 2-4 start is so frustrating.
That being said, there are a few tradable assets that could make sense to explore.
Chargers NFL Trade Deadline Assets
At this point, I would blow it up and plan for a full rebuild around my young players. And I would not fire Brandon Staley…before the end of the season. I’ll explain why in a minute.
First, my building blocks would be:
The future of this team should be built around these four blocks, schematically, culturally, and any other adjective you want to toss in there.
Second, tradable assets:
Let me state this first. All of these players have pretty heavy backloaded contracts, and three of them have glaring injury histories, so these would be pretty difficult trades to pull off, but not impossible. It is pretty rare to see vet players with large contracts get moved at the deadline, but a needy team that is a playoff contender could absolutely make a phone call.
Now, let’s make sure to set the expectations. These would be essentially salary dumps that net some late-round picks, and free up playing time for the rest of this season for young players. And to be perfectly clear, Joey Bosa with his contract and his injury history is not netting a 1st, 2nd, or even a 3rd round pick.
Keenan Allen (who is having a career year), and Derwin James would net the Chargers the largest return, but again, because of their inflated contracts, that is going to knock the price tag down a bit. However, if the Chargers are willing to go full rebuild, then you make the call and stack those late-round picks. Also, moving Allen would force the Chargers to actually develop and utilize Quentin Johnston in the offense.
What To Do With Brandon Staley
Now, let’s address Brandon Staley. If you are going to go full-fire sale, it would make no sense to force an interim HC to do double the work with less talent and leadership. You let Staley finish the season and then react. As you go into the full rebuild, you can assess everything and start with a clean slate.