When I first looked at the Chargers outlook going into this season, after the draft and free agency, I personally believed they were in for an improved season. Anthony Lynn had another off-season to grow as a coach, they drafted Justin Herbert and bolstered the offensive line.
It’s no surprise to anyone at this point in the season that the Chargers have not had a good season. They have been eliminated from the playoffs and failed to live up to even the most modest of upwards expectations. What has to be more frustrating though is that they are actually well above average offensively, and are only giving up around 340 yards total on defense, good for 12th best in the league.
Since this season kicked off, they have squandered big leads and made a lot of discipline mistakes, which points to coaching. At the end of the day, they clearly have a talented roster that is capable of playing well, despite proper coaching support. With that said, let’s look at what positives the Chargers have to look forward to for the rest of the season and going into the off-season.
Without a shadow of a doubt the best series of events that unfolded this season has been the development of quarterback Justin Herbert. I liked him for the Chargers before the draft, and through a freak accident to starter Tyrod Taylor, Herbert established himself as the sure-fire week-to-week starter. Not just by the standards as a rookie, but he is just one of the better quarterbacks in the league itself, blowing away any draft day concerns anyone may have had. I can’t imagine what the Chargers did to get as lucky as they did, but if there is one real take away from this season: Justin Herbert is a star in the making.
Anthony Lynn Getting Fired
I know it’s the holiday season and 2020 has been rough for everyone, so it’s definitely morbid to suggest one of the best things to look forward to for the Chargers is them firing their head coach, but, it is what it is at this point in time. Lynn has had three full seasons to prove himself as the man for the job in LA, but for me, this is long overdue.
From his first season, it was clear that he was making a lot of mistakes managing the clock, had a lot of questionable play calls, and we generally saw a real lack of discipline from his special teams and defense. In addition, there have always been costly penalties at the most heartbreaking times or letting other teams back into games through the kicking game.
I originally wrote this article before the Patriots game, which we now know has been the most embarrassing loss of the year, with the exact same mistakes discussed.
Three seasons later, everyone sees what was there the whole time. Lynn doesn’t inspire confidence in his guys as a leader and is coaching not to lose. He also just doesn’t know how to do his job all that well, really failing to galvanize his coaching staff.
Difficult, yes, but getting rid of Anthony Lynn gives the Chargers a real shot at maximizing their rosters’ full potential.
Offensive Weapons Are Solid
What inspired me to write this section was that at the beginning of the year, I wanted to see a bounce-back season for Hunter Henry. While he’s not going to the Pro Bowl, he’s been healthy all year and has a nice 500-5 line through 12 weeks.
While I was thinking about him though, I realized that the entire Chargers skill positions had come up big all year. Keenan Allen has clearly reenergized the idea that he is one of the best receivers in the AFC and probably the best route runner in the NFL. Mike Williams, when healthy, has shown us more of that game-breaking ability for big plays that we all love, going for 109-2 against the Saints. While Melvin Gordon demonstrated that he was a big part of their success running the ball last season, when healthy, the trio of Ekeler, Jackson, and Kelley proved they were able to move the ball on the ground. When healthy. This team is going to have one of the better offenses over the next couple of years, and that should at least be fun to watch.
5th Overall Pick
It’s the mark of a bad season, but hey, it’s also the mark of new beginnings. Top tier, cheap talent is always a welcome addition to any team.
The Chargers haven’t had the season they hoped for, or that anyone predicted they would have. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. This roster is stacked from top to bottom on both sides of the ball. They have hit a grand slam with Justin Herbert, and their offense is fully loaded.
Anthony Lynn proved once and for all this season that he can’t handle an NFL locker room. With some health, and a good draft the Chargers could be a really good team in the next couple of years. Here’s to hoping.
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