The Chargers have a lot going for them on both sides of the ball and before training camp starts, it’s worth noting some of the X Factors that are sure to put them over the edge this season
New Additions (Rookies and Veterans)
The Chargers have gone out of their way this offseason to plug many of the holes that contributed to their losses last season. They’ve added veterans and rookies, bringing more star power to the roster. Here are some players that may bring the X factor needed for their respective groups.
Zion Johnson is the wall needed for this offense. He’s going to allow Justin Herbert to either stay in the pocket and make those deep throws we all know and love, or provide the time and space needed for Herbert to get those handoffs to Austin Ekeler. I’m expecting a lot more air guitar solos in the end zone from Ekeler as long as Johnson is holding the line.
Everyone has been talking about the addition of Khalil Mack and rightfully so. Though his number of solo tackles declined over the years, he’s the necessary tool to create that pocket pressure. Mack has two modes: he’s either running through you or strip sacking your quarterback with lightning speed. Despite the injury, I think we’re going to see some interesting things out of Mack this season.
The Chargers news team and ESPN have already remarked on how valuable JC Jackson is and his value will only increase on a team that needs a little sprucing up in the cornerback position. His stats have gone up pretty much in all areas throughout the last 4 seasons so it’s exciting to see what he can add to this Chargers secondary.
To see another running back option like Isaiah Spiller makes me happy. His speed and toughness, both of which contributed to some long uninterrupted runs and many broken tackles at Texas A&M, are going to be valuable when he takes his place in the NFL this year.
Justin Herbert said during The Ringer NFL Show podcast on May 27th, “We don’t have to start from level zero anymore.” We’re no longer in the trial-by-fire era of the Chargers where we just have to put Herbert in and see what happens. We’re in the era of Staley and of consistency in players, coaching, and schemes. Herbert is no longer a rookie and as comfortable as he looked when he started playing, that confidence has only grown as the organization has solidified around him. And hopefully with this consistency will come growth.
During the combine, Staley stated that “On defense we really value versatility.” Both Derwin James and Joey Bosa have been complimented in the past for their ability to play multiple positions and though it’s something that Staley is focusing on for the defense, in particular, it really is something that the entire Chargers team excels in. Lest we forget that Herbert can make quite a block here and there. Though we probably won’t see Staley shifting offensive players out of their primary positions to let them try something new, none of the Chargers can really be put in a box, which will hopefully keep a lot of the ACF West teams on their toes this year.
Herbert broke quite a few records last year while Mike Williams had his best season. And though the Chargers didn’t excel in every area, they were so close to making it to the playoffs and put up great numbers in a handful of games. Based on that and the pieces that were added this offseason, the Chargers have a lot of positive momentum for 2022.
They’re definitely going to be at the forefront as teams prepare for the season. And though that means they’ll definitely be targets, here’s hoping that just the idea of playing them plants a tiny seed of intimidation that’ll bloom and lead to some early season victories.
The Chargers were so close last year. Way too close for it to have ended as it did. And that revenge is fueling them for their first games with the Chiefs and the Raiders and has been behind much of the additions they’ve made this offseason. This Chargers team is not going away quietly and will do whatever it takes to claw their way back to the playoffs and beyond.