The 2018 NFL season is quickly approaching, and it’s definitely shaping up to be an epic year for the Bolts. The Chargers schedule is looking quite favorable and they should be playoff contenders this year.
Before looking into the Chargers improved positions and least improved positions coming into this season, here’s a review of the 2017 campaign. The Chargers finished last year with a record of 9-7, going 5-3 at home and 4-4 on the road. They shook off a rough 0-4 start and finished the season on a roll winning six of the last seven games.
Despite the strong finish to the year, they ranked 31st in rushing yards allowed, 24th in rushing yards, and 25th in field goals. To improve on their 9-7 record from last year, they will need to remedy those low rankings.
2018 Chargers- Most/Least Improved Position Groups
Chargers Most Improved Position Post Draft – Linebacker
Transforming a defense that ranked 31st in rushing yards allowed was clearly on the Chargers agenda. With that focus in mind, their 2018 second round pick of outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu from USC was an exceptional choice. Pairing Nwosu with weakside linebacker Jatavis Brown in the Chargers base 4-3 defense will undeniably provide more quickness getting to the ball carrier.
Chargers Most Improved Position Free Agency – Offensive Line
The signing of left tackle Russell Okung prior to last year was superb. The addition of Mike Pouncey this offseason just made things a whole lot better on the offensive line. When healthy, Pouncey has proven to be one of the best centers in the NFL.
The Chargers finished last year ranked 24th in rushing even with star running back Melvin Gordon III gaining just over 1,000 yards. To maximize the talents of Gordon, improving their run blocking will be key.
Chargers Least Improved Position – Place Kicker
The 2017 season for the Chargers in regards to kicking field goals were not very good. They started the season with YoungHoe Koo but after he went just 3-of-6 on field goal conversions he was released and Nick Novak was brought in. Charger kickers also included Travis Coons and Nick Rose last year.
The most glaring stats were the 2-of-8 field goal conversions from 50+ yards, 37-of-42 extra point attempts, and 20-of-30 total field goals converted.
As a result, there were five games last season were decided by three points or less. That three-point swing when coming down to a field goal can turn a 9-7 team into a 12-4 team. Due to the highly competitive AFC West division no team can afford to lose costly games by missing field goals.
The Chargers have a lot of room for improvement leading up to this season. This includes a strong emphasis on personnel adjustments and effective game day execution. The drafting and immediate impact of a talented rookie linebacker like Nwosu will be paramount.
Adding a healthy Pouncey to the offensive line is exactly what the Bolts needed. Most of all, finding comfort in a reliable field goal kicker will undoubtedly make Los Angeles a formidable opponent.