The Chargers Season in Review
The season is finally over for the Los Angeles Chargers and it sure was a phenomenal success. Sure, getting knocked out of the playoffs by the New England Patriots sucked. It definitely wasn’t the storybook ending the Chargers organization envisioned. Overall, the Chargers brought a lot of excitement to the AFC conference. The Chargers, along with the Kansas City Chiefs, made the AFC West Division extremely competitive. By finishing with a record of 12-4 the Bolts proved they have the roster to compete. Now, it’s time for them to make the right moves to contend for a title next year.
Watching From Home
The Chargers early exit from the playoffs may help provide a bit of introspection. After such a long season, the Chargers can start to piece together what went wrong with their season. By watching the AFC Championship Game, they can dissect how and why those AFC teams made it. That dissection should lead to a quest to duplicate either teams success. In other words, build and retool to challenge the elite teams in your conference. At this point, it’s not about reinventing the wheel. It’s more about mirroring a teams success in order to leapfrog them.
For example, the common denominator in the Chiefs and New England Patriots success is respectable tight end production. Travis Kelce of the Chiefs and Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots have both provided their teams with elite talent. So, with that observation, the Chargers will be witnessing a tight end from the AFC have a huge impact in the playoffs. By watching this AFC title battle from home, the Chargers can not only contemplate their tight end position but their defensive line situation.
Positions of Intrigue
The tight end position for the Chargers is a bit of a concern. Antonio Gates, has been an amazing player for the Chargers franchise, but his time is slowly coming to an end. By Gates coming back for one more year and aspiring for another year is not exactly the sustainable future the Bolts need. Plus, since Gates at 38 years of age, is an unrestricted free agent, his price tag of 2.5 million may be too much. On the other hand, the Chargers have Hunter Henry who can potentially be that impactful tight end this team desperately needs. Unfortunately, he recently came back from a torn right ACL that will most likely need more time to heal. To excel in the AFC conference, the Chargers will need to have a dominant tight end on their roster who can strike fear in opponents.
Addressing the defensive line, more importantly, the defensive tackle position is urgent. The loss of Corey Liugent during the regular season was a severe blow to the Chargers defensive line. His ability to disrupt the interior line of opposing teams was a frequent sight. But, at 28 years old and coming off a significant injury, Liugent recovery will be in question. Defensive Tackle Brandon Mebane is 34 years old and an unrestricted free agent with a price tag of 4.5 million. Damion Square is 30 years old and also an unrestricted free agent with a price tag of 2 million. So, it’s possible Mebane and Square won’t be with the Chargers next year based on age and salary cap space. After the Patriots show of running force in their recent playoff loss. The Chargers must reboot their defensive tackle position to stop the run.
The Chargers that are no longer in flux. Fans have waited for their return to the AFC elite table and it has finally arrived. Deservingly so, the Chargers coaching staff is headed to coach the AFC in the ProBowl, which laments a successful season on their behalf. Not to mention, with Michael Badgley, field goal kicking is no longer an absolute concern. The Chargers will also need to contemplate the return of key players such as wide receiver Tyrell Williams, cornerback Jason Verrett, and inside linebacker Denzel Perryman. In the 2019 NFL draft, the Bolts will have the 28th pick in the 1st round. This pick will need to be a pick that can support in stopping elite teams in the AFC.