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Now that the exhibition, excuse me, preseason games are mercifully over and the real stuff starts up next weekend, I have a few issues in my tiny brain regarding the Chargers that are begging to be addressed. Let us begin.

By far the most talked-about issue the team has faced this offseason has been the holdout of running back Melvin Gordon. The latest news on this is that GM Tom Telesco has basically tabled any further contract talks with Gordon’s agent until after this season. So basically what this means is that the Chargers’ RB has played his last game with the team. I think it’s safe to say Gordon will be traded in the not-too-distant future…

The loss of left tackle Russell Okung for at least the first six weeks of the regular season is not exactly heartwarming news for the team in general but particularly, of course, for QB Philip Rivers. Okung is being treated with blood thinners due to blood clots as a result of a pulmonary embolism he suffered in June. The team’s play will certainly suffer as a result of his absence, but football should be the last thing Okung is thinking about right now…

Speaking of injuries, I’m not convinced that Keenan Allen will be at full strength for a while, certainly not for the Bolts’ opener against the Colts. Ankle injuries are a pain (no pun intended) for any player, but for a wide receiver, it might just be the worst part of the body to have hurt…

I wrote about this before, but I think it bears repeating that the loss of safety Derwin James for at least the first half of the season might be the biggest loss any team in the league has suffered on the defensive side of the ball. The loss of James’s tight end coverage ability will be felt immediately, as Colts coach Frank Reich loves to use his tight ends in many different ways…

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Speaking of the Colts, the Chargers might just be the beneficiary of the Andrew Luck retirement. Sure, Indy QB Jacoby Brissett has taken virtually every snap with the first team for the Colts since training camp began, but he has yet to show much in live-fire situations…

Finally, and probably most importantly, coach Anthony Lynn will be facing his biggest challenge yet since taking the reins of the team. At basically full-strength last season, heading into the postseason Lynn had the Chargers playing as well as any team in the NFL, but all of the issues above will certainly test his mettle, not to mention his coaching ability.

The regular season begins this weekend. If this is a Super Bowl-or-bust season then the question needs to be asked – will these issues work themselves out, or will they break the team before the playoff push even begins?

Mike Clark

Author Mike Clark

Founder of the sports blog Redbloodedsports.com Member, Football Writers Association of America

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Sports Al Dente 2019

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