Lackluster. Almost a perfect word to describe the Chargers 2019 season. Last year the Chargers finished at 5-11, last in the AFC West. A huge disappointment after going 12-4 the previous year. They couldn’t finish close games, had difficulty staying healthy, and couldn’t seem to figure out their identity which is a huge part in being a winning NFL team. This Chargers team is going to be a different team than you are used to seeing. Over the last three years, the chargers have ranked last in rushing attempts and rushing yards per game. They averaged 20 carries per game, with only 63 yards per game. I think it is fair to say they aren’t a very run heavy team. Going into this season, there is no more Phillip Rivers, a much improved offensive line, and several quality defensive acquisitions. Although they no longer have Melvin Gordon, I would bet they are going to be a more run heavy and defensive oriented team.
Offseason Wins and Losses
Lets start with the wins. Although it is sad to say, I see losing Phillip Rivers as a win. Not because I think Tyrod Taylor is a better quarterback than Rivers, but I think we can all agree it was time for some change. Drafting Justin Herbert was also a good move. He is a strong arm guy, who has the potential to be a serviceable starting quarterback in the NFL. With the additions of Trai Turner (a 27 year old five time pro-bowl guard, whom the Chargers acquired without giving up any picks) and Bryan Bulaga (a great pass blocking tackle who protected Aaron Rodgers for a long time), the right side of that line is sure to be elite. On the other side of the ball, the Chargers added Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, cornerback Chris Harris Jr, and defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Adding some big names, to a defense that is already plagued with studs such as Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, and Desmond King.
Now onto losses. Recently Derwin James unfortunately suffered a meniscus injury and has to have surgery on his knee. He is expected to miss the season. Terrible news for the insanely talented safety, who just can’t seem to catch a break. The only other significant loss was Melvin Gordon, who although is a very talented player, isn’t a horrible loss considering the fact that they still have Austin Ekeler. Let me remind you, Ekeler totaled 1,500 all purpose yards and 11 touchdowns while splitting touches with Gordon. Which bring us to my next section.
Given the ratio of off-season wins to losses, I believe the Chargers will be much improved in 2020. I have them finishing the season at 10-6, 2nd in the AFC West behind the defending champs. I can see them in a Wild card spot, but ultimately cannot see them making a playoff run due to the absolute juggernauts in their way. Those being the Ravens and the Chiefs, of course. I believe that Tyrod Taylor will remain the starter the whole season, and that Austin Ekeler is going to solidify himself as a three down back. I also feel as if the Chargers will be a top 8 defense in the league, and be top 5 in sacks per game. To finish things off with a cherry on top, here are my season stat leader predictions.
Touchdowns- Tyrod Taylor
Rushing Yards- Austin Ekeler
Receiving yards- Keenan Allen
Receiving Touchdowns- Mike Williams
Receptions- Keenan Allen
Sacks- Joey Bosa
Tackles- Kenneth Murray
Interceptions- Desmond King
Forced Fumbles- Joey Bosa