As we cross the halfway mark of the offseason, the ambition of a new season starts to arise. For the new Los Angeles Chargers, it brings a new team, new head coach, & a new city.
Last season was plagued with injuries, those affecting the stars & depth – Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, Jerry Attaochu, Jason Verrett, Brandon Oliver – across both offense & defense. Despite the absurd weekly season-ending injuries, the Chargers brought many a games down to the final minutes.
While injuries are never welcome (knock on wood no repeats), it was an encouraging spectacle for Chargers fans who continued to watch their team fight and step up. Each new player quickly assumed their role, and played diligently. The end result was meek, an underwhelming 5-11, but its all more important to recall that projected starters were signings who played on a different team the week before. This at the very least showed the “next man up” mentality you hear across the NFL, and the grit and culture inhabited within the Chargers.
Now, while that seems like a moral victory (which it is), the NFL is based on wins-losses. Exit Mike McCoy. Enter Anthony Lynn. With Lynn the Los Angeles Chargers have a well-respected, tough and gritty coach that expects the most and settles for nothing less. While his leadership skills are tops, he brings a staff of incredible resume: Gus Bradley as DC & Ken Wisenhunt as OC.
These changes were a must for a team right on the cuff, but it means nothing if a lingering problem the last few seasons persists, health.
So far so good through the offseason, as there are no serious injuries to report & many of those on IR seem to have recovered favourably. Keenan & Branden Oliver are moving quick and swift, garnering tremendous attention from both staff & media. The constantly injured O-Line has been revamped. Out with the clunky King Dunlap, concussed Orlando Franklin, & DJ Fluker. In with 2nd & 3rd round picks, Forrest Lamp & Dan Feeney. Maybe a bold prediction, but to me Forrest Lamp will be regarded as a top 5 guard within 3 years time. Dan Feeney is no slouch either, having a solid resume at the University of Indiana & was presumed to be a top draft candidate for the New England Patriots. If Bill Belichick was willing to draft a rookie O-Lineman to protect the elderly G.O.A.T, sign me up.
The receiving groups is tops in the NFL. Melvin and Branden are one of the top duos in the league, I would be hard pressed to find a better combo. Antonio Gates will assuredly contribute as always, especially as Hunter Henry starts to shine. The O-Line has to be better than last year, I have no doubt in my mind.
The Defense will be fast, physical, and respected. Even with all the injuries, stars like Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Casey Heyward could not be denied. Add in Jason Verrett, Jahleel Addae, and some solid secondary draft picks – a physical Jenkins and my favourite underdog Desmond King – to shutdown the opposition.
So far so good, the 2017 Los Angeles Chargers look great on paper, they just need to stay on the field.
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