This hasn't been the most optimistic week for San Diego Chargers fans. So, when I was asked to select the best Chargers player so far this season, I stumbled a bit.
I need to pick which Chargers player has been the best Chargers player in 2013 and all I can think of is sadness and tears.— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) September 26, 2013
Luckily, my Twitter friends decided to help me out and make a few suggestions. Here's who they said, along with my response to each.
His completion percentage is high, he's been really great in spurts, and he's avoiding turnovers. Maybe it's because the Texans game (where he fell apart in the fourth quarter) is still in my head, or because the Titans game (where his coaches were very obviously didn't trust him to make a play without making a mistake) is still so fresh, but I would hope that there's someone on this roster that's been more consistent than El Capitan.
If he hadn't disappeared in the Titans game, this would be the obvious selection. He's still probably my choice, but it was disconcerting to see him so easily taken out of the game by Tennessee. I think what worries me most is picking Royal only to have him return to his 2012 form.
While Woodhead has been good, I feel this is too small of a sample size. 31 touches in three games doesn't result in a whole lot of impact for a running back. He also hasn't scored a touchdown yet.
He's a pretty awesome stat: Gates' 76.0 yards per game average this season is the highest of his career. His 15.2 yards per reception is spectacular as well. Outside of the fact that he's not scoring a ton of touchdowns (he has just 1), this has been one of the best three-game spans of Antonio's career. Maybe he's been the best Chargers player this year.
This one is difficult to quantify, but Dunlap has looked quite good at left tackle so far. Pro Football Focus has him as the 23rd best rated tackle through three games, and he was particularly outstanding against the Tennessee Titans before leaving the game with a concussion. I don't know that he's been the best, but you could make an argument that Dunlap has been the most important Chargers player this season.
Despite having 0.5 sacks through three games, Pro Football Focus ranks Freeney as the 9th best 3-4 pass-rusher this season. He has certainly passed the eyeball test, winning most of the one-on-one matchups he's seen and putting lots of pressure on opposing QBs. Now that the team has gotten past mobile QBs like Michael Vick and Jake Locker, those pressures should start turning into a higher number of sacks.