Coming out of the bye week, the San Diego Chargers sit at 4-6 with a slim to none chance of making the playoffs. While they’re still mathematically in the hunt, the Chargers will need to be the luckiest team in the history of sports down the stretch to sneak into the post-season. Based off of how this season has gone, the playoffs are more of a dream rather than a possibility at this point.
The Chargers have been in last place of the AFC West since October 25th, 2015. Common sense would tell you that something is wrong here. With the talent that’s on this roster, there’s no way this team should be in last place for OVER A YEAR. This team is missing something, but what is it?
New ownership? Probably. A new GM? Maybe so. A new coach? Definitely.
For those who are saying "Yes" to all of the above, I’m with you. This team most definitely needs all three. However, those guys don’t suit up and play on Sunday’s. This Chargers team still has a lot of questions to answer in regards to the roster, but what is their biggest need?
The Chargers are in desperate need of a play-making safety. Dwight Lowery is simply just not the answer. There’s no question that Jaheel Addae is one of the hardest-hitters on this team, but his coverage skills are mediocre at best. Adrian Phillips is one of the worst safeties in football, and Dexter McCoil isn't too far behind. Keep in mind, all of this is going on while Eric Weddle is now in Baltimore playing some of the best football of his life, all while making the Chargers look stupid once again for not paying him.
Jason Verrett is definitely one of the best corners in the league when he’s healthy. There is absolutely no question about it. But, to this point, can you really bank on him to stay healthy? Brandon Flowers has played really well this year after an underwhelming-performance last season, but he’s battled concussion issues pretty much all season long. While his injuries this season have been unavoidable, his health is a question as well. Also, he’s 30 years old. Most corners start to hit a little bit of a decline when they get to that age. Casey Hayward has been the best cornerback on this roster this season with his excellent play and of course the fact that he's played in every game this year. In today's pass-happy league, cornerbacks are essential to a defense, and it's probably the most important defensive position on the field other than defensive line.
Keenan Allen and Jason Verrett are pretty much the same guy, they just play different positions. Like Verrett, Allen has shown to be one of the best at his position in the NFL. The ability to stay healthy is the only question with those two. Allen has definitely been the biggest loss to this Chargers team this season. While Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin have each had their moments this year, neither one of them have shown that they can be a true number one receiver. Williams just isn't aggressive enough on 50/50 balls, while Benjamin is mostly used for screen-passes, crossing routes or fly routes. By no means am I saying that Keenan Allen needs to go, I just think the Chargers need another potential go-to guy just in case Allen can't play.
The offensive line has been a problem for this team for YEARS. The unit hasn’t quite been the same since the Hardwick, Dielman and McNeill days. This year's team, as well as teams of recent years have been unable to develop any kind of consistent running game largely due to lackluster-play from the guys up front. Pass protection this year has been better at times, but Philip Rivers is still taking more hits than he should be. Matt Slauson, and as crazy as it sounds, King Dunlap (Yes you read that right) have been by far the best offensive linemen on the roster. DJ Fluker just hasn't been what the team thought he would be, and seeing as how he's in a contract year, he hasn't really done anything to show why he should be brought back. Orlando Franklin and Joe Barksdale have been nothing short of horrendous this year as well. Barksdale played pretty well last year, but he's been getting beat ENTIRELY too much this season. Orlando Franklin just really hasn't been good since he got here from Denver.
Melvin Ingram is the Chargers best outside linebacker. I'm not saying that's a good thing, I'm not saying it's bad either. Ingram has played well so far this year, but he has a tendency to go missing from games. Also, when you factor in that he has no one opposite him that's worth mentioning, you can see why that happens. Kyle Emanuel has been the starter along side of Ingram this year, but has no sacks through 10 games. The former second-round draft pick, Jerry Attaochu, has battled an ankle injury in recent weeks but still hasn't played much when he's available. Tourek Williams has been a non-factor as well. He's had one sack this year, bringing his grand total to two sacks in his three year career. Chargers are in dire need of another disruptive outside linebacker to help ease the load on Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa and the rest of the front seven.
Philip Rivers is a GREAT quarterback and everyone knows it, but the Chargers have to find a quarterback of the future. Given this team’s horrible injury luck, anybody on this roster can go down at any given moment. God forbid this happens, but if Rivers goes down, what do the Chargers do? Rely on Kellen Clemens? Yeah, right. Philip Rivers undoubtedly has a few more years of great football left, but he’s 34 and not getting any younger. The Chargers have to stop delaying this and find his successor sooner than later.
Personally, I’ve raved for the Chargers to take LSU safety Jamal Adams in the first round if he’s on the board when they pick. He’s the kind of safety that the Chargers need but haven’t had
since Eric Weddle in a while. Adams is very good against the pass, also he’s shown the ability to come down in the box and excel against the run. However, the Chargers have disappointed me in the draft countless times, so I refuse to get my hopes up too high on that one.
What do you think is the Chargers biggest need? Feel free to leave your input below.