We are at the halfway point of the season and the Chargers sit at 3-5. Some things have gone right in the first half, others we try to forget. Despite the record, and the injuries, there is still hope for the playoffs this season. Some young players have stepped up nicely and the future looks bright for this team especially on defense. But if the Chargers want to salvage this season they are going to have to finish games and limit the mistakes.
Here are the awards for the Chargers in the first half of this season, the good and the bad.
MVP: Philip Rivers
Can you image what this team would look like without 17?
Rivers continues to perform at an elite rate completing 62.3% of his passes 2,285 yards. Rivers has 15 touchdowns to 7 interceptions and has a passer rating of 93.8. He currently is ranked 5th on nfl.com’s QB index.
His stats rank him in the top 10 among QBs but he brings so much more to the table with the Chargers. His leadership and poise set the tone for this team and every player feeds off his energy. As long as 17 is under center the Chargers have a chance to win. His arm might be losing some strength but mentally there are not a lot of QBs better than Rivers.
Offensive Player of the Year: Melvin Gordon
I did not think I would be writing this at the beginning of the season. Melvin has done a very good job stepping up taking a bigger role on offense following injuries to key offensive players like Kennan Allen and Danny Woodhead.
He has rushed for 572 yards this season on 161 attempts for an average of 3.6 yards per carry. Those aren’t great numbers but Gordon has looked better this year running the ball. Gordon has been more decisive and has run with more power compared to last year. This past Sunday Gordon showed he’s poised for more, running for 111 yards against a stingy Bronco defense.
A major difference between this year and last is obviously touchdowns. He has 10 touchdowns this year 8 on the ground and 2 receiving. But where has improved the most is pass protecting. He is no longer a liability on third downs for the Chargers. It was also impressive is his durability. Gordon has the ball over 50% of the time when Chargers are on offense. That is high usage and he continues to play every week.
Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa
This one was actually closer than you think. Melvin Ingram has had a really nice season on pace for career highs in almost every category. However, no one has made more of an impact on this team than Joey Bosa. Through only four weeks Bosa has 4 sacks 16 pressures and 9 QB hits in only four games. Pro football focus has him graded as the number 4 pass rusher in the league. He also is an above average run defender proving to be dominant in all phases of the game.
Bosa just won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month and will only continue to improve. He is proving to be a dominating playmaker that the Bolts desperately needed on defense. The Chargers are 2-2 since Bosa took the field and their defense has improved drastically even despite the many injuries to the secondary.
Linemen of the Year: Matt Slauson
Matt Slauson has brought leadership and stability to a terrible offensive line. Currently, the Chargers Oline ranks 6th according to NFL.com. The Chargers Oline has only given up 21 total sacks on the year and has done a solid job opening up holes for Melvin Gordon. Slauson brings a toughness that was missing a year ago. He has earned Rivers’ trust and continues to play well.
Just hearing his attitude towards the game you know the Chargers got a good one. The most memorable moment of the season thus far from Slauson is when he jumped on a Saints defender for going after Rivers after the play and received a 15-yard penalty. The best part about it was the next day on 1090 AM radio in San Diego he said his only regret was he did not do more. That is what you want from your center. A tough player that truly protects his QB. He also is the general on that line making all the calls and telling other players their assignments. Slauson has been the difference this year on the line and continues to impress.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Hunter Henry
The future is already here and he looks great! Henry has 22 receptions for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has proven why he was the highest graded Tight End coming into the draft. Henry has sure hands is a great route runner. He also has proven to be a real threat in the red zone and has established Rivers trust.
Henry also is arguably the best blocker on the team. He is a true tight end that can do it all. Henry rarely misses his blocking assignments and can block straight up with bigger defensive linemen. I am already confident that he can be a great successor to Gates, but the future is now. Big things will come the second half of the year if Henry stays healthy.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jatavis Brown
Jatavis has stepped up way past expectations. He has proven to be a spark on defense and forms a very bright future at the middle linebacker position with Denzel Perryman. He leads all rookies with 54 combined tackles and also has 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He has already made more impact plays this season than Manti Te’o has had in three years. His coverage skills are excellent and has been surprisingly strong against the run. Jatavis was drafted in the 5th round and has exceeded his draft value already. The future is bright for the Chargers on defense and Jatavis is a big reason why.
Special teams Player of the Year: Josh Lambo
Let’s be honest, Special Teams has been atrocious this year. By default, the award goes to Josh Lambo who has had a pretty solid this season. He leads the league in touchbacks while also making 17 out of 19 attempts including a clutch OT game winner in Atlanta.
The rest of this unit has been a disaster and feels like it gets worse every week. Something needs to be changed if this team wants to reach the playoffs.
Least Valuable Player: Coach Mike McCoy:
The guy holding the Chargers back the most this season has been their Head Coach Mike McCoy. Questionable play calling, lack of confidence, and poor clock management have been killed this team. If the Chargers do not make the playoffs, McCoy will lose his job. He has to improve.