Alright, guys and gals. The San Diego Chargers are currently sitting at 5-8 and are literally the last place team in the AFC that has yet to be eliminated from playoff contention. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Chargers currently have less than 1% chance of making the playoffs.
Go ahead... play with the link. See how unlikely it is that our favorite team will make the playoffs. To be specific in the AFC West, the Chargers need to win out (duh), Denver can’t win another game, Oakland can only beat only Denver, and Kansas City would need to win every game except for against Denver. On top of that, there are a plethora of other things that need to happen. I love the Chargers as much as the next guy (even enough to write articles in my free time), but it is not going to happen.
Alright, let’s get to the positive stuff. If you read my part 1 and part 2, (and weren’t one of the ones who barely read the article and just complained about me looking forward to next season), you’d know that I the Chargers have few holes for next season and a potentially very scary team. Based on the (albeit small) amount of money the Chargers will have in free agency, and my projected Depth Chart for them next year, they will be able to compete with the best of them, and at the very least, should be a legitimate contender to win the division.
Let’s take a look at the deficiencies the Chargers currently have.
I do seriously believe that Philip Rivers is currently hurting the team. If you want to know why (in more depth), check out my last article on why I’m fed up with the Chargers. He’s trying to do too much due to his inexperienced receivers around him, and the lack of help for Melvin Gordon. He’s on pace to throw 571 times this season, which would be the 3rd most for a season in his career, and if you look at the stats, it can be argued that Rivers is better when he doesn’t have to try to carry the team. With Keenan Allen back, an improved O-Line, and another capable HB in the backfield, Rivers will have more help than in recent memory.
Is this really a problem? The Chargers have led so much of their games (and blown it late), that their opponents have had to throw a ton. The Chargers currently have one of the best free agent pickups in the league (no matter what Chris Wesseling says) in Casey Hayward, and he currently leads the league in picks. The emergence of Trevor Williams (who has legitimately done a solid job), with Jason Verrett back, and hopefully with a shiny new safety, the Chargers will have a very underrated, but very good secondary. By the way, the Chargers are top 7 in run defense in the NFL (ahem, Joey Bosa is a beast).
My theory is that the defensive line and the secondary help each other have better stats. With the Chargers no doubt improved secondary next season, it will give Ingram and Bosa more time to get to the other teams’ quarterback. Add in Jerry Attaochu and Kyle Emanuel, and the Chargers look to have a pretty lethal defense. Fantasy owners, they’d be worth a look way late in the draft if they’re still available.
Once again, not exactly a problem when you consider that the Chargers should have someone who can actually take more carries in a game (instead of running MGIII into the ground), and who can take pressure off of Philip Rivers. I’m hoping for Danny Woodhead back, as he’s not only good in the passing game, he’s deceptively strong in the run game, and surprisingly good in pass protection.
I can’t think of any more deficiencies for the Chargers currently (minus their ability to blow games late constantly), so on paper, the Chargers look like a scary team. If the Chargers happen to fire Mike McCoy this offseason, I am under the impression that they can hire someone who knows how to manage a game like a real coach, and not make the same mistakes late in games. If they don’t fire him, the Chargers will probably still find a way to overcome his many, many deficiencies as a coach, and could make the playoffs. I would say I would want the Chargers to fire him (due to his impending, unavoidable playoff failures) just like they fired Marty, but I think that it would be too late for Rivers at that point. All we can hope for is that either Mike McCoy trains his butt off this offseason to become a capable coach, or the Chargers hire someone who can actually get the job done. If not, we, as fans, are screwed, and so are the Chargers and Philip Rivers’ Super Bowl (and ultimate HoF) hopes.