As I've been chatting with San Diego Chargers fans and media this offseason, it struck me just how optimistic everyone has become, myself included. Most are assuming that the team will return to 8-8 at least, and possibly be even better than that.
As a fan of numbers and statistics, I've got to ask one question. Is there a reasonable expectation that this type of turnaround can happen in today's NFL. Has it happened recently? Join me as I take a trip down memory lane.
Let's nominate candidates...
Since we need to look at what each team did the following season, we're going to be dealing with teams that had poor records in the 2014 season.
Also, I think picking each team that went 4-12 or worse might be a little too focused. Let's open it up to teams that had 6 or less wins, but try to avoid teams that had 6 or less wins the previous season, and start building our list.
That's what's left. Those are the teams that 6 or less wins in 2014, and 7+ wins in 2013. Pretty much the exactly same situation the Chargers are in this offseason.
How did those teams do in 2015?
The 2015 Chicago Bears finished 6-10 after firing Marc Trestman and replacing him with John Fox. Maybe the Chargers were right to keep McCoy?
The 2015 St. Louis Rams finished 7-9 without a QB and in front of a hostile crowd. They will be a lot of people's sleeper pick to make the playoffs in 2016 as the Los Angeles Rams. Not exactly where the Chargers want to be this season, but it could be worse.
The 2015 New York Giants finished 6-10 and hired Ben McAdoo as their new head coach after Tom Coughlin was fired/resigned. Their future is murky at best.
The Tennessee Titans went 3-13 and fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt in the middle of the season. They're still a trainwreck.
The 2015 New York Jets bounced back with a new coach, Todd Bowles replaced Rex Ryan, and finished 10-6. Unfortunately, that still left them outside of the playoffs.
Can the Chargers turn it around in one year?
There's not a lot of "good" when picking through these potential futures for the 2016 Chargers, but there are a couple of blueprints for them to follow anyway.
The St. Louis Rams field a young team that plays its division rivals tough, and field one of the most terrifying defensive lines in football.
The Jets replaced a problem at QB, Geno Smith (who was only playing because of where he had been drafted), with the world's most average QB and nearly won the playoffs as a result.
Can the Chargers learn enough from the Rams and Jets to get back to 8-8 in 2016? Maybe. Will they have a shot at the playoffs? I doubt it.