The beginning of the 2016 NFL season is right around the corner and to kick things off, The Ringer's Robert Mays has released his take on the upcoming NFL season. Despite a few offseason additions and relatively decent draft, the Chargers still remain at the bottom of Mays' list. Putting all biases aside, I have to agree mostly with Mays' analysis of the Chargers' season. Mays goes into DVOA, which for those who may not be completely versed on DVOA, stands for "Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average." DVOA is the measurement of a team's efficiency by comparing that team's success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent faced. For a more detailed explanation, visit the Football Outsider's page. Mays' article does not seem overly pessimistic, but in fact reasonable on the Chargers' strengths and areas that could use improvement. Mays was understanding towards Philip Rivers and the Chargers plague of injuries last season.
Philip Rivers just can’t seem to catch a break. For the past two seasons, the Chargers have seen their offensive potential ruined by injuries along the offensive line. It felt like San Diego was playing with a new combination of guys up front every week, and for as good as Rivers has been during the past couple of years, he hasn’t been able to overcome the medical issues his offense has experienced.
In terms of projecting how the Chargers could be better in 2016, health is the key. After signing center Matt Slauson, they boast the best group of offensive linemen they’ve had in quite some time. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping everybody on the field.
Still, San Diego’s problems on defense go way beyond injuries. It allowed 4.8 yards per carry last season; only Washington and a historically awful New Orleans group were worse. Essentially, running backs playing against the Chargers last fall turned into the equivalent of Todd Gurley, and fixing that problem in 2016 won’t come easy.
San Diego will need more from both him and former first-round pick Melvin Ingram if its pass defense has a chance to make up for the unit’s inability to stop the run.