The 2018 NFL season has hit it’s halfway point and with it, the Los Angeles Chargers are sitting comfortably among the AFC best at 5-2. Taking control of the AFC under potential MVP candidate Philip Rivers, the Chargers offense under second-year coach Anthony Lynn is among one of the league’s most productive system. Granted while some of the credit is due to his supporting cast, Rivers deserves most of the credit for the Chargers success.
With Halloween right around the corner, scary things are on the rise, like the Chargers perhaps taking complete control of their own destiny heading into the postseason...very scary. Or like Melvin Gordon perhaps missing more time after the bye week, even scarier. Either way, Halloween is a time when kids, young and old, all dress up in costumes and pretend to be something they’re not. Sometimes a costume hits and it’s a treat while other times it fails miserably and it’s a trick.
Halloween is known for trick or treating and much like that, so is the NFL. Any player could be worth a massive contract and trick an organization to thinking they’re a great addition to their staff while other times a name with little expectations breaks out and becomes a star in the making. The Bolts are no exception to the rule and have several names this season that have been tricks and treats.
With the team on a bye week, let’s see which players have been have been tricks and which have been treats this season out in Stub Hub Stadium.
Trick - Forrest Lamp
This pains me to write as I loved the fit when the Chargers drafted him back in 2017 but at this moment, he’s tricked a ton of people into thinking he;s a sound offensive linemen. Although injuries have plagued his early career, heading into week 9, the former second round draft pick has yet to make any impact with the organization.
Partially to blame would be the coaching staff. So far Lamp has been held out even though cleared to practice a majority of this season. It might be a stretch but perhaps there’s a reason why Lamp isn’t playing. Perhaps he’s not able to process the playbook fast enough? Perhaps he’s been executing poorly in practice? Either way, Lamp will need a big turn around in the second half of the season because as of now, he’s trick many, including our own Michael Peterson that he’s ready to become a top caliber guard for Chargers offense
Treat - Mike Williams
Yes, Mike Williams was a first round pick so there’s plenty of pressure there for him to succeed. That being said, many around the NFL still believe that speedy Keenan Allen is the team’s top target. He still is as he currently leads the Chargers offense with 41 receptions on 56 targets for 506 yards. His one touchdown however has been the blemish that could lead to some thinking the Williams era is about to begin a blossom.
The second-year receiver out of Clemson has collected 17 receptions on 29 targets for 308 yards and four touchdowns. The big bodied receiver known for this ability to win in man coverage match ups also is averaging 18.1 yards per catch and winning most of his one on one battles. Sure, doing your job is one thing but also becoming a perfect compliment to an already establish offense is a big step forward. It’s certainly been a treat to watch Williams grow as a receiver this season and become a key part of Rivers offensive game plan.
Trick - Jahleel Addee
You know when you get that chocolate box and you bite into the one with coconut filling? Yeah, that’s a good comparison for Addee at this point. Sure, some people will like him because of the stats he’s put up thus far but most people would likely spit him back out and trade him in for another piece.
From a stat standpoint, Addee is average. He currently is third on the team in tackles with 35 total tackles and a pass break up. Other than that, he play has been below average at best. Missing open field tackles to chasing down receivers on missed assignments, Addee has been forced to play the high safety role and tricked everyone into believing he’s a sufficient free safety. Sorry Chargers fans who like coconut but most of people are done with Addee and can’t wait to find his replacement.
Treat - Desmond King
Desmond King received a ton of criticism early this season due to his “average” cover skills. He must have changed costumes because since week 4, he’s been a whole new ball player. The former fifth-round selection has been showing that while he might be a nickel cornerback, he will hunt for the ball and make an impact on the field.
In what could only be described as a perfect game game for King two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns, King two tackles and three pass deflections on the way to a 38-14 win. Oh, he also had a pair of interceptions returned for 33 total yards that would set up a pair of scores for the Chargers offense. Not only is he building off his successful rookie campaign, but he’s also thriving in his role with the Chargers defense. Add in his special teams ability and it’s hard to imagine how the heck he fell all the way to the fifth round.
Trick - Tyrell Williams
Tyrell Williams has a team high four receiving touchdowns. Tyrell Williams has 428 receiving yards on the season thanks to 20 receptions. Tyrell Williams is tricking you Chargers fans. You hear that? Tricking you.
One of the more inconsistent receivers in the Chargers locker room, Williams has tried to turn his season around in the past two weeks. Following back to back 118 receiving yard games, you’d think he’d be one of the league’s best receivers right? Wrong. Prior to his matchup with the Cleveland Browns, Williams has averaged just 38.4 yards per game and scored once.
To put it Halloween terms, he’s that chocolate you find in a fools gold wrapper, just a part of the pack.
Treat - Austin Ekeler
Remember when Chargers fans were ecstatic to find a complimentary back to Melvin Gordon in Justin Jackson? Yeah that lasted all but four preseason games. The reasoning? Ekeler’s versatility and upside with the Chargers offensive unit. Sure, while Jackson might still be apart of the organization, it’s Ekeler who not only is playing the role as perhaps top secondary running back in the NFL, but also giving Gordon a run for first team snaps.
This season, Ekeler is averaging 5.8 yards per carry, the most among Chargers running backs. He also has been detrimental in the team’s passing game, collecting 19 receptions for 233 yards and averaged 12.3 yards per reception, the most among Chargers running backs. He currently has six total touchdowns, second most among running backs. So while he’s not leading in every running back category, Ekeler’s skills have proved to be a major part of the Chargers success this season. Plus he’s been a treat to anyone who has in fantasy football.
King Size Candy Bar Treat - Derwin James
There’s always one house that gives out King size candy bars to all the neighborhood children. The Chargers are one kid and can thank 16 other houses for giving them this massive size candy bar in the form of James. Following seven game this season, it’s hard to imagine at the current moment how the former 17th overall pick isn’t Defensive Rookie of the Year.
In seven starts for the Bolts defense, James has collected 44 total tackles, second among Chargers defenders. He’s also played a crucial role as a pass rusher with 3.5 total sacks, tied with defensive end Melvin Ingram for the most on the roster. Add in his team-high six pass deflections along with one interception and James has been the heart and soul of this defense since joining the staff.
Put it this way; if you nearly as many tackles as your middle linebacker, as many sacks as your best current pass rushers and nearly lead the team in every defensive category, you’re a mega bar and the biggest treat a team could ask for.