When a team as a whole is having success, it’s easy to get through each week as a football fan. But when the team isn’t doing so hot, and they finish with a record under .500 on the year, it becomes almost tedious to lounge on your couch and watch the game every weekend.
In times like these, fans can get by if they are able to latch on to certain players and simply enjoy when those players are on the field, whether not the team is ahead on the scoreboard.
With that in mind, I’m going to give you guys my favorite five players to watch on the Chargers.
(Note: This is not who I think are the best five on the team. Just my personal favorites.)
Could you guys believe the absolute tear that Ekeler was on prior to the return of Melvin Gordon? It didn’t matter if it was real football or on your fantasy team, Ekeler was making the most of his touches and scoring every kind of point he could. My favorite part about Shane Steichen and the offense down the stretch was his willingness to get Ekeler on the field at the same time as Gordon. His usage out wide, in the slot, and in a split backfield will create new and unique looks for the Chargers going forward, regardless of who shares the backfield with him in 2020. Ekeler is such an easy guy to root for and I only hope he continues to get everything he deserves with this team.
What a shame is was to only have Derwin James healthy for less than half the season. After being named a First-Team All-Pro in 2018 as a rookie, the sky was the limit for him and fans couldn’t wait to see him back on the field. The foot injury was a freak accident, to say the least. Here’s to hoping he (and the team) has much better luck in 2020. After all, 2018 was a fairly healthy year outside of Hunter Henry and that year ended with the first playoff victory since 2013.
Even after missing all that time, James returned to the field on the first of December and it took mere seconds for his presence to be felt. Him and Adrian Phillips, who also returned from IR that game, combined on a third-down stop to force a three-and-out on the Denver Broncos’ first drive of that game.
Of all the players on this list, he’s most definitely the guy I cannot wait to see when this season gets underway.
You can’t be a fan of this team and not have the Big Bear in your list of favorite Chargers to watch. When you have a defender who can get after the quarterback just as well as he can stop the run, then you’ve got some must-watch football. Bosa once again finished with double-digit sacks n 2019, falling just one shy of his career-mark of 12.5. This was also without much help from anyone else on that side of the ball.
When the Chargers prepared for the 2019 draft, they knew they needed to draft a defensive linemen who could either stop the run or create some pressure up the middle. At the end of the season, it wound-up not mattering who they drafted because Bosa became such a force along the line that he became that person for the team. His 87 total tackles were second on the team, which is phenomenal for someone who plays his position.
In contrast to his play on the field, he’s also a quiet giant off of it. He is super active within the community and is incredinly easy to relate to, especially when he talks Game or Thrones or the latest Call of Duty.
My favorite jersey I own at this very moment is my navy Hunter Henry one. Yeah, it could be powder blue, but why don’t you try to explain to my wife that it’s okay to buy two jerseys for one player.
I was a tight end in college so there’s nothing like getting to cheer for someone on your favorite that you share those experiences with. He’s also the complete package at the position which is so much better than rooting for a “flex” tight end or another guy who’s just a glorified offensive tackle.
Henry has become the guy in crunch time for the Chargers and that also helps when it comes to being beloved by the fan base. Chargers fans know that when the team needs a huge conversion on third down, it’s usually Henry who is going to come up with the catch. In a way, we’ve all been spoiled going from a all-time great in Antonio Gates to a rising star in Henry. For this reason, you’ll never catch me complaining.
Rounding out my top five is a guy who some may not have expected to be here. Phillips has won over my fandom due to his play over the last two seasons, which has been underrated to a degree. With the Chargers running as much nickel and dime packages as they do, Phillip gives them the perfect piece to function in a “smaller” personnel group while not giving up as much stopping power as one would expect.
In the same manner as Ekeler, Phillips was a former undrafted free agent who turned himself into a productive member of this team. He was named a First-Team All-Pro as a special teams contributor and could easily have been in the running for a defensive utility spot, as well.
He’s a humble guy and I couldn’t have been happier that the Chargers re-signed him prior to this season.