Happy Monday everyone and welcome to another edition of the mailbag.
Thanks to everyone who sent questions in over the weekend. I think I got to everyone so if I missed one, I apologize! Let’s get to the questions.
Over/under 6 TD catch’s for Mike Williams this year?— Ben Oldach (@BenOldach) May 2, 2020
This is a real sweet spot for Williams after he caught 10 touchdowns in 2018 and then followed it up with only two scores this past season. If Philip Rivers was still the quarterback for this team, I would have certainly said take the over.
With a combination of Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert under center this year, it will be hard to see Williams consistently getting enough separation to force Taylor or Herbert to pull the trigger. Both QBs are a bit more reserved than Rivers and I see them playing things closer to the line of scrimmage instead of heaving it up with a prayer to Williams.
Also, if you haven’t seen the top-10 throws of Rivers from 2019, you’ll notice an obvious theme through the majority of the highlights.
How do you think this team will (or should if you’d rather) use Nasir Adderly this year?— Guilty As Charged Podcast (@GACPodcast17) May 2, 2020
I’ll answer both.
How the team will likely use him: Mostly on special teams and a rotational extra defensive back in Dime packages.
Adderley showed last preseason, albeit in a very small sample size, that he knows how to make plays and has great instincts. However, Rayshawn Jenkins was a budding star to Anthony Lynn and it’s tough to see him just hand the starting free safety job over to Adderley without being shown there’s a notable discrepancy between the two. I see Nas spending a lot of time on special teams and as an extra defensive back in Nickel and Dime packages.
With the addition of Chris Harris Jr., the sixth defensive back in Dime seems to be King, but I could easily see the staff concocting different sets of players depending on the situation, i.e., sometimes they’ll prefer three safeties and sometimes they may want four corners on the field at once. Nas has more juice than King so expect them to take advantage of that against faster opponents.
How he should be used: Just give him the starting free safety job.
Jenkins has obvious athletic upside and should he refine his game more, he could be a consistent impact player. But he misses too many tackles to be on the field the entire game. I think Nas is the safer option and Jenkins should be the one brought in on sub-packages. I know the team has made Jenkins gain and lose weight on several different occasions over the last two seasons, but how doesn’t Jenkins’ elite physical traits not translate the best to the Nickel/Dime linebacker role? The man can run and jump like a deer. Why wouldn’t you want that presence running sideline to sideline getting in the way of passing lanes? I don’t know, I just work here, but that scenario sounds good to me.
Prediction for Chargers week 1 opponent?— Blake Meadows (@blmead45) May 2, 2020
It’s truly a crapshoot at this point with schedule predictions, but it might be safe to assume it could be a division rival. I’d say it’s Kansas City since they were the week one opponent two years in a row in 2017 and 2018.
However, if you want to know my preference for the week one opponent, it’s Tampa Bay. You want to talk about a ratings spike? Pitting Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and that Bruce Arians passing game against a Chargers secondary that now has Chris Harris Jr. from the jump of the 2020 NFL season would be pure, unadulterated football fun.
Who has more catches this upcoming season, Joe Reed or KJ Hill?— JR (@j_rudy96) May 2, 2020
I think the answer to this is K.J. Hill and it won’t be particularly close. I think picking between these two for more catches is roughly the same argument as who catches more between Allen and Williams. The skill-sets between the two are vastly different and the ones that Hill and Allen possess are associated with sucking up targets over what Williams and Reed do best. Also, Reed will be utilized out the backfield which inherently takes potential chances for catches away from him.
I can’t see how Hill doesn’t turn into consistent and reliable presence for either quarterback who may see time under center. A fairly hot take I may want to sign my name to is that Hill may end the 2020 season with more catches than Williams, depending on if the Chargers utilize enough three-wide receiver sets to make it a fair game.
As a former player how much do you think Oregon's offensive system could have affected Herbert' performance/development? Was there anything Oregon did with JH that you liked and think the chargers should use.— Timmy Tran (@TimmyTranWreck) May 2, 2020
Well, knowing how much time it takes to learn an entire playbook, I couldn’t imagine trying to learn three different schemes in my first three seasons at a school. To be fair, Herbert mentioned before that there were similarities between them all but that still doesn’t mean it was seamless.
The fact that the offense utilized a ton of pass from behind the line of scrimmage likely didn’t do enough justice to develop his progression in reading coverages in front of him. I think Oregon was one of, if not, the #1 team in amassing offense from throws at or behind the line of scrimmage. The amount of drops by his supporting cast also likely took a few blows to his confidence in some way, shape, or form. After his tight end Jacob Breeland went down for the season, Herbert lost his favorite target and, again, that didn’t do him any favors.
In a recent interview with Chris Hayre, Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal mentioned that he and his staff didn’t actually give Herbert full control over the offense until the final few games of the season. They wanted to “keep him upright” through the year which meant they didn’t want him being a ballcarrier any more than he needed to be.
It was in those games against Utah and Wisconsin that Herbert was able to do what he wanted and what was necessary to win those games. Cristobal also believes that it was a testament to him as a player that he was able to overcome his throwing struggles to rush for three scores in order to win the Rose Bowl over the Badgers.
As far as what I liked, I can’t say there was much. I think allowing him to use his legs was huge because that may help him be successful at the next level and he showed a natural ability to elude defenders in open space. Even though it can’t be his entire skillset, he’s already used to throwing to the flats and that’s how Rivers fell in love with Ekeler. Herbert might find the same success with the Bolts.
With joey bosa due a contract extension what do you think the numbers for the contract will be— James melia (@Tripperman28) May 3, 2020
I’m not the greatest at predicting contracts, but I would think it probably tops the yearly average of Demarcus Lawrence’s contract with the Cowboys who signed a five-year, $105 million deal this past year. I’m not sure the Chargers would be willing to hand out any contract longer than five years due to Bosa’s injury history so I think it’ll be roughly four years and $88 million ($22 mil average) with $50 million guaranteed, a smidge higher than Lawrence’s $48 million guaranteed.
If NFL season is played without fans, it could impact the performance of the teams?— Oscar Castro (@OscarCastroCr) May 3, 2020
Depending on the player, the lack of fans in the stands may affect them differently. Some may be completely out of their element and some might not notice due to how locked-in they usually are on Sundays.
However, I think they’d be in the small minority if a player says it wouldn’t affect them at all. It’s common knowledge that the crowds aid in the adrenaline that players feel throughout the contest. No matter what, it’s not going to feel “normal” for anyone. All their senses play into making them comfortable in an environment and the slightest changes can affect their play.
It’ll certainly be interesting if this happens. But like some teams do during their practices, I could easily see teams playing crowd noise over the speakers to help players feel at home.