There’s nothing wrong with wishful thinking, but it’s tough to confidently say the LA Chargers offense is going to be one of the better units in the NFL. Yes, there’s plenty of weaponry surrounding both Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert, but history points to a lot of regression with a new QB under center and some schematic changes coming under Shane Steichen.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a recent article on The Athletic by Sheil Kapadia where he ranks all 32 offenses in the NFL heading into the 2020 season, where the Chargers are ranked ... 28th.
Well, shucks. That’s a tad lower than I would have expected, and I like to think I’m pretty good at being a realist.
Compared to their ranking last season, the Chargers were the furthest fallers on the list, tumbling 16 spots from No. 12. The two teams tied for the second-largest drop are the Patriots and the Vikings, both of whom fell 11 spots.
Here’s what Kapadia had to say about the Bolts’ underwhelming ranking:
“They’ll attempt one of the bigger scheme changes of any offense, going from the stationary Rivers to a quarterback-inclusive run game with Tyrod Taylor. The Chargers upgraded their offensive line, trading for Trai Turner and signing Bryan Bulaga, but they have one of the worst left tackle situations in the league. Given the drastic system change, they’re another team that figures to be hurt by the limited offseason. If things start off badly, there will be pressure to move on to first-round pick Justin Herbert.”
The points Kapadia makes are all the ones we’ve heard before. Hole at left tackle? Check. New offensive changes? Check. New quarterback? Check. Emphasis on unusual and abbreviated offseason? Check, check, and check.
However, it’s hard to think they truly deserve to be this far down the list. The Broncos, Bengals, and Bears all all above the Bolts (holy alliteration) and I just don’t see that being the case. Yes, the quarterback position is the most important on the team, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell me the offense surrounding those teams’ respective quarterbacks are better than the weapons surrounding Tyrod/Herbert. Maybe the Broncos, but there’s no way a pair of teams lacking an elite tight end (Bears/Bengals) and a solidified WR2 (Bears) should be seen in a better light than the Chargers.
The Bolts boast two — essentially three with Ekeler’s 997 yards — 1,000-yard receiving threats that are all returning in 2020. Henry has been one of the highest-rated tight ends in the league by Pro Football Focus over the last few seasons and backup Justin Jackson is receiving tons of preseason hype as a potential compliment to Ek in the backfield.
Only RBs with 30+ catches of 15+ yards since 2018:— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) July 28, 2020
Christian McCaffrey - 33
Austin Ekeler - 31 pic.twitter.com/WHcGTOwFjE
Only time will tell if I’m correct in my assertions, but on paper, I can’t get on board with Kapadia’s list when it comes to the Bolts’ ranking. But sometimes being underrated is what you want. History points to a positive outcome when the Chargers aren’t getting a ton of preseason hype, so let’s hope that trend continues.