With the offseason the Chargers have put together thus far, no one should be surprised that expectations for the 2022 season are going to be sky-high. The defense is vastly improved due to a plethora of new additions and the offense also found a way to improve a unit that helped Justin Herbert become one of just two quarterbacks to throw for over 5,000 yards this past season.
So just how high are the expectations for this team? According to a new bold predictions article from NFL.com, analyst Adam Schein believes there’s a chance the Chargers could finish the 2022 season with an offense AND defense that both rank among the top three in the NFL.
“This team is LOADED,” exclaimed Schein. “Last month, Chargers GM Tom Telesco came on my SiriusXM Radio show, ‘Schein on Sports,’ and I asked him about dealing with expectations. He scoffed at the question, pointing out that the Bolts didn’t even make the playoffs last season. I love it. That’s chip-on-the-shoulder stuff. Color me obsessed with the demeanor. And did I mention the talent?”
Telesco aggressively improved all levels of the defense in the free agency/trade market, adding OLB Khalil Mack, CB J.C. Jackson, CB Bryce Callahan, LB Kyle Van Noy, DL Sebastian Joseph-Day and DT Austin Johnson. This is a unit that already had established gamechangers Joey Bosa and Derwin James, as well as promising youngster Asante Samuel Jr. Then, in the draft, Telesco wisely fortified the offensive line with plug-and-play starter Zion Johnson and versatile Day 3 value pick Jamaree Salyer.
When it comes to the prediction for the offense, I wouldn’t necessarily say that part is all that bold. In 2021, the Chargers finished second (6,848) only to the Buccaneers (6,988) in combined passing and rushing yards. With an improved offensive line and a legitimate backfield complement to Ekeler added in the backfield, there’s more than a good chance the Chargers repeat that level of production.
At the same time, there’s absolutely no reason now to expect great things from the team’s current group of defensive players. That side of the ball is absolutely flushed with star power and talent. But much like we’ve seen in the past, whether it be in football or another sport (think super teams in the NBA), sometimes those squad take a bit to gel in the beginning. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see some semblance of a slow start — be it just for a game or two — I think being able to expedite the connection and chemistry for this group will be one of the main things that could help solidify Brandon Staley’s impact and legacy with this franchise.
Now that I think about it, with bonafide elite ball players like Mack and Jackson now playing alongside Joey Bosa and Derwin James, one could assume the chances of a slow start are actually pretty close to zero. Either way, an immense amount of fun will be had watching this group go to work on Sundays.
What do you all think of this “bold” prediction by Schein? Is it even all that bold? Is it far too bold? Let me know all your thoughts below.