Five Year AFC West Outlook LA Chargers

Five Year AFC West Outlook: Los Angeles Chargers

  • Broncos
  • Chargers
  • Denver Broncos
  • Justin Herbert
  • los angeles chargers
  • NFL
  • Phillip Rivers
  • Tyrod Taylor
By Noahsmith391 August 3, 2020 0 Comment

Chargers will go as far as Quarterbacks take them

The Los Angeles Chargers have had major turnover this off-season. Starting with the departure of Phillip Rivers, the 2020 Los Angeles Chargers team will look much different from the 2019 team. While the defense should be among the leagues best, the offense will be a wildcard until teams key in on what Tyrod Taylor, or Justin Herbert, can bring to the offense. Ultimately, the Los Angeles Chargers will go as far as their quarterbacks will take them.

Offense

Phillip Rivers, longtime starter for the Chargers, left for the Indianapolis Colts in Free Agency this off-season. Rivers’ backup last year, Tyrod Taylor, will be handed the keys to this offense. However, the Chargers have another quarterback. Taken with the sixth pick in the 1st Round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Justin Herbert looks to be the future of the franchise. The play of the Chargers’ quarterbacks will determine how far the Chargers will advance this season.

Both Taylor and Herbert will be surrounded by talent on offense. With the departure of Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler will now be the main man in the backfield. Ekeler had a breakout year in 2019, with 1,550 yards-from-scrimmage, at an average of 6.9 yards-per-touch. Ekeler is a good runner, and a dangerous threat out of the backfield on passing downs.

Along with Ekeler, the starting quarterback will have two excellent receivers. Keenan Allen is an excellent route-runner, and will consistently provide an open target. Across from Allen is Mike Williams, who quietly had 1,000 yards receiving last season. Williams is a big-bodied receiver who will win the contested catches frequently.

The Chargers offensive line will pose a problem this year. Los Angeles signed tackle Bryan Bulaga from the Green Bay Packers, who has been an excellent tackle while healthy. Bulaga has struggled with injuries throughout his career, missing 33 games. If he can stay healthy, he will be a major addition. The Chargers also traded for Trai Turner of the Carolina Panthers, who will start at right guard. The rest of the line could become an issue. No returning starters have a Pro Football Focus grade above 60. Despite all the talent on offense, the Chargers will only go as far as their quarterbacks will take them.

Defense

The Chargers went big on defense this off-season. After adding Chris Harris Jr. and Linval Joseph through Free Agency, the Chargers spent a 1st Round Pick on linebacker Kenneth Murray. Nasir Adderley will also step back into the starting role after an injury-robbed rookie season. These additions should prove to be huge pieces for a defense that will compete for the best defense in the NFL. However, the Chargers will only go as far as their quarterbacks take them.

Starting on the defensive line, the Chargers have bookends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. These two form one of the most formidable pass-rushing duos in the NFL, and should wreak havoc on offensive game-plans. On the interior, the Chargers will need more from last year’s 1st rounder Jerry Tillery, who struggled in his rookie year. The addition of Linval Joseph will give Tillery one-on-ones with opposing guards in pass-rushing downs.

The linebackers’ development will be key to this defense. Rookie Kenneth Murray should see immediate playing time, and will have to work on his awareness in space. Murray was a thumper at Oklahoma, and should be able to provide that same mentality in the NFL. Linebackers Denzel Perryman and Drue Tranquill will share snaps at the other linebacker spots.

The secondary will be the strength of this defense. Corners Casey Hayward Jr., Chris Harris Jr., and Desmond King II will form a formidable trio in coverage. Second-year starter Nasir Adderley will also have time to develop, after an injury-robbed rookie season. Safety Derwin James has proven to be one of the elite do-it-all safeties in the NFL, and should see snaps all over the field. This Chargers secondary has the ability to dominate offenses, and should be a key to the Chargers’ success.

Year to Watch: 2021

The Chargers have stated that they plan for Tyrod Taylor to be the starter for 2020. This will give Justin Herbert time to adjust his mechanics to be more consistent from the pocket. Herbert consistently missed open targets, and missed easy throws in college because of his footwork. Herbert will most likely see some playing time this season, and will have a chance to show off his improved footwork. Look for Herbert to be the full-time starter in 2021. The Chargers future will only go as far as Herbert will take them.

Rookie to Watch: Kenneth Murray

The Chargers traded up in the 1st Round to acquire Murray. Murray will contribute to this defense immediately, and will be an excellent run defender from day one. However, Murray will need to work on his awareness in coverage to excel in the NFL. Murray has great vision for routes that pass in front of him, but to reach his ceiling he will need to learn to play the routes behind him as well.

Will the Chargers be ready to win in the future?

The Chargers should be a competitive team in the AFC. Tyrod Taylor has shown his ups and downs, but at his best he is a threat with his legs, and avoids turnovers in the passing game. The Chargers should expect more upside from Justin Herbert, and if he is given time to develop, their expectations should be justified. Herbert has all the talent to be an elite starter. Ultimately, his development will be the key to the Chargers’ success. The Chargers will go as far as their quarterbacks will take them for the next five years.

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