LA Chargers fans: Let’s Get Real – Offense
As a quarter of the 2017 NFL season has taken place, one thing has gotten my attention above everything else (other than the anthem protest debate): LA Chargers fans do indeed have a passion for their team. There may not be as many Chargers fans as there used to be, but the ones who remain are passionate. If you don’t believe me, just check out a social media group and read what they are saying.
So far, I have heard many comments that have left me impressed by the passion, but somewhat surprised by the fact that they are coming after just four weeks. “Is it time for Cardale Jones?” That little beauty was dropped in a Facebook group after Philip Rivers threw his third interception against the Chiefs.
Apparently, that fan did not watch the preseason or the last dozen years of Chargers football. Rivers certainly has had his struggles, but replacing him now will not improve their chances of winning.
“We going 13-3! Anybody wit me?” (sic) Okay, I’ll be honest. That quote from another Chargers fan page on Facebook, after the week 3 loss to the Chiefs, was the inspiration for this article. 13-3? Seriously? Like I said, LA Chargers fans, let’s get real.
This is the first installment of a five-part series that will look at where the Chargers stand right now.
I agree that Philip Rivers does not look good right now. He was decent against the Broncos and Dolphins but horrible against the Chiefs. He ended up with good numbers against the Eagles but still turned the ball over on the opening drive.
Allowing the Chiefs three picks in the first half led to almost all of Kansas City’s scoring for the day. But before you storm StubHub with your torches and pitchforks, consider the fact that Rivers is by far the best option that the Chargers currently have on the roster. Did he have a bad game? Yes! Should he be benched or cut? Hell no! Clemens and Jones are nowhere near the QB that Rivers is currently.
That being said, is it time to draft the QB of the future? Maybe. Even probably. The prayer is that Jones will learn enough over the next couple seasons to be able to replace Rivers when the new stadium opens in three years. That would save a high draft pick for the Bolts. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on Jones. We have to trust that the coaching staff will be honest and only pass on drafting a QB if Jones is the real deal.
There have been a few big plays out of the receiving corps. However, there hasn’t been anything to write home about. Keenan Allen has remained healthy and is averaging six catches per game.
Tyrell Williams broke off a big play with his 75-yard TD against the Eagles. Travis Benjamin has been a bit of a disappointment so far, as he is only averaging just less than four receptions a game. He is supposed to be the deep threat.
What I really find mind-boggling is the lack of targets that tight end Hunter Henry is seeing. Head coach Anthony Lynn says that Henry is the most well-rounded player on the offense. If that is true, how did he go two entire games without a single target?
In the games where the Chargers remembered he was an eligible receiver, he has caught nine out of 10 passes thrown his way, with one dazzling touchdown. I just don’t get it. Veteran tight end Antonio Gates has had 17 targets but ties Henry with 9 receptions. FREE HUNTER HENRY!!!
You want to talk about concerns? The Chargers ground assault is a real concern. In all fairness, 80% of the Chargers offensive line has either been replaced or they are playing a new position in comparison to where/what they played last season. It does take time to build cohesiveness within an offensive line. That being said, if each man can win his one-on-one matchup, holes will appear. So far, the holes are few and small.
Against the Chiefs, it looked like perhaps the much-anticipated, ground-and-pound game of the Chargers would finally show up. In fact, running back Melvin Gordon had over 70 yards rushing in the first half! But, like in recent Chargers tradition, in the second half, Gordon was severely limited by a bone bruise on his knee. The ground game came crashing to a halt.
Keep an eye on undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler. He has only run the ball one time this season, but that run resulted in a very impressive 35-yard touchdown. He has looked dynamic in the passing game, as the youngster has been hauled in as the outlet receiver. He looks like the real deal.
After four games, the Chargers are averaging a measly 67.5 yards per game on the ground and have only three rushing touchdowns. That will not get it done. What can be done to improve the running game? Get the offensive line to do their jobs.
The second quarter of the season sends the Bolts on the road three of four weeks. First, they travel to New York to play the Giants. Next, they go to the “Black Hole” to face a Carr-less Raiders team.
They then come back home for their rematch against the Broncos. Finally, one more long road trip as they travel to Foxboro to take on the Patriots. Not an easy stretch by any means. They will certainly be ready for their Week 9 bye.
As I mentioned, this is the first installment of a five-part series. Next up, the defense.