NFL - AFC WEST
2021-2022 TEAM LEADERS
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers News and Picks
With the Chargers set at quarterback for the foreseeable future, they used their first pick of the 2021 draft to protect that quarterback. Northwestern stud Rashawn Slater is the new left tackle in L.A. Legacy cornerback Asanta Samuel, Jr. was the Chargers’ second-round pick. In the third round, they selected wide receiver Josh Palmer and tight end Tre’ McKitty.
In the win-loss column, it was another disappointing season for the Chargers. They underperformed, yet again, and it cost head coach Anthony Lynn his job. On the field, however, it was a phenomenal year for rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, and never before has a 7-9 team been more excited about the direction of the team. Herbert emerged as a star and perhaps the rival to Patrick Mahomes that the NFL teams have been hoping to find.
Justin Herbert is obviously key. His record-breaking rookie season has Chargers fans salivating for the future. Great quarterbacks can cover for a lot of deficiencies, and Herbert is a great quarterback. As a team, the Chargers don’t have many deficiencies, however. If Derwin James stays healthy, the back end of the defense is great. Having cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. healthy for 2021 makes that secondary even better. A healthy Joey Bosa does the same thing for the front-seven. He was often injured last year, but when on the field, he is terrifying for quarterbacks. Keenan Allen is one of the best wide receivers in football, and watching his relationship with Herbert will be one of the more compelling storylines this season.
Perhaps the most important new addition is at head coach. Coming over from the Rams, Brandon Staley gives the team new life. The former defensive coordinator will do great things with the pieces he has on defense. His new offensive coordinator is former Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi. On the field, look for new center Corey Linsley to have an impact on the offensive line. It’s not that the line was bad last year, but Linsley is just that good. Even with a rookie starting at left tackle, Linsley makes this offensive line better. Matt Feiler is also new to the offensive line. He played two seasons at right tackle in Pittsburgh but was the left guard last year, and that’s where he’ll play for the Chargers.
A big loss for the Chargers comes in the middle of the offense in tight end Hunter Henry. He was due a big payday, and he got it in New England. A fading Jared Cook will try to be his replacement, but at 34-years-old he doesn’t have much left. The Chargers defense has also experienced some turnover. Long-time Chargers pass rusher Melvin Ingram is now with the Steelers. The three-time Pro Bowler leaves Los Angeles with 49 career sacks. Cornerback Casey Hayward is now with the Raiders after starting 61 games over the last four seasons with the Chargers. He moves to Las Vegas with 23 career interceptions. Linebacker Denzel Perryman is also now with the Raiders.
It’s obviously a tough division. The Chiefs are the two-time defending AFC Champions and the betting favorite to make it three straight. The Raiders were 8-8 last year, but with a better defense, they will be in the postseason hunt. The same with the Broncos, who are just better quarterback play away from a playoff berth. The Chargers, however, maybe the only team that can truly compete with the Chiefs’ first place. Herbert may still be a year away, and a rookie head coach may experience some growing pains against Super Bowl-winning coaches like Andy Reid and Jon Gruden. But this Chargers team will be very good this year if they can solve their biggest problem from seasons past – injuries.
Los Angeles Chargers Team Offense
There are a number of new faces along the offensive line, but it should be a net positive by season’s end. Justin Herbert doesn’t have a true option at tight end, but Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are great weapons on the outside. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson give the team a solid running backs room and round out a potentially explosive offense. If Herbert avoids a sophomore slump, this is a great offense.
Los Angeles Chargers Team Defense
The only thing that has prevented Joey Bosa from being dominant are injuries. When he has played 16 full games in a season, he’s put up huge numbers. He’s twice been a First-Team All-Pro, and he’s a favorite to do it again in 2021. Derwin James is another former All-Pro that when on the field is one of the best players in the NFL. He makes the entire Chargers defense better, and if he stays healthy in 2021, this is a very good unit. When the Chargers went 12-4 in 2018, they had a top-10 defense. If this unit returns to that level, 11 or 12 wins are once again obtainable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Along with having a very famous grandfather, Joe Lombardi has coached some excellent quarterbacks, like Drew Brees in New Orleans. He prefers a passing attack built on precision and timing, which should team well with Herbert.
Based on 2020 records, the Chargers have the 17th most challenging schedule in 2021. Their opponents had a .493 winning percentage last year.
Every team needs to remain healthy to have ultimate success, but this goes double for the Chargers. They have suffered more than their fair share of season-ending injuries, both for the player involved and the playoff hopes for the team. If they can have just a little bit of good luck, they will be good.
The Chargers share SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, with the Los Angeles Rams. The stadium opened in 2020, but for the first time, fans will enjoy the stadium in 2021. At $4.963 billion, it is the most expensive sports venue ever built.