The San Diego Chargers have for years been a team loaded with talent. Yet most seasons, they disappoint the fans and fall short in the playoffs (and sometimes don’t even make it that far). This year is no different. The Bolts still have great players on both the offense and defense, as well as young talent that will look to prove itself in the NFL. If everything goes according to plan, the Chargers might sneak into the wild card spot. Unfortunately, in the NFL most of the time everything doesn’t go according to plan. Here are three scenarios that would ruin the Chargers chance at a successful season:
1. Offensive line doesn’t improve significantly
Last season it was obvious that San Diego’s offensive line was the major reason for their downfall. The Bolt defense wasn’t amazing, but it got the job done. On the other hand, the offense constantly failed to put up enough points to compete against the better teams in the league (and sometimes even the worse ones). In terms of the rushing game, many people criticized Ryan Mathews for the team’s lack of success. Granted, an elite back would have created more opportunities for himself, but most elite running backs get much more blocking help than Mathews has ever received in his career.
In the passing game, Philip Rivers was forced to play the quickest football he has ever played due to his lack of time in the pocket. He constantly was rushed into bad decisions because he has never been forced to throw the ball so quickly after the snap. If the Chargers’ blocking doesn’t improve from last year, neither will the team’s chances of winning games.
2. Pass rush doesn’t live up to expectations
The Chargers are expected to be a dominant pass rushing team this season. Cory Liuget and Kendall Reyes are both expected to have breakout seasons and really establish a presence in the NFL. These two, combined with pass-rushing legend Dwight Freeney, could really create quite a problem for the NFL. If they do, the Charger defense will be very tough on opponents this season. If they don’t, the defense will be terrible because the secondary simply isn’t that good.
The secondary has Eric Weddle and Derek Cox, but whoever ends up playing the other two positions will be inexperienced and a liability. If quarterbacks are allowed to take their time in the pocket, they will easily find open receivers due to the secondary’s weak points. If San Diego wants any chance at a playoff spot this season, the pass rush must be one of the best.
Injuries are always a problem for every team so it almost seems a given that it would be a reason for lack of success and not be worth writing about. However, the Chargers have put together a roster full of injury prone players, making injury seem almost inevitable. Ryan Mathews, Danario Alexander, Antonio Gates, and Derek Cox are all impact players on this team. They are also all high-risk players because they go down with injuries so frequently. If any of these players go down, the season may very well be over. With Mathews gone, the Chargers lose the running game. If Alexander or Gates gets hurt, Rivers loses a major passing target and the passing attack is limited. If Cox gets injured, then Eric Weddle is the only experienced player in the entire secondary. Essentially, the key for the Chargers’ success, rather the key for the Chargers to have a chance at success, lies in durability of the team.