Chargers Offense – Best in the League?


Depending upon which metric you use, one could argue that the Chargers offense is the best in the league.  They are definitely totaling the most yards per game.  That cannot be argued. At the beginning of the season I thought the Chargers could have one of the best offenses in the league as long as they stayed healthy – but that did not happen.  However, even with their make-shift offensive line they are tallying yards at a league leading rate.  Even when they cannot muster a run-game the gun-slinger has put them on his back and carried them.

Best in the league?  The potential is there – its time to make it happen.

So what gives?  Why is having the best offense in the league not translating into lots of Ws?

The first suspect would be the defense.  Perhaps teams are outscoring the Chargers.  When you look at the yards allowed by the Chargers the defense ranks 14th in the league.  Middle of the pack, an average defense.  That should be enough to generate Ws when you have the best offense in the league.  But as we look closer we see that the defense is giving up a ton of points and sits at 26th in the league in points allowed.

I wonder if the offense has the same problem.  The Chargers offense is #1 in yardage but 13th in points per game.

Those stats tell me that the problem lies in these areas – special teams play, turnovers and red zone efficiency.

Special Teams PlayThe Chargers have struggled on special teams. We are last in the league in return yards.  The Jacoby Jones experiment failed so long ago that he is becoming the new Donald Brown.  He brings nothing of value to the roster and is a liability in kickoff and punt returns, making very questionable decisions in the last two weeks. Yet Javontee Herdon who proved to be a much better return man in the pre-season sits on the practice squad.  Bizarre.

Aug 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) in a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 17-7. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

We cannot put all the special teams blunders on Jones. Blocking on returns has been suspect.  As has punt coverage.  The Bolts are giving up 11 yards on average per return… near the bottom of the league.  The Chargers are losing the field position battle on both sides of special teams play, creating longer fields to traverse on offense and shorter fields to defend on defense.

TurnoversThe Chargers have a -4 turnover ratio.  The Chargers have thrown 5 interceptions and put the ball on the ground 6 times.  The defense has made 4 interceptions and recovered 3 fumbles.

Its hard to put any blame on Phil as he is carrying this team and was clean last week with INTs.  Gordon however is performing like a rookie in this area… sigh.  The defense has not done much when opportunities have presented themselves. Plenty of what we call easy interceptions have been dropped this year.  Weddle can not roam free in the field either as he is up close to the line of scrimmage to cover the defense’s shortcomings in defending the run game.  And others need to learn how to fall on the ball.  I’m looking at you Attachou – how hard is it to fall on the ball in Green Bay?

This sloppy play has killed drives and given the opponents shorter fields to work with.

Red Zone EfficiencyHow are the Chargers doing in the redzone?  Last week was crushing to watch as we turned the ball over on downs early in the game when we were well within FG range. And failing to convert at the end of the game was soul sucking. Those were some real questionable calls by the coaching staff but overall I don’t think SD is doing that bad in the redzone.  They have scored 15 TDs and kicked 11 FGS.  That ratio puts them in the middle of the pack.  The most alarming stat is that the Chargers have only scored 2 TDs on the ground.  The Chargers lack of a credible running game has caused them to settle for FGs or get left out of the endzone at critical times.

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We saw this last week in Green Bay. The coaching staff has no running plays for short yardage gain.  All they have is the inside draw from the shotgun.  Please for the love of God add some short yardage running plays to the book.  And PLEASE put in OLIVER in short yardage situation.  The dude has an LT LIKE pile leap move.  If we had run him on second down he would have leaped the pile and scored and we would be talking about the Chargers awesome OT victory over Green Bay instead of trying to figure out what is wrong with this talented offense.

Best in the league?  The potential is there – its time to make it happen.