The national media never talks about the San Diego Chargers.
And why should they? The Chargers finished with the third-worst record (4-12) in the NFL last season. And going 2-10 in your own division over the last two years doesn’t help their cause.
But last week NFL Network did bring up the Chargers, and they talked highly of them. A panel of analysts deemed the Chargers one of the ‘underrated’ teams heading into the 2016 season. This same group put the Denver Broncos in the overrated category.
The Chargers have improved, but have they done enough to be considered underrated? NFL Network mentioned that injuries were the main reason why they performed poorly. They still have Philip Rivers under center playing at a high level, which is why a quick turnaround is possible. They picked up speedster Travis Benjamin to complement Keenan Allen, who is returning from injury, beefed up the line with Brandon Mebane, added a good, young corner in Casey Hayward on a solid deal and drafted Joey Bosa to help fix both the pass rush and run defense. Those are the key additions those analysts pointed out, but the one they were fixated on was the signing of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
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They believe Whisenhunt, who was the Chargers’ offensive coordinator in 2013, is the key to it all. If Whisenhunt can get 2015 first-round pick Melvin Gordon and the running game going, and the offensive line can stay healthy, they see the Chargers surprising a lot of people.
It’s a different side to see considering Pro Football Focus recently predicted the Chargers to finish last in the AFC West again (including being the only team from that division to miss the playoffs). Las Vegas odds aren’t too kindly to the Chargers either. They have the Chargers listed just above the Cleveland Browns with 100-1 odds to win Super Bowl LI. Clearly they believe there are still major holes on the roster.
Again, it’s way too early to judge this team. It’s just nice to see that Charger fans aren’t the only ones who see a potential–dare I say it–playoff team. What are your thoughts on the Chargers being underrated?