Today, I look at three New Year’s resolutions for the San Diego Chargers.
It’s that time of year again; the point in the holidays in which many look introspectively and recognize a need for change. Needing to hit the gym more, eat less, read countless books, travel the world or save more money.
Unfortunately, these New Year’s resolutions often don’t work.
The San Diego Chargers undoubtedly have an extensive list of personal modifications it would love to make. Here are some over-optimistic 2017 resolutions that the team will say they will make, but will sadly not follow through with:
Fixing the offensive line
Tom Telesco has done a fantastic job of bringing in free-agent talent to stabilize the offensive line for Philip Rivers. The cast-off from Philadelphia? King Dunlap came in and become a solid left tackle. Joe Barksdale from the Rams, who? Top-10 right tackle who played in every game last season. Orlando Franklin? A highly-touted guard who had observable success playing for the division rival Denver Broncos. Every move, whether initially or after one full season, was hailed with praise.
And then the wheels came off.
Dunlap can’t stay healthy, and typically plays average at best. JBarksdale is about as useful at blocking pass-rushers as a torero with a red cloth. Franklin helped push Tyrell Williams into the end zone this year, but that’s about as physical as I can remember him being all season. For some reason, the second these three inked a lucrative contract, their play fell of drastically.
With D.J. Fluker added, four out of five of the linemen protecting Rivers are playing awful football. Telesco, the coaching staff and the players will all commit to improving the play of the offensive line, but it just does not appear to be a feasible resolution to be resolved in the New Year.
The Chargers have lost Jason Verrett, Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon to significant time over the past two seasons. Three Pro-Bowl caliber players that could (and have in the past) make a significant impact when on the field. The Bolts, at last check, have 20 players on injured reserve. They could field a very competent offense and defense with the players that were lost for the season. No team could recover from that much loss and still be competitive. This year, Chargers players can’t help but shake their heads and hope for a better 2017.
Sep 11, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) is carted off of the field after an injury during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
They won’t get it.
I want this team to be healthy for an entire season. But due to some combination of either poor strength and conditioning, terrible coaching or an inability to play through pain, the Chargers lose players in bulk. Every position is devastated with injury, and barring the clouds parting and the sun shining a miracle on this team, fans can expect to be frustrated with the same “what-ifs” that come with the plethora of injuries that plague this franchise.
There may be some hope for this one, but it requires drastic change. As it currently stands, we have a coach who can’t lead his team to victory; a stoic coach who refuses to show confidence or inspire some tenacity in a team that looks to him when panic erupts in the fourth quarter.
If the Chargers have a lead, then it’s hard to count on the coordinators to keep the offense and defense from blowing it. A number of games this year have been lost to throwing the ball to close out teams. On defense, John Pagano plays his infamous “prevent-the-win” scheme that almost inevitably ends in a loss for the Bolts. Can the fans expect change?
These three men, as it currently stands, are all pegged to return in 2017. Mike McCoy is the most likely of the three to be removed from duty. It’s possible that with a new head coach, these two will be replaced.
That being said, it’s also very likely that the Spanos family decides to promote either Whisenhunt or Pagano to fill the new vacancy. I personally blame coaching at every level for the team’s inability to close games, and looking ahead to next year, there isn’t anything changing that emboldens me with confidence when it comes to a close fourth quarter game.
What are some of your over-optimistic, completely unlikely (but still hoping they happen) resolutions for the Chargers in the 2017 season?
Have a great rest of your holiday, and I look forward to a New Year in which all of us will absolutely, 100 percent, no excuses stick to proper saving, dieting and extensive exercise.