Injuries the biggest obstacle standing in Chargers’ way
By Matt Pagels
Sep 11, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) is taken off the field in a cart against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Chargers have been one of most injury-prone teams in the NFL. Can things change?
In this case, it’s not Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson’s retired number. It’s the amount of players the Chargers placed on injured reserve last season. That infamous number led the league.
But these players weren’t just role players, they were impact players. Within the first five weeks of the season, the Chargers had lost top receiver Keenan Allen, third-down specialist Danny Woodhead, starting linebacker Manti Te’o and shutdown corner Jason Verrett.
Absurd, man. Not only that, but several other starters we’re banged up and missed time throughout the season. I got nervous every time a Charger made a cut or got tackled, which isn’t normal.
Somehow, the Chargers were in almost every game, even leading at one point in all but one game, according to ESPN. They lost by more than eight points (one-score game) only twice, which shows how deep the roster really is.
Even if the Chargers were able to close out those winnable games and make the playoffs, how far would they really have gotten? The Chargers continuously fail to keep their stars on the field. It hurt them in 2013 when they faced the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. I’m sorry, but ya can’t have Bront Bird out on the field covering Julius Thomas on the most important drive of the game–and I’m pretty sure all Chargers fans went full Michael Scott when the Broncos completed that third-and-17 to seal the game.
Ultimately, the Chargers’ health woes come down to bad luck and coaching, and you could argue that bad coaching was another major obstacle standing in the Bolts’ way. The Chargers hired a new head coach in Anthony Lynn, but they also brought in a new strength and conditioning coach in John Lott.
Injuries will always surface in the game of football, but if the Chargers can change their routine and stay somewhat healthy in 2017, they have a good shot in winning the AFC West, something that hasn’t been done since the 2009 season.
I mean, things can’t be as bad as last year, right?