Is two games into the Chargers season too soon to put a stamp on it?
Normally I would say yes, but as of right now the problems are obvious and there is no solution in sight. Now, if you are thinking Tazz has gone super pessimistic and is just being a glass half empty kind of guy, I will tell you that is not true. Look, even if the glass is half full, that’s the problem–it’s not full. This is not a full team. There are some nice shiny pieces floating in the glass, but the glass is still not filled up.
“Even if the glass is half full, that’s the problem–it’s not full.”
Offensive Line: I want to say that the offensive line is better than last year. It’s an upgrade from horrible to bad, but I’m not sure it’s any better. They are a little better at passing blocking but can’t run block to save their lives. Outside of Branden Oliver’s 26-yard run and not counting Phil Rivers’ centering of the ball, the Chargers had 13 rushes for 18 yards. That is beyond horrible. And I have no idea how it might get better barring a midseason trade. Chargers fans, this is your 2017 offensive line. Settle into your seat and get used to a feeble running game.
Linebackers in Pass Coverage: It’s clear that none of the Chargers’ linebackers can cover. What is even more frustrating is how every game so far the Chargers have ended up with a WR deep with a single linebacker trailing the play. Where the heck are the safeties? How the heck can they not be helping out on a simple seam route? The only good news here is that the linebacker group will get a big boost when Denzel Perryman returns.
Safeties: The safeties are not good. They did respond after a dismal Week 1 where Jahleel Addae and Tre Boston totaled four tackles, but they are not good at patrolling the middle of the field. But this is the group we will see for the year. And even if they go down with an injury, I don’t think Adrian Phillips, Dexter McCoil or Rayshawn Jenkins will provide a boost. The Chargers failed miserably the last two offseasons to address the safety position, and we the fans will get to sit in that all year long.
Now those are the things we will have to live with this year. But there are three more areas that are still struggling and but could potentially improve.
Special Teams: Younghoe Koo is off to a bad start. Can he turn it around? Sure. Leg strength is there, the boy just needs to dig deep, put his big boy pants on and get the ice back in his veins. That, or bring Josh Lambo back. Either way, this is solvable. Kickoff return coverage was dreadful on Sunday. Three returns for 71 yards. I would hope that this is a coverage issue that can be fixed. Then late in the game they give up a big punt return. Is it that hard to cover a kick?
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Gus Bradley: He was supposed to be a defensive guru. Some of us suspected that his great years in Seattle were just a product of being around Pete Carroll, and we may be right. I hate to complain too much about the defense because holding an opponent to only 19 points is not a bad day, but when I see things like Brandon Mebane dropping back into coverage and linebackers 1-on-1 with WRs 20 yards down the field, I have major concerns.
Anthony Lynn: Did we expect Lynn to be be perfect out of the gate? The guy had no head coaching experience, so if was safe to assume he might stumble a little coming out of the blocks. His time management has been near criminal in the first two games. At Denver it was a disaster; it was the worst two-minute drill I have ever witnessed. They ran the ball twice knowing they were short on timeouts. What the heck? It almost looked like they were playing for a FG to tie instead of a TD to win. With two minutes, decent field position and freaking Philip Rivers as my QB, you better believe I am going for the win in enemy territory. Man up Lynn! Coach like you preach it.
So fans, what do you think? Is Tazz a half empty guy, or is he giving it to you straight?