“Yup, this smells like the year!” We are all guilty of it as fans. Jimmy Fallon’s quote in Fever Pitch hit the nail right on the head. As fans we have a tendency to be jaded by the glimmering lights of our team’s logo, but are we ready to take the trip to the dance? Looking at the roster it is pretty hard to argue why we wouldn’t be ready. The team we have been getting to know as, “The Bolt Gang,” is shaping up to becoming a very intimidating opponent.
A young offense gets more experienced and more seasoned as they get ready to become veterans. This offseason has been strong when it comes to the offense such as in years past. Tom Telesco has added a veteran and Pro Bowler at center in Mike Pouncey. The Chargers have been very smart when it comes to free agency, adding the items that are on “sale”, while not signing and being anchored into long bad contracts such as Brandon Mebane, Tre Boston, Casey Hayward, Russell Okung and hopefully Pouncey will be able to be added to that list. While Tom has had a bust here or there, (Orlando Franklin and Donald Brown), the positives outweigh the negatives, and this offensive line is set to be a juggernaut.
While it still remains to be seen, the offensive line should be led by Pouncey at center sandwiched by Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney, while having Okung and Joe Barksdale on the ends at the tackle positions. That lineup itself is a lot of beef that can keep Philip Rivers upright and make some holes for Melvin Gordon. Put in a dash of Keenan Allen, some sprinkles of Mike Williams and a breakout year by Hunter Henry, this could be a recipe for respect from defenses in the NFL.
An offense will always have a weakness. This particular offense has had trouble keeping the ball off the ground and taking some of the load off of future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Rivers. The Chargers might have fixed that in the offseason. With Lamp coming back healthy and Feeney well established, how you cannot have faith in an offensive line led by Pouncey would be beyond me. Hard to believe, but Pouncey has not had a ton of talent to actually lead into a Sunday battle. This year he will have no excuses due to the fact that talent is oozing on the Chargers offensive line. So look for the Chargers to basically be the Great Wall of China this season and only opening to let Gordon sprint from behind it.
So the Bolts offense look to be pretty hard to stop. That’s not even the cherry on top of the sundae. The NFL has evolved into a passing league to say the least. Three-down running backs are a thing of the past!
The deal is tricky with the Chargers, because to beat the Chargers it looks as though you will have to try to run the ball. Defensive tackles on the Chargers aren’t soft, but aren’t looking too young and spry either. According to NFL.com, the Chargers defense ranked second to last against the run while giving up 4.9 yards per attempt, worst in the league.
Where this defense makes its true mark is in the passing game. It has more toys, more gizmos and more gadgets than a Swiss Army knife. Starting with the book end defensive ends, and I use defensive ends loosely, Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. You can line them up anywhere and quarterbacks live in fear of what destruction they can cause.
So you are probably asking yourself, “Joey, if all this is true then why can’t they get in the Super Bowl?” Very good question and it all is to blame on special teams. Special teams were a cause of death for any Chargers fan to watch last year. Missed field goal after missed field goal caused this amazingly talented Chargers team to be the joke of the year. The team had virtually no return game to make a difference. It has yet to be seen how Dean and Co. deal and address the return game, but with the signing of Caleb Sturgis and Roberto Aguayo, Telesco has hoped to have fixed the place kicker situation. Coach Anthony Lynn will be grinding them through a competition I’m sure. The only thing good about the Chargers special teams was Drew Kaser, as the punter had 27 punts inside the 20 and averaged 48.1 yards a punt which ranked fourth in the NFL. I guess you can say Kaser puts the… special… in special teams! YIKES!
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So after touching base on the three units that make up the Los Angeles “Super” Chargers, *sigh* I miss San Diego, what’s left to be said about this year? What makes this year different from last? The youth is another year older, they have two kickers and coach Lynn and Tom “Terrific” seem to be determined to get the place kicking issue out of the way. The Chargers added a potential DROY in Derwin James, some linebacker help and a defensive tackle who is going to add some depth.
Now just think of this; one of the Bolts new toys (Pouncey) is here to make all of their already awesome toys that much better! It will be a big year for the Chargers this year.
There simply are too many positives to mention in one write up. I could mention the defensive takeaways, the speed of the offense, the swagger that the defense plays with etc. This is all supporting the case. The 2018-2019 NFL year is going to be good for the Chargers.
If it doesn’t, then we need to sacrifice something or someone! Yup… this smells like the year!