Los Angeles Chargers in defeat: Back to the future

Education is expensive.

Three in the back, two in the head. There will be many autopsy articles written about the New England Patriots’ professional hit on the Los Angeles Chargers on January 13. The deer-in-headlights zone defense will be dissected;  the offensive line that was (like Rivers’ body) brutally exposed will be exhumed, and the sheer inability of the coaches to adjust will be analyzed.

In a blink, Los Angeles became Lost Angels, or Baltimore in the Wild Card game: their opponent had the solution.  It didn’t help that their top three linebackers were in E.R., Denzel Perryman, Kyzir White, and Jatavis Brown.

So this article is looking forward.

The questions

What does Philip Rivers have left?  It was a great season, but there are valid questions about arm strength. I don’t think he will deteriorate any faster than Tom Brady, who is about three years older.

Is Casey Hayward-Bey past it?  He has looked fatally slow, and drawn blatant penalties.  A lot.

Does Forrest Lamp have ‘It’?  The second-round draft pick in his second year didn’t even dress for the playoffs. How long does it take for an O-lineman to become a starter? The offensive line has more than one hole for the draft to address.

Does Jahleel Addae get cut?  He cannot continue to chase opposing receivers and running backs like a Kia police car chasing Ferrari’sMaybe he survives as a backup.

Return of the fallen

Five reasons for hope next season:  the return of a ready Hunter Henry, Denzel PerrymanCorey Liuget, rookie linebacker Kyzir White, and the forgotten cornerback Jason Verrett.  

Precious experience

Not only the rest of the team, but rookies and other young players benefit from the true grit experience of the past season toward this spring. Rookie Derwin James, Desmond King, Michael Davis, and up and comers like Dylan Cantrell, Isaac Rochelle and many more.

The core is heating up, not melting down

This is a 12-4 team, and young, there’s no major rebuild about to happen. Unless you think Rivers will be, or is, dropping off a cliff?

Look at the depth at wide receiver, running back, the secondary, linebackers and defensive line.   Aside from offensive linemen, and although good cornerbacks have thinned, each group, when healthy, is in good shape.

The coaches have earned another ride on the roller coaster. Certainly, Tom Telesco’s draft picks have been good enough in these early evaluations.

All we are saying is,  give Phil a chance

Yes, draft a quarterback this draft – and probably the next. Draft four of them and sift them.   There are probably two more seasons left in the Philip RRiversera — and where is the Super Bowl to be held two seasons from now? Los Angeles Stadium.

I wrote in my first article of this season that the Chargers would be better this season. They demonstrably were, at 12-4 with a playoff win.

Will they be even better next season? I guess yes.

Because they have to be.