The Chargers are deep with talent at nearly every position, but some games feature opposing talent that may be too much for them to overcome.
There may not be a team more talented overall than the Chargers, but there are players on opposing teams whose talent far exceeds that of some of the starters on their roster. They’re the players fans secretly want to be injured for a game, because they alone or along a unit are the deciding factors of NFL contests. Here are some of those players, and why they’re the toughest matchups for the Chargers throughout 2019.
Chargers vs Colts: Justin Jones and Brandon Mebane against a trio of interior linemen
Now, this is operating under the assumption that both Mebane and Jones are the starters heading into Week 1. Whether they should be out there with the first-string unit is another debate, but for now, those two are the starting nose and defensive tackle, respectively.
What they’re up against: Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, and Mark Glowinski, who according to Pro Football Focus all graded within the top 15 at their respective positions. The Colts, despite not having a truly great back on their roster, still managed to get Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins to 1,244 rushing yards with an average of 4.9 yards per carry last season.
Even if the Chargers switch to Jerry Tillery or Cortez Broughton to provide a more explosive defensive front, the Colts will still likely find success running the ball. Over the past two seasons, Gus Bradley and his rookies and young players have struggled to open the season at peak performance. With the rush defense being easily the most problematic aspect of this Chargers squad heading into 2019, the first week of the season against a top-shelf offensive line may prove to problematic for a defense lagging behind.
Chargers vs Texans: Sam Tevi against J.J. Watt
Watt only needs eight sacks to move to 100 total for his NFL career, and six of them might come in Week 2 against what is currently the worst offensive lineman on the starting unit. It would bring fans nothing but joy to see Tevi improve, but any casual re-watch of a Chargers game from 2018 against a good defense reveals a right tackle with much to work on.
Back-to-back plays from Dee Ford taking advantage of backup RT Sam Tevi in the game. Great snap timing the first rep to win outside, followed by the quick inside counter & QB hit: pic.twitter.com/rBWlp2xi6Q
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) September 12, 2018
Can the issues be fixed by the second week of the regular season? One (hopefully) up-and-coming lineman with a short and rough history of starting against one of the best defensive ends over the last decade coming off a 16-sack season. Should be fun…