The Chargers announced five team captains for the 2019 NFL season. Let’s consider some other players who are also deserving of the title.
The Chargers announced five team captains for the 2019 NFL season, each of them representing different positions and consisting of players all over the age of 30. The team has filled their roster with talented youth, but they still value the experience of true veterans.
All five players are deserving of their title; however, let’s consider five other players who are also deserving of being a captain for the Chargers. The following player swaps are not exactly one-to-one comparisons, meaning I don’t believe that one is better than the other or necessarily more deserving. But they are deserving in their own right:
- Philip Rivers, replaced with: Casey Hayward
- Brandon Mebane, replaced with: Michael Badgley
- Thomas Davis, replaced with: Keenan Allen
- Mike Pouncey, replaced with: Austin Ekeler
- Melvin Ingram, replaced with: Desmond King
Hayward has been as consistent as they come, playing in 48 of a possible 48 games for the Chargers since joining the team in 2016. With all the questions on defense regarding who the second corner is or who replaced Derwin James, only Hayward remains constant. He’s a veteran presence who is truly the only experienced full-time starter in the secondary come Week One.
Badgley is not deserving of a captain title because of his experience, but because he undoubtedly has more impact on the field than Mebane. How many players on the roster have already broken multiple franchise records? Plus, maybe some special teams representation would be nice.
Davis as a team captain is truly exciting. He’s going to be the unquestioned leader of the linebacker corps this season. But Allen has been with the team longer, and is the leader of his own position group. His last two seasons yielded nearly 200 catches for over 2,500 yards, and he has appeared in all 32 games. He’s beloved by his teammates and one of the best at his position.
Though Pouncey may make the line work for him this year, Ekeler has now stepped forward to become the lead man in the backfield. Now, it’s possible they don’t want to give the captain title to a running back who could suddenly be the second-string player with a Melvin Gordon return. But what a statement from the team if he were to be named captain: You’re here, you represent us well, you’ve fought from undrafted free agent irrelevance to becoming the featured man. We reward hard work, and guys who show up.
Finally, like with Davis, it’s hard to replace Ingram with another player. Ingram has been with the franchise longer than nearly every player on the Chargers’ roster, and deserves to be the captain. However, it’s hard to argue against Desmond King as a captain either. Earlier in the year, Anthony Lynn was seen yelling at King on the sidelines for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, likely telling him to get his head in the game, focus, and not be bigger than the team. From there, King would go on to become an All-Pro at two positions, and one of the most dynamic returners (interceptions included) in the league.