LA Chargers News

How the Chargers can stop the mistakes and start winning

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers is tackled by defensive end J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 22, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers is tackled by defensive end J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 22, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /
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CARSON, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 22: Tight end Jordan Akins #88 of the Houston Texans celebrates his touchdown in the third quarter with offensive tackle Max Scharping #74 against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 22, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
CARSON, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 22: Tight end Jordan Akins #88 of the Houston Texans celebrates his touchdown in the third quarter with offensive tackle Max Scharping #74 against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 22, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Chargers solution No. 1: Enforce consequences for player mistakes

Sorry to invoke their hated name, but the Chargers need to take a page out of the New England Patriots’ playbook.

When a player commits a dumb penalty, becomes ineffective, or makes a bad decision, you bench that player. It’s as simple as that.

Interesting tidbit from @mlombardiNFL on GM Street pod: Patriots players are forbidden from extending at the pylon or while falling across goal line in process of catch. Belichick has made it clear they will be benched.

— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) December 18, 2017

At many positions, Telesco has created enough depth that Anthony Lynn can and should employ Coach Bill Belichick’s strategy.

Did Austin Ekeler fumble while needlessly extending the football over the goal line? Start the next series with Justin Jackson instead to let Ekeler think about his decision.

Did Travis Benjamin drop his third pass of the day? Give Dontrelle Inman more of his regular snaps.

While it may sound harsh to cut players so little slack, it is this strategy that has kept the Patriots among the teams with the fewest fumbles annually (pre- and post-Deflategate). The Chargers should at least consider implementing such an accountability strategy. Football is a team sport, but individual mistakes can cost the entire team a game.

Lynn must also remain consistent with how he handles players who make critical errors or cost them games. Remember how J.J. Jones was the starting punt returner and a preseason favorite? He lost his job with one bad play. But how many running backs can Rayshawn Jenkins watch go by him for touchdowns before he’s benched? How many sacks is too many for Sam Tevi (so far, he’s at four in three games)? How can Lynn say he’ll pull Roderic Teamer if he’s making rookie mistakes, yet let him play the entire game against the Texans even though he’s clearly struggling?

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