Los Angeles Chargers under review after 4 games

DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 and wide receiver Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrate a touchdown against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on December 30, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 and wide receiver Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrate a touchdown against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on December 30, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Chargers 2019 season is 25 percent complete. As the Denver Broncos come to town for a Week 5 matchup, we finally have an idea about this team’s identity.

It has been a longer than expected first four games. Injuries have once again been the theme to the season but it has not been all bad as a 2-2 record will attest.

Head Coach Anthony Lynn has finally found a way to let the Chargers running backs dominate opposing defenses. He was known as a running back guru who helped players achieve some of their best statistical seasons as a running backs coach. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that Chargers running backs are having success on the field.

It does not seem to matter who is carrying the ball. Whether it has been Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson or most recently Detrez Newsome. Opposing defenses are on alert the Chargers are a threat to score any time any of their running backs have the ball. That is a direct credit to Lynn and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. The picture is not complete but they are building a potential offensive juggernaut.

The threat of Ekeler, Jackson and Newsome has freed up the wide receivers for some amazing performances of their own. Keenan Allen is on an absolute tear this season. He appears almost unstoppable. Mike Williams was looking good before being sidelined by injury, he is expected back this week for the game against Denver. Williams’ return could not come at a better time as it was announced earlier this week that Dontrelle Inman was placed on IR.

Hunter Henry is once again sidelined by injury hampering the tight end depth. Thankfully the Coupon God Tom Telesco signed Lance Kendricks off of the street. Kendricks seems to be displaying the ability to make catches that Virgil Green just wasn’t doing in Henry’s absence. Imagine defenses having to game plan around Henry and Kendricks at the same time? That could be really exciting.

Melvin Gordon is expected to return this week against Denver. Let’s just hope that the coaches have seen enough to know that Austin Ekeler belongs on the fieldMake no mistake, Gordon is a beast and should definitely help this team, especially in the red zone and on goal-line carries. This is where the Chargers need the most help and where Gordon can still conceivably make his case for a huge payday.

The Chargers have the league’s fourth ranked passing attack. That sounds impressive as a stand-alone stat but it masks what could be a fatal flawmoving forward.

Philip Rivers is playing out of his mind, throwing for 313.5yards per game at an average gain of 8.6 yards. These are very good numbers by any MVP measuring stick. What is being overlooked is that the 2019 Chargers, after four games played, are only averaging 22.5points per game.

If the Chargers, who are 14th in ppg, are going to compete with the New England Patriots’ 30.5 ppg (5th), Kansas City Chiefs’ 33.8 ppg (T-1st) or Baltimore Ravens’ 33.8 ppg (T-1st) in the playoffs, they are going to need to start to figure out some of their red zone issues.

According to NFL.com stats and info, the 2019 Chargers are averaging 403.8 (6th) yards per game. The Kansas City Chiefs 474.8 ypg (2nd) and Baltimore Ravens 482.5 ypg (1st) both have better numbers. Yards are not everything though as evidenced by the Patriots’ 362.2 ypg (15th). They are often a measure of an offense’s success.

Penalties seem to be the Achilles heel keeping this offense from reaching its potential. That is actually a good thing as penalties are usually correctable through coaching and instilling discipline.

Boasting a top 10 Defense and a top 10 Offense (According to ESPN Stats and Info.) there is reason for optimism heading into the remaining 12 games of the season. The Chargers have managed to stay competitive despite an array of injuries that would have crippled most teams. Factor in the fact that both Detroit and Houston are looking better than many anticipated and those two losses do not look as bad as they once did.

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There is an uphill climb ahead for sure, Kansas City is 4-0 and will not give up that two-game lead easily if at all. The playoffs are within reach though. A few players returning from injury, a reduction in offensive holding penalties, continued top-tier play from Rivers and the offense, paired with a stifling defense still finding its way; yes the playoffs are definitely still within reach.

The journey continues Sunday against a winless Denver Broncos (0-4) team that has given this offense fits over the years. As I have proven with my way too biased predictions my game insights rarely come true.

That being said I see this as a win. The Broncos just do not have the offensive firepower to compete with this Chargers team. Defensively the Broncos are not what they once were. These Broncos could be on the verge of a fire-sale and the players know it. That makes them both unpredictable and dangerous for sure, but I think the Chargers get the win.

Chargers 27, Broncos 16