2019 Chargers Disappointments: Desmond King
Desmond King in 2017 and 2018 was arguably the best nickel corner in the league. in 2018 in particular, he really broke out, with three interceptions, six defended passes, and an 84.3 passer rating allowed.
It wasn’t just his numbers in coverage either. His kick return in Pittsburgh was awesome as fans remember, and he seemed to provide a jolt in general whenever he was returning, averaging almost 15 yards a return.
In 2019, he regressed. The 84.3 passer rating he allowed in 2018? That went up to 126.8 in 2019, in addition to a reception percentage for opponents targeting him of 87 percent. The added impact he added in the return game also fell, going down to 5.6 yards a return, despite a touchdown in Denver. King also struggled fielding with multiple muffs during the season.
It wasn’t just the lack of performance on the field either. King seemed out of it off the field and from a mental aspect as well, as he was barred from playing vs. Minnesota due to “non-injury reasons”.
While the season performance doesn’t make me too concerned for the long term future of King considering how injured the secondary was, it was somewhat of a red flag going into 2020.
Between these four players, there were some good moments, but there was a lot left to be desired. For players like King and Tillery, 2020 will be an incredibly important year.
King’s contract year, as well as Tillery’s second year, will have us learn a lot more about where both stand with the franchise. For Gordon and Rivers, offseason decisions loom and nothing is certain.
One, none, or both might be back in 2020. If they are back in 2020, expect the pressure to be on to an even higher degree than in 2019.