The Los Angeles Chargers approach a very important offseason, and they could learn a few things from the most successful teams from this season.
Only the Super Bowl remains in a very surprising regular season. The San Francisco 49ers are a force to be reckoned with in the NFC, finishing 13-3 in the regular season just one season after finishing 4-12.
Meanwhile, in the AFC, the everlasting New England Patriots and the number 1 seed, the Baltimore Ravens, have both been surprisingly eliminated from contention at home by the same team, the Tennessee Titans.
Looking at the four teams that qualified for the conference championships, this is a perfect time to evaluate what made teams successful this year, and what can the Chargers learn from them.
In an exercise that happens very frequently, teams all over the league try to mold their franchises after examples of success, and teams with coaching or managerial openings try to get the next bright mind in the league.
Examples of this are teams following the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles blueprint for success. Draft a top quarterback early in the draft (as opposed to a veteran with a high cap hit), surround him with free-agent talent, and draft the free agents’ eventual successors. This makes for a short, but opportune Super Bowl window.
The Rams went crazy with trades and big contracts and depleted their draft capital, and their Super Bowl window looks to be closed barely a year after playing the big game.
The Eagles’ smarter approach, however, seems to have been more sustainable in the long run.
Another example is the league-wide inclusion of run-pass option plays (RPOs), which were an uncommon thing in the league until Nick Foles famously took the Eagles to the title game with a playbook that heavily consisted of RPOs.
The Chargers have the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft and pick in the early stage of every round with their seven draft picks. They also have a salary cap with money to spend, putting them in prime position to get back in contention after a down year.
What can they learn from the best teams of 2019?