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Things the Chargers can learn from 2019 playoff teams

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 20: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball up the middle and is tackled by Joey Bosa #97 of the Los Angeles Chargers at Nissan Stadium on October 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Chargers 23-20. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 20: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball up the middle and is tackled by Joey Bosa #97 of the Los Angeles Chargers at Nissan Stadium on October 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Chargers 23-20. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – DECEMBER 29: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs shakes hands with quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers after the Chiefs defeated the Chargers 31-21 to win the game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – DECEMBER 29: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs shakes hands with quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers after the Chiefs defeated the Chargers 31-21 to win the game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Quarterbacks are still important

Many are arguing that quarterbacks don’t matter much anymore, as long as you have a good running game and a good defense. While there are many formulas for success, it is evident that quarterback play still matters most.

The age of the pocket passer is behind us, but that does not mean that quarterback play is no longer the main factor that decides games.

Many will point out things like Tannehill reaching the AFC Championship game only passing for 160 yards in the postseason, or Tom Brady winning the Super Bowl last year despite only two passing touchdowns in three postseason games, but one must not disregard quarterbacks simply because they are doing their jobs and being incredibly efficient.

A team can be successful with a quarterback like Tannehill or Jimmy Garoppolo, who has been good and efficient, but not stellar. But it’s clear that while these teams can go far in the postseason in certain years, most teams that are a staple in the playoffs are the ones who have quarterbacks that can take them there consistently.

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There will always be surprise teams like the Titans, the Chicago Bears or the Jacksonville Jaguars. But there is a reason why the Bears and Jaguars are very far from where they were a year or two years ago.

Meanwhile, teams like the Chiefs, the Patriots, the New Orleans Saints, the Packers, the Houston Texans and the Pittsburgh Steelers are consistently reaching the postseason.

All of them have elite quarterbacks. And if there are years where they miss out, it is often because of an injury to players of the caliber of Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger.

This has many implications for the Chargers, who may go in very different paths at the quarterback position. Will they bet on Tyrod Taylor to be their game manager? Will they draft a quarterback with huge potential like Jordan Love? Or will they draft a safer prospect with a higher floor like Jake Fromm?

What should the Chargers do? There is no definitive answer, but looking at this year’s draft prospects, the Chargers should be looking to draft a high potential prospect, even if it comes at a higher risk.

If they want to be consistently in the playoffs in the future, even as the talent around the future quarterback diminishes, they should look for upside and trust the coaching staff.

Telesco has an important job to do this offseason, and there are many examples of success he should be looking at if he wants to turn the team around after a down season.

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