The 2020 season will be determined by the LA Chargers’ quarterback.
As the start of the 2020 season continues to inch closer, the LA Chargers find themselves as one of the bigger mysteries of the NFL with a host of questions surrounding this organization that has undergone a ton of turnover this offseason with its sights set on a bright future.
Sporting a new stadium, new uniforms, a new franchise quarterback, a beefed-up offensive line, an HBO gig and arguably the best secondary in football, the Bolts are certainly set up for a bounce-back 2020 season after their 5-11 2019 debacle.
But the most important questions, of course, are how the quarterback position will pan out and who will give this team the best shot to win games between the reliable veteran, Tyrod Taylor, and the number six overall pick out of Oregon, Justin Herbert.
Outside of the quarterback situation, one could most certainly make a case the Bolts have one of the stronger rosters in the league.
As far as weapons are concerned, they still have the great Keenan Allen and Mike Williams as the number one and two receivers as well as Austin Ekeler out of the backfield and Hunter Henry (assumingly) coming into 2020 fully healthy.
We could also see big impacts coming from rookies like Joshua Kelley out of UCLA in the backfield as well as Joe Reed out of UVA and K.J. Hill out of Ohio State in the receiving core; not to mention an under-the-radar pickup of the speedy and versatile Darius Jennings to use in a multitude of ways.
The offensive line will also show major improvements with the acquisitions of Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga to lock down the right side as the Bolts will now have nine Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl among the trio of Bulaga, Turner, and center Mike Pouncey.
Defensively, I’m hard-pressed to find holes in this group they have. It’s an absolute killer pass rush of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa on either side of the defensive line.
As I mentioned earlier, the Bolts might have the best secondary in football with the tandem of Casey Hayward Jr. and the newly-acquired Chris Harris Jr. at the two corner spots as well as one of the best nickels in the game in Desmond King II and the best athlete on this defense in Derwin James Jr, who the Bolts are returning from an injury-riddled 2019.
So many Juniors. So much All-Pro talent. This is truly a special group in the Charger secondary.
And what is going to go under-the-radar this offseason is how much the LA Chargers are improved in the run-stopping game. One thing that has plagued this team from a defensive standpoint for years now is the soft underbelly of the middle of this defense to get ran over easily by opposing run games.
Now, we have the 6’6″ Jerry Tillery out of Notre Dame settled into his role up the middle after his up-and-down rookie season in 2019. We have Linval Joseph coming over from the Vikings as one of the premier run-stoppers in football.
And we have a drastically-improved linebacking core of Drue Tranquill, who took over the MLB role last year, Nick Vigil coming over from the Bengals who was one of their better defensive players and Kenneth Murray, the big Oklahoma linebacker who the LA Chargers traded up to take at pick 23 in the first round this past draft.
Defensively, this team is stacked in pass rush, unimaginably loaded to the gills in the secondary, and now will have a more than respectable run-stopping unit.
But as this league continues to prove on a yearly basis, if you cannot lock down the quarterback position, you will not win games as the offense is at an all-time premium in the sport. The defense is great. Weapons make it easier for your quarterback. Offensive lines still matter. This Charger team has carte blanche in all of those areas.
However, quarterback is where we’ll need to see this team thrive the most in 2020. I don’t know what exactly to expect out of Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert this year, but I do know in order for this team to be successful in 2020 and keep pace with a big boy AFC West division, one of them is going to need to seriously impress and take considerable strides.