Overreaction #3: It is time for a change at offensive coordinator
Throughout the first few weeks of the season, the LA Chargers have dealt with questionable play-calling.
While this was most notable during Week 1, the issue of play-calling reared its head again against the Carolina Panthers.
Among the variety of plays that were questionable, below are two major mistakes that stood out to me in Week 3.
- Calling a reverse trick play on a drive that was steadily moving. The play helped contribute to a stalled drive that was effective up to that point.
- Calling short screens on 3rd and extremely long plays. This play call was made multiple times, always to no avail.
Clearly, Week 3 was a regression in play calling from Week 2, as evidenced by fewer points against a far weaker defense.
However, for multiple reasons, it is still too early to call for a change at the offensive coordinator position.
First off, the primary way that the offensive coordinator of the Chargers should be measured this season is by the growth that he fosters in his rookie quarterback. Steichen has done well in both Week 2 and Week 3 to keep Herbert comfortable after making major mistakes, which is absolutely critical, especially in Week 2.
Furthermore, while the play-calling was imperfect, many of Steichen’s play designs are excellent but are being executed poorly.
The last play of the game was an excellent example. With 30+ yards to go for a touchdown and one play to get there, it is extremely difficult to expect any player to get open, much less expect a rookie quarterback to throw the ball in the perfect spot that far away with multiple players covering deep.
Instead, Steichen designed an excellent hook and ladder play, which almost certainly would have won the game if executed properly.
The same could be said of several other plays, with the offensive line frequently being a reason for poor results of plays.
Steichen could have made better calls in multiple points throughout the game, but Shane Steichen was not the primary reason for the loss this week, and his job should not yet be in question.
Verdict #3: Overreaction