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Why the LA Chargers need to win games down the stretch, not tank

Nov 22, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) celebrates with quarterback Justin Herbert (10) and wide receiver Mike Williams (81) after scoring a third quarter touchdown against the New York Jets at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) celebrates with quarterback Justin Herbert (10) and wide receiver Mike Williams (81) after scoring a third quarter touchdown against the New York Jets at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Tanking is a popular term in professional sports but the LA Chargers should have no part of that.

The LA Chargers have had an extremely disappointing 2020 season, currently sitting with a 3-7 record after 10 games. With only six games remaining and the playoffs out of the picture, many fans want to see the team “embrace the tank” and lose games to help the draft position.

On paper, it makes a lot of sense. The Chargers would be getting to pick higher in the 2021 draft order and for many, the desire to lose games down the stretch is stemmed from a desire for the team to undergo a coaching change.

It sounds smart on paper but that is where it should remain — on paper. Tanking sounds fun but the Chargers should be looking to win as many games as possible down the stretch, even if it hurts their draft order.

The team needs something to build off of for next season. Some may argue that the way to build for next season is to secure a better draft pick, but I would disagree.

There are two teams that had the same number of wins as the Chargers last year that have shot up into playoff contention this year — the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals. Miami refused to roll over and tank, winning three of their last five games.

The same could be said for Arizona. At 3-9-1 it made sense for the team to commit to losing out to get a top-five pick. Instead, they won two of their last three including a big win over the Seattle Seahawks.

The Cardinals had a young quarterback in Kyler Murray that needed to build confidence and know what it is like to win. The Dolphins had a new head coach that wanted to instill a winning culture in a franchise that was expected to win three games at most in 2019.

Building that confidence for next season is important, plus, where the Chargers fall in the draft order does not matter as much as some may think.

The Chargers certainly have needs but there are not any teams that they need to beat out in the draft order in order to fill a certain need as they could go a multitude of ways in the draft. This is not the case of the team needing to select high to get a quarterback.

There is one prospect that would be worth tanking for but he is already out of the Chargers’ reach. Penei Sewell is one of the best offensive tackle prospects that we have seen out of college in years and I will say now that it is a bonafide lock that he goes to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals currently have the third pick in the draft and with Joe Burrow‘s unfortunate injury I would not expect the team to win many more games this season. Realistically, the difference between the fifth pick and the ninth pick in the draft is not going to be that big for the LA Chargers, so might as well win some of these games.

The one thing that could be concerning is that it could convince the LA Chargers not to move on from Anthony Lynn. However, I personally do not think the front office would let that sway their decision-making either way. I genuinely do believe that the front office is already decided on whether or not they are going to keep Lynn around.

And because he is under contract for next season, I have a feeling that he will go into next season as the head coach. Fans will hate it, but that is the reality of the situation and the team is more likely to fire Gus Bradley and George Stewart in the offseason.

Perhaps I am wrong and I would love to see a head coaching change but firing Lynn is not going to magically solve all of the team’s problems. They still have to draft well, stay healthy, and most importantly, make the right follow-up hire.

Firing a coach means nothing if you don’t follow it up with a better coach.

Next. Herbert will smash this rookie passing record

At the end of the day, with a young quarterback under center that has lost so many heartbreaking games already, I would like to see the LA Chargers win at least three of their last six games in 2020.

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