LA Chargers Week 17 Overreactions: Justin Herbert the best rookie ever?

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(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Overreaction #4: The Los Angeles Chargers should seriously consider keeping Shane Steichen in 2021

The Los Angeles Chargers offense has been on quite a wild ride in this past season.

From week to week, we had no idea what to expect out of this offense under Shane Steichen’s guidance. Initially, the play-calling looked terribly designed for Tyrod Taylor, who the team seemed to want to turn into a pocket passer.

After a Week 2 game in which the team was forced to rely heavily on throwing against the Kansas City Chiefs, Shane Steichen put training wheels on Justin Herbert and the offense, preferring to focus on the running game rather than letting Herbert play.

However, Steichen seemed to be learning on the job. The team became less conservative and allowed Herbert to make mistakes and grow, and the team put up high scores in the middle part of the season.

Yet, the offense went back into its shell again later in the season, as the scheme appeared to have a focus on establishing the run despite the team not having their best running back in Austin Ekeler.

However, in the end, the Chargers finally seemed to open up the playbook against the Kansas City Chiefs and let Herbert fly, racking up 38 points.

Much of the running game emphasis seems to be due to the now-fired Anthony Lynn’s insistence. Given this and the signs of promise that Shane Steichen has demonstrated in this season, should the Chargers consider keeping him as an offensive coordinator in 2021?

One reason to possibly keep him is his ability to draw up some creative plays. Though these plays were rarely used, plays such as the perfectly designed hook-and-ladder at the end of the Chargers vs. Carolina Panthers game demonstrates Steichen’s great ability as a play designer.

Another reason is that we do not know if the Chargers’ unreasonable emphasis on the run was due to Shane Steichen or Anthony Lynn. Lynn has been the one heavily advocating for this type of offense in the past, and Steichen may be willing to have a more reasonable run/pass balance with Anthony Lynn gone.

Despite the potential that Shane Steichen has, it makes much more sense to move on from him in 2021.

While it is not clear that the Chargers could get an upgrade from Steichen at OC in 2021, forcing a new head coach to keep the previous regime’s offensive coordinator is a big ask of a new head coach, and it decreases the attractiveness of the Chargers potential head coaching vacancy.

For this reason alone, the Chargers cannot risk keeping Steichen on the staff at OC in 2021. Steichen has plenty of potential, and he may be a good OC without Lynn’s heavy run emphasis, but the Chargers should be content to abandon Steichen in order to set up the new head coach with his preferred staff.

Verdict #4: Overreaction