The hope for the LA Chargers is that most of the players will improve in the 2021 season and not regress. While there will naturally be a regression in some players, the more that the roster can improve with the coaching staff the closer the team gets to realizing its reality as a Super Bowl dark horse.
Teams can afford it if certain players regress. It is not going to hurt the team that much if Jared Cook takes a small step back, or if Justin Jackson is not as good as the team may have hoped. However, there are also players who would really burn the Chargers if they were to regress in 2021.
One of those players is someone who the Chargers just made the highest-paid player at his position, Corey Linsley. The center is viewed as a huge component to the Chargers building the offensive line and the hope is that he can continue his All-Pro play into next season.
Pro Football Focus doesn’t think he will. PFF named Corey Linsley as one of the five biggest regression candidates in the entire NFL this season; not just a candidate on the LA Chargers, a candidate for the entire league.
Why Corey Linsley won’t regress yet for the LA Chargers:
The entire basis of the regression argument is that Corey Linsley had a breakout season last season and that it was truly a career year. This is true, there is no argument whatsoever that Linsley had the best year of his career last season.
However, it is not like Linsley has been a poor center the rest of his career. He has consistently been above-average, which the PFF article alludes to. This may not have only been one career year, it could have been the start of his prime.
Will Linsley be as good as he was last season? Perhaps not to a tee, but it is not fair to suggest that he won’t continue being an elite center simply because he was above average the rest of his career.
Age is not really a concern for Linsley. Linsley turns 30 this July and the mileage in his career is relatively low. In a few years perhaps it could be a concern, but not in 2021.
Charger fans likely have nothing to worry about when it comes to Linsley. There is a bigger chance that last season was the start of a prime stretch for Linsley, not simply a one-year one-off.
And even if he does revert to the worst form that he has ever been in his career he will still be a well-above-average center, so it is nice to have that to bank on.