Despite having so much talent on the offensive side of the ball, the LA Chargers were ultimately held back by their offense in the 2023 NFL Playoffs. Injuries played a big role but the underlying issue was with the play-calling and offensive philosophy.
That prompted the Bolts to quickly make a change, firing Joe Lombardi and eventually replacing him with former Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Dallas wanted to go in a different direction with Mike McCarthy calling plays, allowing the Chargers to sign an OC that had piloted one of the best offenses in the sport.
The new-look offense is already getting rave reviews and that has fans excited for what could be a fun 2023 season. However, this great new-look offense does not come without any questions.
4 significant questions for the Chargers offense in 2023:
1. Who steps up at running back?
Austin Ekeler is coming back to the Chargers after the team gave him incentives to increase his salary in 2023. However, Ekeler still does not seem very happy to be back with the Chargers.
Ekeler has already had his struggles as a between-the-tackles runner and it would not be absurd to see him regress in 2023. Regardless of Ekeler's production, the team is still going to need a reliable backup running back at the least to take some of the load off Ekeler.
Will Joshua Kelley continue his positive trend and stay healthy to be that guy? Is Isaiah Spiller going to be NFL-ready in his second season after not being ready in year one? Or is the answer not even currently on the Chargers roster?
2. How does Josh Palmer fit in the offense?
The Chargers committed to adding resources to the wide receiver room, drafting Quentin Johnston in the first round and Derius Davis in the fourth round. Davis is going to have a big impact in the return game while the team will look to get Johnston some key looks in his rookie season.
The interesting player as far as 2023 is concerned is Josh Palmer. Palmer was the WR3 heading into the offseason and he has been pretty up and down with the Chargers. There were games in which Palmer stepped up amid injuries last season and there were games where he really disappointed.
Will he still get WR3 snaps? Or will Johnston come in and significantly reduce Palmer's workload? This is a good problem to have as there are always injuries in the NFL and now the Chargers actually have depth.
3. How can the tight end room hold up in 2023?
Gerald Everett was very solid for the LA Chargers last season and is rightfully the TE1 heading into the 2023 season. Behind Everett is where the true questions lie as both Donald Parham and Tre' McKitty have question marks.
Parham is definitely suited to be a TE2 as his blocking has really improved to go with him being a dangerous weapon in the red zone. However, Parham has struggled with injuries and it is worth questioning how healthy he can be next season.
As far as McKitty goes, he was meant to be a blocking-specialist that took a massive step back in his blocking last season. If McKitty doesn't improve in both areas of his game then there is really no reason to give him snaps next season.
4. When will Justin Herbert sign his contract extension?
We are pretty sure that we already know the answer to this one as history indicates that a deal will be made during training camp. But until the pen hits the paper, this is going to be the biggest question surrounding the Chargers.
Fans should not even be close to worrying, though. Both Herbert's camp and Joe Burrow's camp are waiting this out as the second of the two QBs to sign will naturally get more money. The question then becomes who flinches first. Hopefully, so this narrative stops being dragged out, the answer is Herbert.