Photo via Troy Taormina
Never having won a Super Bowl let alone participated in the playoffs in over 5 years, what has finally brought good fortune to the Chargers for this upcoming season? Returning for the second year, Anthony Lynn made key improvements on the defense, special teams, and offensive line to make this year’s Chargers team the most balanced and versatile team in the AFC West.
The Offensive Line has improved since 2016 in reducing sacks numbers from 36 to 18. Going into this 2018 season with new additions of free agent Mike Pouncey along with 5th round draft pick Scott Quessenberry could potentially reduce sack numbers giving Rivers more time to seek out favorable opportunities. Coming back with a full recovery from a torn ACL injury, 2017’s 2nd round pick Forrest Lamp is showing promise as a starting RT.
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The Defense is a strong point for the Chargers ranking 15th overall based on their allowed yardage; ranking second to last at 131.1 YPG. To reduce those numbers, Lynn concentrated the first four rounds to defense. The most impacted steal was with Florida’s All-American Safety Derwin White, a hard hitting ball-hawk. Draft picks DE Justin Jones, an interior run stopper, LB Uchenne Nwosu, a pass deflecting monster/pass rusher, and S/LB Kyzir White, who can play both safety as much as LB are going to improve against the run overall. Solidifying their defense with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram with a combined sacks of 22.5, the Chargers defense will be top 10 in the NFL.
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Cut after a short four weeks, Rookie kicker Younghoe Koo missed crucial field goals that in turn cost the Chargers a couple of victories. To clean up this mistake, Anthony Lynn will have to choose between K Roberto Aguayo and K Celeb Strugis who are both more than qualified for the job.
Anthony Lynn finished his first year 9-7 missing the playoffs by an inch. In 2017, it was a rough start 0-4 due to a handful of special teams miscues, however, with new faces at the kicker position, and a well overdue upgrade on the defense and O-line, the odds for LA are higher than ever. Lynn has all the right pieces to make noise in the AFC West; perhaps enough to be heard throughout the entire conference.
With a favorable schedule my prediction: 2nd seed in the AFC with a record of 12-4.