Chargers Open Training Camp in Costa Mesa
August 3, 2017
With the start of training camp, the Chargers have officially arrived in Los Angeles. Along with a nice turnout of about 5,000 Charger fans, there was a lot of optimism in the air for the LA Chargers in 2017 in Costa Mesa.
But there are issues to resolve and overcome. The Chargers are coming off a disappointing 5-11 season in 2016. In reviewing last season, there are three things that stand out and need to change for any success in 2017.
Number 1: The 2016 Chargers could not hold a lead. The Chargers blew six fourth quarter leads, with three of those blown leads coming in the first four weeks of the season. They blew a 17-point fourth quarter lead in Kansas City in Week 1 and a 13-point fourth quarter lead at home against New Orleans in Week 4.
In Week 3, the Chargers managed to lose to Indianapolis in the last two minutes on a 63-yard TD pass from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton. So instead of being 4-0 or 3-1 or 2-2, the Chargers started off 1-3 last season. They traveled to Oakland for the fifth game of the season and loss by three points, blowing a third quarter lead. But the first quarter of the season basically sealed the fate of the Chargers for the season.
Number 2: The Chargers need to stay relatively healthy and develop their young talent. While the front line starters are good, the depth is questionable and young. In 2016 the Chargers lost star wide receiverKeenan Allen in the first game of the season with an ACL injury and a key running back in Danny Woodhead in the second week also with an ACL injury. These injuries really showed up late in games when Rivers really needed a completion to keep a drive going and kill the clock.
There was not much activity in free agency from the Chargers due to previous financial decisions. The Chargers have $21.8 million in deadcap money, the most in the NFL. So they need to develop their young talent, drafted and undrafted. The Chargers had what appears to be a very good draft this past spring but have already lost first round pick Mike Williams to a back injury. He would have helped at wide receiver.
Number 3: Turnovers. The Chargers led the NFL with 35 turnovers in2016. As a comparison, the two Super Bowl teams: New England and Atlanta each had 11 turnovers during the regular season. This is something that Philip Rivers talked about at Training Camp on Sunday and will need to be emphasized by the coaching staff in training camp.
There is no team in the NFL talented enough to overcome 35 turnovers. The Chargers need to learn from the example that both New England and Atlanta set last season.
The positives are that the Chargers have a very good coaching staff led by Head Coach Anthony Lynn, Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley and Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
They also have one of the top quarterbacks and leaders in the NFL in Philip Rivers. They have a good running back in Melvin Gordon, a Hall of Fame Tight End in Antonio Gates. They have young stars on the defensive side of the ball in Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Casey Hayward.
There is talent with the Los Angeles Chargers, but they need to finish games, stay healthy and develop their young players plus stop turning the ball over if they are going to have success in 2017.