The Los Angeles Chargers are looking to take it to next level during the 2023-2024 season. Coming off crushing a wild card loss, Justin Herbert and company looking to rewrite their wrongs from a season ago. With Brandon Staley potentially on the hot seat, this is a make-or-break year for the Bolts. The Chargers are notorious for so much bad luck in their franchise history, which leaves many questions to be answered. Can they dethrone the Chiefs in the AFC West? Will they make it past the wild card round for the first time since 2018? As the season kicks off, we will know for sure.
The Chargers had their first 10-win season in the Justin Herbert era and clinched a playoff berth. Yet this past season has been somewhat disappointing. In their first 10 games, they went 5-5. During that stretch, they had a blowout loss against the Jags at home and were swept by the Chiefs in two very competitive games. Injuries also hampered them. Joey Bosa only played five games with a groin injury, JC Jackson suffered a season-ending knee injury, Kennan Allen missed two months with a hamstring, and Mike Williams factored his back and meaningless game in Denver. Even Herbert played most of the season with broken ribs.
Despite that, the Chargers finished the season strong going 6-1 down the stretch. Having Allen back helped Herbert and the offense perform more consistently. Austin Ekeler had a monster year leading all running backs in receptions and touchdowns. Unfortunately, Los Angeles lost a heartbreaking wildcard game in Jacksonville. Blowing a 27-point lead and game-winning drive led by Trevor Lawerence stunned the football world.
Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore
After the stunning upset against the Jaguars, changes needed to be made. The Chargers fired Joe Lombardi after two seasons with the team. When he was calling the shots the Bolts’ offense went three-and-out on 21.7% of their drives, which ranked 18th in the NFL and ranked 30th in rushing yards per game and yards per carry. The hiring of Kellen Moore will change all of that. Moore’s four seasons in Dallas, the Cowboys twice had the top-ranked offense in yards per game (2019 and 2021) and led the league in points scored in 2021 with 31.2 per game. Including fourth in third down conversions and ninth in rushing yards per game. The Chargers offense is just as talented as the Cowboys so they should vastly improve under Moore’s guidance.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks
After releasing Kyle Van Noy and Dre Tranquill to Kansas City, the linebacker position had become a priority need for the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2023-2024 offseason. Despite being 31 years old, Eric Kendricks still has a lot left in the tank. Kendricks signed with Los Angeles after being cut by the Vikings to clear cap space. Kendricks had 137 tackles and a sack in 2022. He had more tackles last season than his All-Pro season in 2019. Kendricks will be looked upon as a leader, more specifically young linebackers. Fellow teammate Kenneth Murray Jr said “Kendricks is like a big brother” to him. Defensive coordinator Derrick Ashley said, “He takes command in the middle and has been a calm presence in there”. He’ll fit right in with the rest of the leaders in that locker room with Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Kahlil Mack.
Projected Depth Chart
QB: Justin Herbert, Easton Stick
RB: Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller, Elijah Dotson
WR: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer, Quentin Johnston, Derius Davis
TE: Gerald Everett, Donald Parham Jr., Tre’ McKitty, Stone Smartt
LT: Rashawn Slater, Foster Sarell
LG: Zion Johnson, Jordan McFadden
C: Corey Linsley, Will Clapp
RG: Jamaree Salyer, Brenden Jaimes
RT: Trey Pipkins III, Andrew Trainer
DE: Morgan Fox, Sebastian Joseph Day
DT: Austin Johnson, Nick Williams
Edge: Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Tuli Tuipulotu, Chris Rumph II
LB: Eric Kendricks, Kenneth Murray Jr., Daiyan Henley, Nick Niemann, Amen Ogbongbemiga
CB: J.C. Jackson, Michael Davis, Asante Samuel Jr., Ja’Sir Taylor, Deane Leonard
S: Derwin James Jr., Alohi Gilman, JT Woods, Raheem Layne, AJ Finley
K: Cameron Dicker
P: JK Scott
PR/KR: Derius Davis
The stakes for the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2023-2024 season have never been higher. This team is far too talented to be a first-round exit again. If everyone stays healthy, which has been a struggle the past couple of seasons. I could see them going on a deep playoff run. I don’t see them being Super Bowl contenders since they aren’t better than the Chiefs, Bengals, and Bills in my opinion.
The bottom line is, it will come down to the coaching staff. After multiple rumors last year of hiring Sean Payton, it’s clear that the ownership wants Staley gone. If they don’t win a playoff game, there is a good chance he will be gone by season’s end. With Herbert signing a contract extension, it’s up to him and Staley to break the curse in Los Angeles.
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