The Los Angeles Chargers had a disappointing year despite their 7-9 record. They have a brand new head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and just about everybody on the coaching staff is a new face in 2021.
With that being said, the future is as bright as ever in Los Angeles, and the Chargers will be a problem in the future.
With Justin Herbert shattering rookie records in 2020, and with Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen among the best at their positions, this offense isn"t too far off, and the Chargers should be making their first trip to the Super Bowl sooner rather than later.
Super Bowl in Three Years for the Los Angeles Chargers
The AFC West is full of talent, well, at least the Kansas City Chiefs, who are playing in their second consecutive Super Bowl. Nonetheless, the Chargers have the pieces around them to give them a run for their money.
Remember week 2, Herbert"s first NFL start, where he got thrust into action mere minutes before kickoff?
The Chargers were up 14-6 at halftime before giving up a lead and eventually losing in overtime, but they fought till the end against the defending champs.
Herbert came out and went 22 of 33 for 311 yards and two scores, one of them on the ground. He looked poised, calm, and attacked this Kansas City defense as well as anybody.
They lost the game, and the Chargers ending up beating the Chiefs in week 17 as Andy Reid‘s squad rested the majority of his starters.
Los Angeles Chargers Offense is Scary
The blueprint is there, and this offense can hang with the best of them.
Herbert was the year"s story and the odds on favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. He finished the year with 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns in the air and chipped in five rushing touchdowns.
He almost single-handedly led this team back, and if it weren"t for Coach Lynn and Shane Steichen calling questionable plays, they might"ve finished over .500.
While Herbert was the town"s talk in 2020, let"s not forget about the other guys on the offense.
Austin Ekeler played in just ten games due to injury, but he finished with 530 yards rushing and 403 yards receiving, and the dual-threat ability of Ekeler is among the best in the league.
Keenan Allen quickly became Herbert"s favorite target, and who can blame the rookie for relying on the steady hands and superb route-running of Slayer. Allen finished the year with 992 yards on 100 catches and eight scores, all in just 14 games.
This group should be better in 2021, especially with Joe Lombardi calling the plays instead of Steichen, who insisted on rerunning the ball time and time with a depleted line and a running back group of Kalen Ballage, Joshua Kelley, Justin Jackson, and Troymaine Pope while Ekeler recovered from injury.
The offensive line was once again a revolving door amid a neverending list of injuries, and the writing is on the wall for them to take an offensive lineman with the 13th overall pick.
With all that being said, the Chargers will bring back Allen, Ekeler, and most likely one of either Williams or Hunter Henry, and with a full offseason program, training camp, and OTAs, the sky is the limit for Herbert.
Los Angeles Chargers Defense, Watch Out
Casey Hayward regressed a bit, and newcomer Chris Harris Jr. missed some time due to injury. Rookie Kenneth Murray played well towards the end of the year, and the best player on the defense other than Bosa was cornerback Micheal Davis.
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who now holds the same title with the Las Vegas Raiders, was on the hot seat regardless of Lynn"s status. His defense gave up big play after big play and finished as the 22nd ranked defense, a deficient number considering the talent on that side of the ball.
However, Staley just led the Rams to the top overall defense in the NFL, and he will be calling the plays on that end. James and Bosa should be healthy, and the Chargers will add a corner, whether it"s through draft or free agency.
Staley"s vision and defensive mind will be huge for this group, and stopping Mahomes is priority number one if they want to win the AFC West anytime soon.
Will the Los Angeles Chargers make the Super Bowl soon?
It"s certainly possible, mainly when Herbert develops into a bonafide star. The defense will improve immensely once Staley gets his hand on that group, and with a top-15 pick, which should be a lineman, the front of the offense will be much improved.
Their offense has so much talent and should be better with somebody other than Steichen calling the plays.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium, and with the 2022 Super Bowl being held at SoFi Stadium, perhaps the Chargers can become the second team to do that.
Staley has his work cut out for him, although the best in the league is the staff he has put together. The development of Herbert and this defense"s success will be the key to making a Super Bowl or not.
The Chargers are legitimate and are here to stay as long as Herbert plays at this level.
Main Image Credit:
Los Angeles Chargers Los Angeles Chargers Los Angeles Chargers Los Angeles Chargers Los Angeles Chargers