Know Your Enemy continues with the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers. LA was a wildcard playoff team at 10-7 in 2022 under Head Coach Brandon Staley with young stud QB Justin Herbert. They lost to the Jaguars in the Wild Card round.
Los Angeles was 9th in PPG offense (23 PPG) but 22nd in PPG defense (22.6 PPG). Charges have a new OC in Kellen Moore (formerly Cowboys) after firing Joe Lombardi (formerly Lions OC/Saints QB coach). Staley and DC Derrick Ansley lead the oft-injured defense.
Justin Herbert is a budding star but hasn’t taken that next step yet. Herbert notched a 93.2 QB rating with 4,739 yards 25 TDs and 10 interceptions in year 2. Mike Williams is a strong jump ball receiver with 895 yards and 4 TDs in 13 games. Keenan Allen has been a consistent slot man over many years with 752 yards and 4 TDs in 10 games. Chargers added to this talent with 1st round pick Quentin Johnston (from TCU). Joshua Palmer is solid depth and 4th round rookie Derius Davis adds to it. Austin Ekeler is a good receiver at RB with 722 yards receiving and 5 TDs in 2022.
Gerald Everett (555 yards and 4 TDs) and Donald Parham are solid but unspectacular tight ends.
Rashawn Slater is a stud left tackle but got hurt and only played 175 snaps with elite play. Zion Johnson is a 1st round LG in year 2 (39th of 81). Corey Linsley (8th ranked center) is a Green Bay fan favorite at center. Trey Pipkins is below average at RT while Jamaree Sayler is a solid RG (36th of 81). Austin Ekeler has success rushing (915 yards on 204 carries at 4.5 YPC) and Herbert gets enough time to throw when this unit is healthy.
Joey Bosa (stud but oft injured) and Khalil Mack (8 sacks) are forces when healthy and both can take over games. DE Austin Johnson (FA from Titans), Sebastian Joseph-Day (FA from Rams) and Morgan Fox (6.5 sacks) do the dirty work on the defensive line but are solid players. Johnson and Day struggled with PFF grades as below average though. Depth is rough with Nick Williams (former Bear and Lion), NT Otito Ogbonnia and rookie day 3 Scott Matlock. Basically, Bosa and Mack lead the charge for the pass rush. If they are healthy, Chargers pass rush is a force.
Bosa and Mack are OLBs in this system. Kenneth Murray and former Viking Erik Kendricks is a good duo in the middle in run defense and coverage but both struggled in 2022.
Derwin James if healthy is a very good safety that can be used in the box and coverage. Asante Samuel Jr (22nd of 118) is a budding CB1 from 2021 draft. JC Jackson was a big free agent signing recovering from a major injury. Michael Davis was 19th out 118 playing CB2. Ja’Sir Taylor doesn’t instill much confidence at nickel. Alohi Gilman is the FS (69th of 88). The depth is lacking as well. The Chargers downfall will be their secondar but has some talent.
Schedule and Outlook
Chargers travel to the Vikings in Week 3 and to Green Bay in Week 11. Los Angeles hosts the Bears on Sunday Night Football in Week 8 and Detroit in Week 10 at SoFi Stadium. The Chargers have a good offense but a susceptible defense again. This game will still be a tough opponent for all four NFC North teams especially if the Chargers are healthy.