Welcome to the Podcast AF offseason review series, astutely titled “The Probe” – the unofficial official NFL offseason review series of the Vegas Golden Knights. Here, like most NFL “writers”, I will regurgitate takes I read or heard somewhere else and pass them off as original thoughts. Will Ryan Tannehill breakout in 2018? Was Mike McCarthy abandoned by the run game as a child? Does Saturn have a playoff atmosphere? Your questions, answered! Sponsored by “Ready Player One”, in theaters now!
#16 – The Los Angeles Chargers (9-7, 2nd AFC West)
HALFWAY THERE! This is careening toward me falling just short by the time the draft rolls around and having to do the last 5 or 6 after the draft has already happened. That’s what happened with the pre-free agency reviews, except those were in private word documents and now I’ve unnecessarily exposed my tendency to fall short of my goals in life. But I measure my goals by if I tried.
The Chargers, especially the last few seasons, remind me of anticipating a new Weezer album. You have to go in with no expectations because it’s going to be either really good or really bad. Schrodinger’s NFL team?
Really Good: Everything Will Be Alright In The End, The White Album.
Really Bad: Ratitude, Pacific Daydream
Actually ok: Hurley.
The 2017 LA Chargers could’ve gone 0-16 or 16-0 and it would’ve made complete sense. Instead they went right down the middle. LA had the 2nd-worst run defense in the league, one of the worse offensive lines, and struggled to get their run-game going. Poor Philip Rivers once again was amazing, did everything he could, and the team failed him.
Love it when someone else tweets it out so I don’t have to type it out.
“Potential” is the key word here. Pouncey is a big name but had a bad season in 2017, so he’s a question. The decline is likely due to the lingering hip injury from 2016 that caused him to miss 11 games. Feeney is in his second season and wasn’t great as a rookie, but showed potential. Okung is still pretty good. Barksdale wasn’t good last season. Lamp is technically a rookie, as he missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Make of all that info what you will.
This might be the best WR corps in the NFL. Keenan Allen is a top-5 WR and can do virtually everything. Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin are more narrow skill set-wise but can serve the purpose of stretching the field vertically. Then there’s Mike Williams, last year’s 7th-overall pick who barely played due to two separate injuries. He was drafted so high because of talent, but until he’s healthy and playing consistently we don’t know what he’ll be.
It appears Melvin Gordon may be dependent on the OL play. I know I questioned the OL, but these new guys are proven run-blockers. Behind Gordon are Austin Ekeler and Branden Oliver, two effective pass-catching backs. Every aspect of this offense should be able to open up other aspects, which is good news for Gordon.
Oh yeah, and add Hunter Henry, PFF’s 2nd-ranked TE in the NFL. Henry is certainly up and down stat-wise, but as I’ve preached in the past, stats don’t tell the whole story.
It’ll be interesting to see what comes of Antonio Gates. He’s a free agent right now, but I could see him coming back on a dirt-cheap deal out of respect.
Movie Comparison: I’m going to invoke The Dark Knight again because the main characters are elite actors but outside of them there’s some real shit.
SDE: Melvin Ingram
WDE: Joey Bosa
NT: Brandon Mebane
DT: Corey Liuget
Ingram and Bosa are two of the top-5 pass rushers in the NFL. This is the #1 reason why the Chargers have the 3rd-best pass defense in the league. Corey Liuget is good as well, but Brandon Mebane might be the #1 reason why the Chargers had the second-worst run defense in the NFL.
OLB: Denzel Perryman
MLB: Hayes Pullard
OLB: Kyle Emanuel
Just kidding, these guys were the #1 reason. Not because they were necessarily bad, but because they were all injured. Perryman was actually supposed to be the starting MLB but injured his ankle preseason. By the time he was healthy enough to play, Pullard had usurped him. But Perryman still started at OLB and recorded 10 tackles in his return, although he and Pullard graded out poorly on PFF. Emanuel also missed quite a bit of time. Even though it was backups playing poorly for much of the season, it may not have mattered. We’ll see in 2018.
CB: Casey Hayward
SS: Jahleel Addae
FS: Adrian Phillips
CB: Jason Verrett
NCB: Desmond King/Trevor Williams
What the LBs lack at least the DBs make up for. Casey Hayward is undoubtedly the best CB in the league. Verrett wasn’t great before going on IR, and although he’s listed as the starter right now, King and Williams are much better and could prompt Verrett to be cut. Addae is a great SS. Phillips was Tre Boston’s backup last season but has started a handful of games the past few years to little success.
MAJOR DRAFT NEEDS: NT, FS, LBs, OL depth, QB of future?
In honor of Pete Prisco telling me I’m dumb and that I’ll fail, here’s this entry’s edition of “Prisco’s Pickanosis,” where I highlight something the Tom Brady of acting like an infant on Twitter was completely wrong about.
There really wasn’t much to work with here, which was expected based on how I opened this entry. Technically he was wrong, but he wasn’t that wrong. He’s still an asshole though.