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29th ranked team?

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    According to some guy on Yahoo anyway... ;)

    2016 NFL Preview: The Chargers have a great QB, and still lost big
    San Diego Chargers challenge that wisdom.

    Philip Rivers is a great quarterback. He should be in the Hall of Fame some day. He threw for 4,792 yards last year despite not having Antonio Gates for the first four games and being without Keenan Allen for the last eight. He’s tough, accurate and understands how to play quarterback. Rivers might be as good as he has ever been — and he was an MVP-quality player late last decade.

    The Chargers went 4-12 with him last year. Rivers had 3,033 yards through nine games, and the Chargers were 2-7. He threw for 503 yards at Green Bay and the Chargers lost 27-20. This is why nobody should cite quarterback wins as a real stat.

    Rivers was very good last season and the team around him was not. Still, it’s possible they’re probably rated a little low here. A little bit of injury luck would help a lot, and the Chargers were 9-7 in 2013 and 2014 before last year’s debacle. But there aren’t a ton of obvious solutions to last year’s problems, just the hope that Rivers can carry the team to better days.

    The defense was in shambles most of last year, equally poor against the run and pass. The running game is a complete mess. The Chargers didn’t add any running backs this offseason, even though Melvin Gordon had a poor rookie year. They also lost key players like tight end Ladarius Green and safety Eric Weddle in free agency, which won’t help.

    The Chargers won’t go 4-12 again. Rivers is too good for that, and he’ll lead the Chargers to some upsets. And I’m not entirely down on Mike McCoy as a coach, as others may be. But the defense likely is not going to be a ton better and the run game might not be either.

    Mostly, the franchise’s fortunes rest squarely on Rivers’ shoulders. Last season proved you need more than just that.

    I like some of the moves they made, though there wasn’t an earth-shaking addition unless you think Joey Bosa will be an immediate star. Receiver Travis Benjamin fills a role as a deep threat. Cornerback Casey Hayward is a big upgrade in the slot. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was really good in the middle for the Seattle Seahawks, though he is 31 now. But Eric Weddle is a big loss, even if he’s not the same player at 31 years old. Ladarius Green might be too — Gates is a future Hall of Famer but the Chargers will regret re-signing him and letting Green go to Pittsburgh, considering Gates is 36 and Green is 26. Bosa was an interesting pick at No. 3, though defensive linemen generally need time to make an impact in the NFL. Grade: C+

    The Chargers were not a bad team in 2013 and 2014. Maybe 2015 was an outlier. The optimism obviously begins with Philip Rivers, but you can talk yourself into other reasons. Melvin Gordon could improve and add balance to the offense. The defense has some good corners and an intriguing set of linebackers. If Joey Bosa plays well enough to win defensive rookie of the year, there could be a big jump.

    The Chargers didn’t do anything well last year but throw the ball. They were 32nd in yards per rush, 28th in yards per pass play allowed and 30th in yards per rush allowed. Football Outsiders ranked San Diego’s special teams No. 31, based on their DVOA per-play metric. And what if — turn away, Chargers fans — Philip Rivers goes down with an injury?

    I worried after a dip in 2012 that Philip Rivers might be slowing down. Nope. He has 13,556 yards and 92 touchdowns the past three seasons. Rivers signed a four-year extension last August. You’d have to guess he will still be effective in 2019, the final year of that deal. Rivers will turn 38 that season, which doesn’t seem too old for a quarterback anymore.

    Melvin Gordon is important for obvious reasons, but linebacker Melvin Ingram is a key figure for the Chargers too. He had a sack in each of the Chargers’ last five games last season, with 6.5 sacks in that span. He had 10 sacks in his 40 career games before that. Was the final stretch a breakout for the 2012 first-round pick or just a hot streak for a player who had 1.5 sacks in San Diego’s first seven games last season? Ingram came to camp in great shape last year, finally stayed healthy and the production followed. He was strong against the run, too. The Chargers need Ingram to pick up right where he left off.

    “What you focus on when you watch guys run is how they handle tight spots, confined space, how they handle quick penetration. And Melvin Gordon got stuck with that … He has to learn that in the NFL that you can’t stop your feet, you have to hit the point and get what’s there. And the 2-yard runs, over time, they lead to the longer runs. Every run is not a 30-yard run. He has to learn you can’t stop your feet, and you have to attack.”

    From Yahoo’s Brad Evans: “Melvin Gordon is THE most undervalued running back in early drafts. I know what you’re thinking, ‘There goes Evans doing laps in a tequila-filled pool again! What a moron!!!’ But hear me out. Accepting that Gordon is a fantasy asset worth chasing off a year in which he averaged a despicable 3.5 yards per carry and did not score one measly TD is a tough pill to swallow, especially since he underwent microfracture surgery in January. However consider this, last year he ranked top-eight in tackles avoided per attempt and sported an 89.2 catch percentage, the third-highest mark among RBs. Plus, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco is clearly committed to Gordon. No substantive competition was signed this offseason. Crank the volume.

    “Yes, the offensive line couldn’t open a hole for a chihuahua last fall, but with several fresh faces it only has one direction to go. Mix in San Diego’s respectable pass game and 1,200-1,300 total yards with 6-8 TDs isn’t an agave-influenced prediction for the sophomore. People are nimrods for letting him slip past guys like T.J. Yeldon, Ameer Abdullah and Charles Sims. At this price (84.3 ADP, RB32) buy low.” (Read even more about Evans’ love for Gordon here.)

    Keenan Allen had 67 catches, 725 yards and four touchdowns last season. He ranked 41st in receptions last season and 51st in yards. Not bad considering he played just seven-and-a-half games. Allen suffered a lacerated kidney in the first half of San Diego’s eighth game. It’s dangerous to just double Allen’s half-season stats and project him to do that in 2016 if he stays healthy, but he’s in line for a huge season if he can avoid injuries.

    DOES THE UNCERTAINTY ABOUT A MOVE AFFECT THEM?

    The Chargers acted like last year’s home finale might be their last game in San Diego, and it was emotional for many of them. As it turned out the Chargers will return for at least another year, but the stadium initiative still has a long way to go. That uncertainty has to affect the players to some degree, not knowing if they’ll be living and working in San Diego or Los Angeles beyond this season. There have been eight NFL teams to relocate since 1960. None of them made the playoffs the year before relocation and only one had a winning season:

    1981 Oakland Raiders, 7-9

    1983 Baltimore Colts, 7-9

    1987 St. Louis Cardinals, 7-8

    1994 Los Angeles Rams, 4-12

    1994 Los Angeles Raiders, 9-7

    1995 Cleveland Browns, 5-11

    1996 Houston Oilers, 8-8

    2015 St. Louis Rams, 7-9

    That might not mean too much, because it’s a small sample and it’s hard to determine how much the potential move was a reason for each team’s record. It’s not like the uncertainty about a move is the main reason the 1994 Rams were terrible. But you can understand why there would be a cause and effect, at least a little bit. For a team like the Chargers, already coming off a bad season, the additional distraction won’t help.

    In January of 2014 the Chargers won a road playoff game at Cincinnati and nearly won at Denver a week later. In the 2014 regular-season finale, the Chargers lost at Kansas City when a win would have put them in the playoffs. They have had good seasons under Mike McCoy. Maybe, after a down year, the Chargers could be in playoff contention again. A lot of things would have to go right, but with some better injury luck and a great season by Philip Rivers, it’s possible.

    It’s not like the Chargers were unlucky last season. They won one game all year by more than six points (against a flailing Miami team on Dec. 20). Three of their wins were by a combined 14 points. If the run game is bad, the defense doesn’t make any improvements — and maybe even slips without Eric Weddle’s leadership — and the special teams aren’t good again, Philip Rivers won’t be able to do enough to save Mike McCoy’s job.

    The AFC West is tough, and the Chargers look like the obvious pick to finish last. Yet, it’s not crazy to think San Diego turns it all back around to 2013-14 levels. Philip Rivers is that good. But a lot of things have to fall into place, and it looks like another rough year for the Chargers.

    32. Cleveland Browns
    31. San Francisco 49ers
    30. Tennessee Titans

    – – – – – – –

    Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!
    Follow @YahooSchwab
     
  2. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    Offseason rankings are about as useful as a solar powered flashlight.
     
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  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Depends on the battery storage technology used. ;)
     
  4. Chaincrusher

    Chaincrusher BoltTalker

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    The #29 preseason ranking is probably pretty accurate. I think one could reasonably quibble about us being called a bottom 5 team, but only a complete homer, an idiot or both would think for a moment that we are any better than a bottom 10 team.

    The article presents a very reasonable take concerning the current state of the team. There may be room to take small issue with a point here or there, but overall it seems pretty spot on.
     
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  5. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    I thought about that but couldn't come up with a different analogy in a hurry.
     
  6. Pointyearedog

    Pointyearedog I only put idiots on ignore...

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    Ratings don't mean crap.
     
  7. Chaincrusher

    Chaincrusher BoltTalker

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    True, but the team being crap does mean crap.
     
  8. ThunderHorse17

    ThunderHorse17 Lone Wolf

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    Screen door on a submarine....

    U must b gettin old that's from ur Era too lol.
     
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  9. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    29th seems just a tad pessimistic to me. Sure, if they suffer another slew of injuries to key players, then it makes sense, but otherwise, not so much.

    One year does not a trend make. You are what your record says you are, but everyone starts out 0-0 in the 2016 season. We have no idea what anyone will do this year, and that includes the "better" teams. The NFL is the one league where teams can go from last to first in their division in a single year. It happens much too often to ignore as a fluke.

    What do the Chargers need to be successful?.... Better line play on both sides of the ball, and better luck with injuries. Basically, that's it. Rivers will be his usual self as long as he gets protection, and the defense will hold up if the D-line does it job. There are enough playmakers on the team to win games as long as they don't lose the battle in the trenches. It ain't rocket science.

    I also don't think it can be overstated how poor a job Reich did as the OC. Having Whiz back with the team should pay immediate dividends.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
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  10. Chaincrusher

    Chaincrusher BoltTalker

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    I have no issue with the assertion that #29 is a "tad" pessimistic. Like I said, I could see the team being a bottom 10 team, but not a bottom 5 team, especially playing a last place schedule.

    That said, of course, most of us remember instances like 2004 when the team was predicted to be bad and ended up being very good. That kind of thing happens on occasion, but to expect that sort of thing from this year's team is overly optimistic to me. Usually, the analysts' predictions are reasonably close and there is nothing that hints that we are in for a surprise.

    If anything, it looks like the Raiders have increased their advantage over us this offseason, while the Broncos and Chiefs remain good. Unless we manage a win over Sanchez led Denver, I don't see a divisional win this year for us.

    The team has some major shortcomings. Most of a bad OL returns for this year. The 3-4 DE opposite Liuget is an undersized rookie. Te'o still misses tackles and lacks athleticism. The secondary is clearly downgraded with the loss of Weddle and Patrick Robinson. Unless Mager steps forward, we are looking at either a slow CB (Flowers, Hayward) or an unproven CB (S. Williams) starting opposite Verrett. The FS replacing Weddle will be slower as well (unless it is Mager). Gordon has not impressed at RB (indecisive, not all that fast, fumble issues). Henry is wildly overrated at TE (not even a dominant college player), effectively leaving us with an aging Gates as the only receiving threat at TE. There are lots of parts that just aren't very good.

    While I agree that Whiz is a better play caller than Reich, the biggest issue by far is the lack of talent throughout most of the roster. The talent level is as low as it has been since 2003.
     
  11. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Actually, most analysts' prediction are about as accurate as most reasonably informed fans. Most national sports writers don't have in-depth knowledge of teams that are outside their immediate geographic area. Notice, that Schwab's article completely ignored the addition of Whiz to the team. That's a major oversight. He brought up some fairly irrelevant facts, but ignored a pretty significant one. The offense's numbers under Whizenhunt's scheme should've been taken into consideration.

    But in the end, different people evaluated talent differently. You think that the overall roster talent is worse than it's been in some time, whereas I see it as more or less average for the team's recent history.
     
  12. Chaincrusher

    Chaincrusher BoltTalker

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    My view is that the analysts are typically somewhat more accurate in their takes than most reasonably well informed fans specifically because they have broader knowledge than most fans, who primarily follow just one team.

    The author was not trying to consider every possible issue. There were numerous players/positions that he did not address. But he was pretty accurate with respect to what he did address, though I agree that Whiz is an upgrade for us at OC.

    And, yes, I do think the roster is pretty short on what I would call clearly good players. There will definitely be a chance for some unknowns to make their mark. Hopefully a couple of them can do just that and make the team better overall than what it appears to be at this time.
     
  13. Lance19

    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    It's kind of a trade-off:
    On one hand, I pay attention to the overall world of analysts/pundits,
    because they are generally less biased/prejudicial than local fans,
    who tend to view their own team very, very hopefully.
    It's kind of like Rotten Tomatoes: I don't take any one "expert"
    all that seriously, but when there's a fairly strong consensus, though,
    amongst dozens and dozens, that, say, the Browns look horrible again this year...
    that big picture is usually more detached and accurate than partisan fans.

    That said, I have no illusion that most of these guys know as much about
    the Chargers as I do. I've seen virtually every snap since Alworth was on the team...
    and obsess on every little transaction and injury...
    whereas these guys are trying to sound "expert" on 32 teams...
    and if that wasn't weak enough, most of that attention is, of course on the contenders
    (we're under the radar there!!), and East Coast teams regardless of whether,
    say, the Giants are any good. So the Chargers are probably getting about 1/50
    or 1/70 of the typical analyst's attention. If that.

    Though I'm a homer, I'm pretty good about listening more to the chorus of
    non-San Diegans, when it comes to assessing the teams chances each season.

    29th? That seems a little low to me...a slight overreaction to one bad,
    injury-riddled year. But the roster is similar enough to that 4-12 team
    that 6-10 or 7-9 are the highest I'd go if wagering. :(
    I do think they have a puncher's chance of surprising people:
    Rivers is still Rivers...most bad or mediocre teams don't have a talent like
    that at the most important position. I think Melvin Gordon has more potential
    than a lot of others are saying...Woodhead is always a wildcard...Gates probably has
    one good season still in him...we all know Keenan could have a massive year...
    lots of ifs. If Travis Benjamin is a good fit with PR...
    hell, this offense could put up a ton of points.
    The defense, however, is a black box at this point. :tdown:
     
  14. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    PFF has our O-line ranked as the 29th as well, so at least these pundits are consistent. ;)

    29. San Diego Chargers
    Projected starters: LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin, C Matt Slauson, RG D.J. Fluker, RT Joe Barksdale

    Roster depth: Trevor Robinson, Chris Hairston, Max Tuerk

    Key stat: Last season, the San Diego offensive line recorded a pass-blocking efficiency of 67.6, the worst mark in the league.

    The Chargers’ offensive line has a reputation for everyone being hurt, which seemed to be true last year. Joe Barksdale was the only O-lineman to play 1,100 or more snaps, and was also the only one with an above-average grade. Dunlap, Franklin, and Fluker all missed some time last year, and all played a bit worse than they had in previous seasons. If all of them can be healthy and return to their old form, this line—with the addition of Matt Slauson (Bears) at center—could actually be very good. If they play more like they did last season, or if they continue to see a lot of injuries, it will be another long year for the offense.
     
  15. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    And PFF dropped us one spot for the defensive line.....

    30. San Diego Chargers
    Projected starters: DE Corey Liuget, NT Brandon Mebane, DE Joey Bosa; OLB Melvin Ingram, OLB Jerry Attaochu; ILB Manti Te’o, ILB Denzel Perryman

    Other names to know: DE Darius Philon, DE Sean Lissemore; OLB Kyle Emanuel; ILB Joshua Perry

    Key stat: The Chargers allowed 5.27 yards per carry in sub-package defenses last season, the third-worst mark int he NFL.

    The Chargers’ defensive line was a disaster last season, with only Corey Liuget’s run defense offering any crumb of comfort for a unit that couldn’t affect opposing offenses against the run or pass. The spark of optimism for the Chargers, outside of first-round pick Joey Bosa (Ohio State), comes off the ball, where a healthy Melvin Ingram proved his ability with a fine season as a pass-rusher opposite the impressive Jerry Attaochu. Paired with Denzel Perryman’s impressive rookie season as a run defender, the Chargers have some pieces in place for improvement in their front-seven this season but there is still a big disparity between the best and worst players in their defensive front.
     
  16. Pointyearedog

    Pointyearedog I only put idiots on ignore...

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    You mean the Bolts have the worst players in the Defense front 7?
     
  17. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I believe there are 32 teams in the league.... at last count, anyway. ;)
     
  18. Pointyearedog

    Pointyearedog I only put idiots on ignore...

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    Then how can our defense be the worst if they are ranked at 29 or 30? And who is 31 and 32?
     
  19. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Who said they were the worst?..... certainly not I. ;)

    3rd worst, according to Pro Football Focus. Bringing up the rear are the Bucs (31) and the Browns (32).
     
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  20. Chaincrusher

    Chaincrusher BoltTalker

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    Again, this is a very reasonable breakdown of our front 7. Liuget was a solid, but not exceptional run stuffer. Mebane was stout as a 4-3 DT, but there is a question regarding whether he will be as effective at NT when the team plays a 3-4 because he does not have traditional NT size. Similarly, Bosa was stout against the run in college, but he now faces faces bigger, faster, better OL players and will be asked to play some 3-4 DE where he will be small.

    The concern is that these smaller, not so stout DL players will wear down over the course of games and tend to wear down over the course of a season.

    At LB, Ingram and Attaochu are both better versus the pass than they are the run. Ingram is average against the run and Attaochu might be average at best versus the run. Te'o is far below average versus the run at ILB. On the positive side of things, Perryman is a rock solid plus defender against the run and Perry has potential.

    Overall, though, it isn't too difficult to see how this front seven might get blasted all over the field based upon simple lack of size/strength, especially in hybrid defensive formations.
     

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