The Chargers deserve to be respected

We all know over the last several years the AFC West division goes through Kansas City. But is it time for more people to start paying more attention to San Diego? The Chiefs have not looked quite as sharp as they have in the past, so the LA Chargers are looking like they want to strike when they have the chance. They are currently sitting at 6th in the NFL  for points scored. They have often been that team that many people overlook and never consider them to be a legitimate threat. The days of LT running amok and Junior Seau wreaking havoc across the NFL of many years past have been long gone, finishing with 8 or less wins in 4 of the last 6 seasons doesn’t bring a whole lot of faith. But as of late, it looks like more teams need to circle this team on the calendar as a high quality matchup to be concerned about.

They have a lot going on this team to give their fans a whole lot of hope. Last season they finished at only 7-9 but there was a lot of budding excitement building for their young 23 yr old QB, they won 4 straight in 2020 to wrap up the season. And this year they are looking to be ready to make the next step, right from the beginning. Justin Herbert has shown great poise with a big arm and great vision on the field. Herbert is 4th in passing yards, with 1576, and has a QB percentage completion rate, at 67.2% along with being 3rd in TD throws. He is passing at a higher level than last year, and last year he played at a high level with a 98.3 QB rating and had a 5.2% TD throw pct. He has been controlling the field with incredible vision, along with the courage to stand in the pocket, facing incoming fronts and shake them off to deliver darts on the field.

They have been able to overcome mistakes with great defensive effort – as they keep teams under their thumb, giving up just 23 /game this year. The Chargers have shown a real nose for playing hard D, and they have shown the ability to generate turnovers. They gave Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes fits when they caused 4 TOs in that game, and showed to have resiliency when behind, they haven’t shrunk when the lights come on.

They have speed on defense with Joey Bosa and Kyler Fackrell who have brought 4.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles between them. Along with rookie, Asante Samuel Jr. at DB, who has been a nice bonus with 2 picks and 5 passes defended. They haven’t been susceptible to much blown coverage, WRs aren’t finding huge holes on the field, and their outside pass rushers have been really good keeping QBs in the pocket as well. It looks to be all coming together for them.

Then we have Austin Ekeler. He has made the most with his new role as the true RB1 on the team, Ekeler has been exceptional as he follows his blockers when blazing through holes, as his 5.2 YPC is impressive, and having averaged 5 or more  yards/carry in 3 of 5 games this year. The 26 yr old RB has 194 receiving yards along with 349 rushing yards so far, they have found their guy in Ekeler. He has a wicked jump cut, with the slick ability to be able to bounce around like a ping pong ball when LBs are closing in on him.

It’s 2021, the Chargers appear that they have turned the corner. It is time to look at them as being potential postseason noisemakers, and place them into the upper level of teams. If you are expecting them to falter and self implode – you may be disappointed. I think Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers have arrived.

Five Coaches on the Hot Seat

The NFL is unique in so many ways and the leash that is afforded coaches is unlike any we see in most of the other professional or even college ranks. Basketball coaches typically receive three seasons (or at least two) to get things back in place unless the results are brutal. Major League Baseball is usually at least two. The NFL is an entirely different animal though as we have seen in recent years with the examples being one and dones Steve Wilks in Arizona and Jim Tomzula in San Francisco. Hell, the Chargers fired Marty Schottenheimer in 2006 after he went 14-2.


Today, I want to take a look at the top five NFL coaches who are feeling the heat this season from most likely to be “relieved” of their duties to the least likely.

1-Dan Quinn-Atlanta Falcons

You want to talk about toeing the line, Quinn might be standing on it. The Falcons have a very good quarterback and have surrounded him with weapons in recent seasons but it is always something. They either turn the ball over in the RedZone or don’t get the ball to Julio Jones enough. On the defensive side of the ball they seem to rarely ever stop anyone and this season they let Vic Beasley walk. The Falcons are now three seasons removed from the greatest Super Bowl collapse in history and two seasons removed from their last playoff appearance. Owner Arthur Blank is not going to want to waste his window with Ryan/Gurley/Jones/Ridley for more than one more season.

2-Pat Shurmur-New York Giants

Being from New England, I know a lot of Giants fans and they aren’t happy. Shurmur is 9-23 in two seasons with the Giants and is riding superstar Saquon Barkley into the ground. After the disaster that was the Ben McAdoo era, you have to think that the Giants are ready to make a splash and Shurmur cannot lean on his resume’ for any more leash as his career record coaching record is 19-46.

3-Zac Taylor-Cincinnati Bengals

This one is probably not fair but life isn’t fair and it’s even less fair in the NFL. The one saving grace here is that the Bengals have not been typically quick on the trigger historically. Only Sam Wyche, their first coach, received two seasons or fewer but if the Bengals go 2-14 or 3-13 this season, Taylor is going to be sweating.


4-Doug Marrone-Jacksonville Jaguars

The once-promising window for the Jaguars has been slammed shut over the last two seasons and a 11-21 record leading to two last-place division finishes. This offseason, the organization has shaken up its coaching staff, front office, and scouting department. They have also moved on from Nick Foles to Gardner Minshew and parted with Calais Campbell in the offseason after trading Jalen Ramsey during the season. The winds of change are blowing in Jacksonville and Doug Marrone might swept away if the Jags aren’t able to find a rhythm that led to a first place finish in 2017.

5-Anthony Lynn-Los Angeles Chargers

If you have been reading any of my preseason wagers and projections you already know, I am not an Anthony Lynn fan. If you have watched Chargers games in recent seasons you already know, every game is an adventure with at least one “what the?” call coming from the Chargers sideline and Phillip Rivers absolutely losing his mind about something. Well, Rivers and his Hall of Fame career are now gone and it could get ugly in a hurry. My guess is that unless this team signs Cam Newton or Jameis Winston as a stop-gap, they are going to be one of the three worst in the NFL and Lynn will be gone.


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The most disappointing NFL Teams of 2019

There are a lot of teams that I could go with. The Los Angeles Chargers, the over-hyped Cleveland Browns, or the high expectation of the Dallas Cowboys.
But the team that I have to choose are the LA Rams. LA had some really high expectations as the reigning NFC champs. Then the Rams won just 3 of their first 6 games. Losing a shootout to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 55-40. The Buccaneers – a team with a QB who seems to love throwing the ball to the other team, as much as put TDs on the boards. With all of awesome talent they have on this team – I’m honestly not sure how that’s even possible. They seemed to only win the games they should win – vs the middling to bad teams this season.

The Rams returned this season with the core of guys from last season’s Super Bowl team – and returning to the big game, was surely their thought. But, the Rams not only failed to repeat a strong campaign, but they missed the playoffs. The Rams took a great big step forward in 2018, going 12-4 and getting to the Bowl – most saw them as being the team to beat in the NFC again this year. Then they started tumbling after their 3 game skid in late Sept to early October, where they just never seemed to get it back together.

Todd Gurley’s 2019 year, was far from being the player that we saw over the last few seasons. He put up just 57 YDs/game to last years 89 YDs/game – and only 31 receptions to last seasons 59 catches. His touches went way down – something was just not right with #30 this season – and we all witnessed it. QB Jared Goff was not sharp – passing inconsistency has been a key all year – his passing TD% of throws was the lowest since his rookie season in 2016 – he struggled in many ways to play like last year’s guy.
It felt like LA would make the final push for a ring in 2019. After such a great season in 2018 – nothing about the team really seemed to fire on all cylinders this year. Their rushing D was poor, their offense was shaky, and their Oline was just tolerable.
There was a lot more expected of the defense especially when they have Aaron Donald, Dante Fowler’s season, bringing in Clay Matthews, and then bringing in Jalen Ramsey. Donald was his usual dominant self – maybe not the ginormous wrecking ball that we saw last year – but he was excellent still. Ramsey brought a shutdown kind of play on the field and Fowler was all over the field in his best season ever. But, they still weren’t able to make the plays when needed, or stop teams from pounding the rock on the ground over and over.

They were expected to be far better than just going 9-7, that’s for sure – it is truly mystifying how the Rams have fallen since their Super Bowl.
It goes to show how fast things can turn around for any team, in a short while.