The Chargers made major news this off-season when they choose to move from San Diego to Los Angeles. Now as they are getting set to start their first season at the Stub Hub Centre, we present reasons to jump on the Los Angeles Chargers bandwagon.
Jump on the Los Angeles Chargers Bandwagon
Unlike other teams that have been written about so far, the Chargers have had their franchise quarterback for quite some time. Philip Rivers was drafted fourth overall in the 2004 draft by the New York Giants, then traded to the San Diego Chargers after Eli Manning refused to play in San Diego. Rivers was picked over the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and DeAngelo Hall.
Rivers has been the ideal consistent quarterback in the NFL, having a career quarterback rating of 94.7, which is currently in the top 10 of NFL history. As he ages, Rivers continues to put up good stats year after year. With young talent all around him, Rivers should have a very successful 2017 season. He has never been the fastest player, but as a quarterback the main goal is to throw the ball and put the team into a position to win. Rivers has done that over and over. This could be the year Rivers finally makes a deep run in the playoffs.
Bruising Run Game
When the Chargers selected Melvin Gordon out of Wisconsin fifteenth overall in the 2015 draft, they saw him as their future at the position. The Chargers had not had a true workhorse back since LaDainian Tomlinson left the team. Gordon disappointed in his rookie season. He rushed for just 640 yards and did not score a touchdown. However, when Danny Woodhead went down early last season, Gordon stepped up in a big way. He ran for nearly 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The team expects even more from Gordon this season. They let Woodhead walk away and join the Baltimore Ravens. The 6’1″ Gordon ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at the 2015 Draft Combine. He will use that speed this season in Los Angeles. The Chargers also upgraded Gordon’s offensive line, adding second round draft pick Forrest Lamp. Their line is responsible for not only holes for Gordon, but also for blocking and protecting the aforementioned Rivers. It is Gordon’s time to step up in the City of Angels, and the evidence points to him doing just that.
Weapons on the Outside
Injuries have plagued the Chargers receiving core in the past years. They have hit star receiver Keenan Allen particularly hard. Allen most recently suffered a tear in his ACL week one of this past season. In 2015 he had a lacerated kidney. After not really showing what he can do for almost two years, Allen is back on the field for the Chargers OTAs.
Assuming Allen can remain healthy, Los Angeles also added wide receiver Mike Williams out of Clemson with their first round pick in this year’s draft. Williams is the ideal receiver in today’s NFL, coming in at 6’4″ tall and 218 pounds. His size, along with his 32.5 inch vertical, allows him to go up and get just about anything that Rivers throws his way. He also has the ability to fly by defenders, running a 4.53 40. He is very quick for his size. Williams should be a key part of Rivers’ arsenal next season.
Then there is the tight end situation. They have future hall of famer Antonio Gates who is on the wrong end of 30, but is still playing like he is in twenties. With his age though, he will most likely be just a red zone threat this season. That leads the Chargers to put their faith in a player that generated a lot of buzz last season, Hunter Henry. Henry is clearly the future replacement for Gates, and rightfully so. At 6’6″, Henry is the proper height for a tight end and proved it last year. He scored eight touchdowns last season in a limited role behind Gates. Double digit touchdowns should not be just a lofty goal, it should also be an expectation.
With all of these weapons, then add in Gordon out of the backfield, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin, the Chargers should one of the more explosive offenses in the NFL this season.
Who doesn’t like a team in a new, fresh city? Los Angeles is enriched deep in the heart of sports, with teams like the Lakers and the Dodgers each having long histories. The Chargers will move to LA and play in the stadium of the LA Galaxy, the local MLS team. That stadium fits only around 25,000 people and should a very different experience to watch a game than the typical NFL stadium. Once the Chargers’ permanent stadium is completed, they will share it with the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are currently using the Rose Bowl as their temporary base of operations.
While many fans are upset about the Chargers moving from San Diego, it is a smart move on their part. Los Angeles is a much bigger market. They will have a city rival similar to the New York Jets and Giants. It will be one of the more interesting storylines to follow for the 2017 season and beyond.
An up and coming defense with a young star
The Chargers achilles heel in past years has been their defense. They are trying to turn that around however. They went out and drafted Joey Bosa, a defensive end from Ohio State, with their first round pick and the third overall selection in the 2016 draft. After a contract dispute, Bosa finished his rookie campaign with double digit sacks, despite missing four games. He put together a great season that resulted in a defensive rookie of the year award.
On the outside, the Chargers have two shutdown corners in Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett. This is key considering Los Angeles plays in a division that features outside threats such as Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Demaryius Thomas and Tyreek Hill. The Chargers defense is very underrated. They should take a step forward again this season with Bosa leading the way.
They also brought in defensive guru Gus Bradley to be the defensive coordinator. Bradley’s last success was in Seattle, where he built what is today known as the “Legion of Boom.” If he could do something similar in Los Angeles, do not be surprised if the Chargers make a deep push into the playoffs.