We are basically two months into the 2017 fiscal year for the National Football League. It’s safe to say we have seen plenty of player movement via free agency and trades. And in late April, a total of 253 players were selected in the NFL draft. So as teams get ready for mini-camps and OTAs, we figured it was a good time to have some fun looking (and learning) at the significant numbers – both in regards to the past and the present – for each of the 32 franchises. You can play catch-up by clicking here. Now it’s time to check out the Los Angeles Chargers.
During Mike McCoy’s first season as head coach of the Bolts, the team opened 5-7. But the Chargers closed the year for four straight wins and captured a wild card berth. They surprised the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the Denver Broncos one week later. In ’14, McCoy and company once again finished 9-7 but it wasn’t good enough to land a postseason berth. Now there have been a combined nine wins these past two seasons and there’s plenty of blame to go around. And now Anthony Lynn has replaced McCoy as the team’s latest sideline leader.
Mistakes were a big theme of the Chargers’ 5-11 showing in 2016. The led the league with 35 turnovers, which basically offset the fact that the club ranked among the NFL leaders with 28 takeaways. One year earlier, the team forced eight fewer turnovers (20) but this same club also had 11 fewer miscues of their own (24). One positive when it came to the Bolts was Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward, who led the league with seven interceptions. Now enter new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who has not only Hayward but 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at his disposal. Can the club do better than those 28 takeaways in ’17?
On the down side, veteran quarterback Philip Rivers suffered through an erratic season. Yes, the 13-year pro completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 4,386 yards and a robust 33 scores. But he also totaled 26 of those aforementioned 35 turnovers. Rivers threw 21 interceptions and lost five of his nine fumbles. Perhaps the team can take some pressure off their team leader by getting the ball to running back Melvin Gordon more often. In his second season, he rolled up 1,416 yards from scrimmage and a dozen touchdowns before going down with three games to go. By the way, the Chargers finished 26th in the league in rushing yards per game.