Surprising or disappointing? The Chargers made the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Surprising? The Chargers spent the most money they ever had in free agency preparing for a massive season. Disappointing?
It is an opinionated question that depends on your viewpoint that is based on your expectations at the beginning of the season. For me, the Chargers making the playoffs for the first time in four years with an injury-riddled team is very impressive.
The Chargers were 6-6 and stuck in mediocrity. Superstars Joey Bosa, Mike Williams, Rashawn Slater, and JC Jackson were all injured and would go on to play less than 10 combined games the rest of the season. How could they make the playoffs? Perseverance.
The Chargers went on a four-game winning streak to clinch a playoff spot before their final regular season game. They were hot. It continued into their playoff game as they started with a 28-0 lead. Of course, they went on to lose one of the most embarrassing games in NFL history, but being in that game shows the growth this franchise has made.
Now, the 2022 season is over for your Los Angeles Chargers. It is time for the Chargers to start thinking about the improvements needed to take that next step. And they have already started. Only 72 hours after their 28-0 collapse in the wild-card game, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was fired. It was a decision Chargers fans have been begging for months, but a little too late. Joe Lombardi’s offense scored three points in the 2nd half against the Jaguars, a pathetic performance that completely warrants his quick canning.
What’s next? The Chargers have six months to evaluate their roster and examine what needs to be done. The NFL draft from April 27-29, the beginning of the trading period on March 15, and the beginning of free agency on March 15. The key dates to look forward to in the long offseason.
The first official day of the 2023 season is March 15. The end of the 2022 season and the beginning of the 2023 season. The day teams can start trading with teams and signing free agents. The first day when teams can seriously start improving their roster.
The NFL draft. The three-day event where NFL teams finally get to choose the players they spent months studying. The Chargers have seven rounds to select their favorite players out of thousands in college football.
We are ways away from when the Chargers can begin taking the next steps. As we are less than two months away, let’s start talking about possible targets. The Chargers finished 27th in the NFL in opponent rushing yards per game, allowing a whopping 145 rushing yards per game to opposing teams.
Let’s start there. Recently-appointed starter Breiden Fehoko finished the 2022 season with zero sacks and a measly 10 tackles. That is certainly a position the Chargers should and will start to look to upgrade in 2023. A possible target is free-agent defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. On offense, Star QB Justin Herbert usually threw to backup wide receivers in 2022.
Aging wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have proven to be injury-prone, and being sidelined isn’t unusual for them. This is another position of need, and I would like the Chargers to look into the NFL draft for this. Jordan Addison from USC is an intriguing option.
The Chargers will have a lot of questions to answer following their blowout loss against the Jaguars, especially regarding the underwhelming play of recently-signed superstars.