The Los Angeles Chargers had more than enough talent to make the playoffs last season, but the team kept shooting itself in the foot, finishing with a 7-9 record.
Brandon Staley's arrival as head coach brought new hope to the franchise, which saw rookie quarterback Justin Herbert explode in his rookie year. The Chargers will try to build off Herbert's rookie season to win the division for the first time since 2009.
Five strengths of the Los Angeles Chargers
#1 - Justin Herbert
Herbert had one of the most impressive seasons for a rookie quarterback ever, with 31 touchdowns and over 4,300 passing yards in 15 games. While it's almost impossible to compare anyone to Patrick Mahomes, the fact that Los Angeles has such a great quarterback on a rookie contract puts the Chargers in an excellent position to fight for the division.
#2 - Joey Bosa
As important as Herbert is to the offense, Bosa's ability to rush the passer is one of the Chargers' greatest strengths. He's been a First-Team All-Pro the last two seasons and the main man on the Los Angeles defense since he was picked third overall in 2016. With Melvin Ingram now gone, Bosa is going to be even more valuable in 2021.
#3 - Revamped offensive line
Although their offensive line wasn't exactly bad in 2021, the Chargers recognized that a smart move this offseason would be to focus on protecting Herbert.
Along with Brian Bulaga, this group has the potential to be one of the best in the league.
#4 - Keenan Allen
Allen has long been one of the most underrated receivers in the league and, since his health doesn't seem to be a major issue anymore, he's definitely one of the strengths of this team. He's had three straight 1,000-yard seasons. and in 2020, he accumulated 992 yards in 14 games.
#5 - Brandon Staley
Staley's hiring felt an odd choice back in January since he comes from a defensive background and the main focus this offseason was to develop Herbert. But the early signs coming from the franchise are positive and, most importantly, he's not Anthony Lynn. Staley's a plus on this Chargers side.
Five weaknesses of the Los Angeles Chargers
#1 - EDGE depth
Bosa is an elite player, but take him away and you have a really hard time figuring out who's going to rush the passer for the Chargers this season. Nwosu, the other starting EDGE, is at best an average talent, and there's not much young talent at the position to be excited about.
#2 - Secondary depth
The same can be said about the secondary, which desperately needs Asante Samuel Jr. to be a major factor in his rookie season. On paper, it's a skilled group, but injuries - hello, Derwin James - and age - hello, Chris Harris Jr. - can be a major problem in 2021, as the talent on the secondary isn't really deep.
#3 - Receiver depth
You can't always get what you want, according to The Rolling Stones, but for the Chargers, a little more receiver depth would do wonders for the offense, especially with Mike Williams not being the elite player they hoped for when he was drafted seventh overall in 2017.
If Allen goes down for the season, the wide receiver group will be a major liability for the team.
#4 - Linebackers
Once again, the Chargers need a little bit of luck here. Kenneth Murray and Drue Tranquill make an above-average duo, but the pair are still relatively inexperienced and Tranquill is coming back from an injury that kept him out for the entire 2020 season. There's talent in the position, but there are so many question marks.
#5 - Interior defensive line
Linval Joseph wasn't a major factor in 2020 and Jerry Tillery hasn't developed the way the Chargers would've hoped when he was picked in the first round. Christian Covington, meanwhile, is a decent player.
A position that's already a liability could become an even bigger issue if one of the starters goes down.