The 2021 season is in the books and these last few weeks, we've checked in with a few of the team's beat writers, along with fellow team reporter Chris Hayre and yours truly, to take a look back and a look ahead for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Here's what we covered:
We conclude with the picks for the position or unit to watch in 2022.
2022 Position or Unit to Watch
"When I went back and looked through this season to come up with an answer for what happened here, the Chargers were top-five in every single statistical category offensively…however you look at it, this was one of the best offenses in football. Defensively they were [not good.] They could not get off the field on third down, a lot of that was run defense. They weren't good enough in coverage, they didn't get enough pass rush … They need talent defensively, so it needs to be a full-fledged investment on that side of the ball so [head coach] Brandon Staley's scheme can come to life and actually express itself, to use his own term … That's where the focus has to be. It's adding defensive linemen, it's adding an edge rusher, it's adding a nickel corner, it's adding safety depth … That's how this team makes the playoffs next year, it's by improving significantly on defensive and maintaining this level of offense. That's the recipe." – Daniel Popper, The Athletic
Right Tackle/Offensive Line
"The Chargers have 60% of a really good offensive line right now. At center, we know how good Corey Linsley is [and] the left side with Matt Feiler and Rashawn [Slater.] That's the base of what could be a really good offensive line. Now the right side, if they could get a couple pieces, they could be one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. I've covered the team for four years and offensive line has always been an issue until they got a lot better this year. I'm gonna say right tackle, and I think if they could get somebody to man that spot. [If they get] a right tackle who is a legit, top-line right tackle, all of a sudden, that offensive line [would be even better.] Just imagine Justin Herbert with a little more time and what he could do." – Jeff Miller, LA Times
Bolstering the Run Game
"Austin Ekeler shouldered a very heavy load for the ground game this year and [general manager] Tom Telesco mentioned that he shouldn't have to, they should be able to rotate other guys in. You kind of saw this unit growing and developing as the season went on. Justin Jackson obviously got going; we've all seen it, when he's healthy, he's capable of really being that guy to shoulder that load and really take that run game on. But I'm looking for the Chargers to find consistency there because it was very inconsistent this season. What's a quarterback's best friend? A good run game. It can open up a lot. Being able to shore up the run game - and it definitely parlays into the offensive line and production there - but being able to find that No. 2, that guy who can complement Austin can help them become more of a complete offense. We know what Justin Herbert can do, but this will help make them more well-rounded." – Hayley Elwood
Take a look at the best photos from the Chargers 2021 campaign through the lens of team photographer, Mike Nowak, manager of photography, Ty Nowell, and gameday photographer, Travis Ellison.
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