With just three days until the Los Angeles Chargers kick off their 2017 NFL preseason against the Seattle Seahawks, the team has released its first unofficial depth chart for this upcoming season.
The depth chart is not filled with any major surprises except for the fact that rookie guard Dan Feeney is not currently with the first team. However, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see him grab the starting position before Week 1 of the regular season.
Moreover, quarterback Kellen Clemens got the nod over quarterback Cardale Jones, who the Chargers just traded for and was a fourth round pick in 2016.
The two rookies he spoke highly of were Chargers guards Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp. Slauson mentioned that he was “really impressed” and they were “playing at a level that’s beyond what you see rookies play at.”
Despite being second and third round draft picks, Feeney and Lamp seem to be playing like veterans. Usually, when rookies see an exotic blitz scheme they make mistakes, but both rookies have “been on it since they got here.”
Also, it is easy to “see football instincts in them,” which is another characteristic of a veteran and not a rookie.
Overall, Los Angeles needs to protect aging Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, and it seems like they found two great pieces to do that for now and in the future.
The Los Angeles Chargers had a disappointing 2016 season winning only five games, but things are starting to look up after an impressive 2017 NFL draft, the hiring of a stout coaching staff and the return to health for several players.
Here are three reasons why the Chargers will bounce back in 2017 and win the AFC West.
No. 3, Philip Rivers finally has weapons
As mentioned above, Los Angeles had an impressive draft bringing in talent at positions of need.
For example, the offensive line was a revolving door resulting in Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers being sandwiched every Sunday.
In this year’s draft, Los Angeles brought in guards Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp. One of them can play at right guard and the other can be moved over to center or just add depth to the line.
Chargers tackle Russell Okung is solid on the left side (73.1 PFF player grade) and guard Matt Slauson is an impressive left guard (81.2 PFF player grade).
Chargers right tackle Joe Barksdale had a rough 2016, but should be expected to bounce back to his old form, for he had PFF player grades of 81.6, 75.2, and 81.8 in the three seasons before 2016.
Without a doubt, the Chargers’ offensive line will be improved. If the rookies make a quick transition, it could even become a strength of the team.
In regards to the skill positions, Los Angeles will add rookie wide receiver Mike Williams and healthy wide receiver Keenan Allen to pair with breakthrough wide receiver Tyrell Williams.
Rivers now has three great targets at wide receiver, two great targets at tight end, Chargers tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry, and solid running back Melvin Gordon.
For the first time in a while, Los Angeles has all the weapons on the outside along with the needed protection on the inside to successfully utilize all of their future hall of fame quarterback’s skills and make this a top offense in the NFL.
With the NFL offseason nearing its halfway point and rosters mostly fleshed out across the league, it’s time to begin examining the upcoming 2017 campaign for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco did an impeccable job at bringing in young talent through at the 2017 NFL draft Philadelphia, however, some difficult questions remain for this Bolts squad.
Here are the four biggest causes for concern for L.A. heading into the new season.
No. 1, Toughest division, schedule in football
The Chargers play in the NFL’s toughest division in the AFC West, and will have the most difficult strength of schedule through the season’s first eight games of the season.
Los Angeles is a better football team than one season ago, however, there’s no guarantee that they win more than five games again in 2017 by virtue of schedule strength alone.
Outside of the division, the Chargers will face the New York Giants, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins.
All told, the Chargers will play eight playoff teams from one year ago, and 11 playoff-caliber teams (if one includes Washington and Denver in the mix), which could result in some tough stretches for the Bolts this fall.
After boasting one of the better NFL draft classes in 2017, some Los Angeles Chargers veterans may find themselves in a fight to keep their roles if patterns don’t change this season.
As such, here’s a look at three L.A. veterans that must step up in order to keep their roles on the Bolts moving forward.
No. 3, Keenan Allen, WR
There is no denying Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen’s ample skill set, however, he has struggled mightily to stay healthy over the last two seasons playing in just nine games during said span.
Allen is coming off of a torn ACL one year after suffering a scary kidney injury that ended his previous campaign.
Additions such as Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams and promising receivers Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman making strides forward, Allen must remain healthy and hope for a return to form in order to lock down his role with the Bolts long-term.