Three Things the Chargers MUST Do To Compete in 2016

Getting a little spiritual help would not be a bad idea, but there's more

I know, this is almost too obvious of a pun but … it’s probably going to take a miracle for the Chargers to get enough votes to pass their citizens’ initiative and/or make the playoffs in 2016. So it was not a bad idea for them to ask for a little Divine Intervention.

A group of Sisters from Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist were at Chargers Park for practice on Friday. They are in San Diego to work with children and were guests of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (although since they’re from Ann Arbor, MI, they were a little more excited to meet Detroit’s own Antonio Gates).

For the Bolts to compete on the field this year … and by compete I mean be in position to earn a post-season spot at the end of the regular season … a little help from above would be nice. But there are a few other things they can actually control that might be even more important. Of course some of them are easy like protecting Philip Rivers and improving a run defense that was one of the worst in the NFL last year.

The things I’m talking about are less obvious. Here are the top three:

1)    Rule On Special Teams

The Chargers, according to statistical analysts at FootballOutsiders, had the 2nd-worst special teams unit in 2015. They really didn’t do anything all that well. Losing Mike Scifres and drafting rookie Drew Kaser is a gamble but even more important than replacing one of the best punters in the game is covering the punts when they’re in the air. Ditto kickoffs. The Chargers coverage units were not good and their returners were even worse. A new group of athletic youngsters like Jatavis Brown will help on coverage but the key is going to be kicker Josh Lambo. The Bolts lost too many close games they need the 2nd-year man to improve on his field goal and extra point accuracy. However, Lambo offers another potential advantage. With touchbacks being moved to the 25 yard line teams will be trying to kick the ball short of the goal line on purpose to force a return. Lambo is a former soccer player who has shown the ability to put a lot more loft on the ball than other kickers. If he’s able to get hang time off the tee and give his coverage unit a chance to get down the field the Chargers could very well have a nice weapon in the field position battle.

2)    Let Your Hair Down And Take Some Chances

Head coach Mike McCoy is not one to take chances. If the Chargers are going to have any success this year he’s going to have to take the shackles off his team and let his playmakers make plays. Last year in Jacksonville the Chargers faced a 4th and 7 and went for it. Philip Rivers got the first down and the Bolts held on to win. Last year in Cincinnati the Chargers let the Bengals punter stand on the field at the end of the first half without having to even snap the ball because McCoy was scared about what MIGHT have happened. The Chargers lost by one possession. McCoy needs to do a whole lot more of the former and a whole lot less of the latter if his team is going to develop any kind of swagger or identity.

3)    Start Fast and Don’t Take Your Foot Off The Accelerator

Playing off that last point, McCoy for some reason doesn’t like putting teams away. In the three years he’s been a head coach he’s built early leads and then gone in to a more conservative, ball control kind of offense and it usually does not end well. Returning offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is the exact opposite. He’s aggressive and when he has somebody down he wants to kick them. Hard. Repeatedly. With Whisenhunt’s ability to game plan and get points early the Bolts will very likely be in position to play with some leads. The best way to do that is to extend those leads instead of protecting them.

Contact Us