There is so much to comment on about Sunday’s game.
Let’s start with the unfortunate.
Melvin Gordon is a really good NFL running back. And after leaving Sunday’s game early with what we now know to be a hip strain and a left knee strain, he has 997 yards rushing. Despite being listed as “day to day,” it makes sense to shut him down. The Chargers are not going to the playoffs this season (despite being technically alive). And a healthy Gordon is more important to the Chargers in 2017 than he is for the rest of this season.
However, I wish the Chargers hadn’t traded up to get him. As I’ll discuss later, the Chargers need to devote early draft picks to upgrading a particular team unit. Gordon would almost certainly have been available at the Chargers’ own draft slot (#17), but Tom Telesco panicked and traded away two draft picks to move up two slots to draft Gordon with the 15th pick. Trading up rarely works out for the team that moves up.
…and on to the bad…
The Chargers have the 4th highest scoring offense in the NFL at 26.9 points per game. But despite being tied with Kansas City for the NFL lead in takeaways with 25, the Chargers also lead the NFL in giveaways with 30. Their -5 differential is tied for 23rd, which is not coincidentally about where their winning percentage ranks.
Philip Rivers had a game he would like to forget, giving the ball to Carolina five times (two fumbles lost and three interceptions). The fumbles were on sacks as the Chargers gave up five of them. They need to devote serious efforts and resources to upgrading the offensive line this coming offseason, particularly the tackle positions (unfortunately this draft is a weak one with regards to OT quality and depth).
Another reason why Philip is struggling, specifically with interceptions, is his lack of familiarity with his receivers. Other than Antonio Gates and partial years with practice squad veterans Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman, no other Charger who had a ball thrown his way Sunday was with the squad prior to this offseason.
Joey Bosa, despite leaving the game early (he’s reportedly okay), picked up another sack to give him 6.5 in his rookie season. He is absolutely a game-changer and game-plan wrecker. The Chargers are fortunate he wasn’t drafted 1st or 2nd overall.
Despite playing so many different players this season, the Chargers defense has performed quite well (I already mentioned how they are tied for the lead in takeaways). That they have remained so effective despite having to replace so many key pieces is nothing short of extraordinary.
…and now changing directions completely…
The Los Angeles Rams fired their head coach on Monday. Over his 77 game career with the Rams, Jeff Fisher had a 31-45-1 record. Just looking at the 2015-16 seasons, his record was 11-18. Mike McCoy, over the same 2015-16 span has a 9-20 record. Fisher has used the following QBs during his tenure with the Rams (alphabetically): Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis, Nick Foles, Jared Goff, Johnny Hekker, Shaun Hill, Case Keenum, and Sean Mannion. Is there any wonder why Fisher floundered? McCoy has had the services of the borderline Hall of Fame caliber Philip Rivers.
If Dean Spanos and Tom Telesco cannot see that McCoy needs to be replaced, then I don’t know what it will take for them to realize it. My biggest fear is that the team will win two or three of their final three games (and don’t laugh, it could happen) and McCoy will get yet another opportunity to come back.
Thanks for reading.