Chargers News NFL: Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry out for the year with a torn ACL.



Los Angeles Chargers 2018 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 8/25/2018.


Los Angeles Chargers Free Agency Recap


The Chargers got Virgil Green as a tight end in Free Agency. Green will start at tight end in 2018 with Hunter Henry being out for the year with an injury. The Chargers also added Mike Pouncey to be their starting center in Free Agency.



Los Angeles Chargers Draft Recap


The Chargers finally drafted a safety. They drafted Derwin James in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He should start at strong safety or free safety right away. The former Florida State safety is described as a defensive chess piece that you want to build your secondary around. The Chargers have Derwin James listed as a free safety for now. Second round pick Uchenna Nwosu out of USC is pushing Kyle Emmanuel for a starting linebacker spot. Justin Jones their third round pick may get some early playing time with Corey Liguet's suspension. Fourth round pick Kyzir White out of West Virginia has moved from safety to outside linebacker.




Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback Summary: The Chargers have a Pro Bowl quarterback in Philip Rivers. Geno Smith is the backup quarterback and Cardale Jones is the third string quarterback at the moment.


Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was the Chargers offensive coordinator prior to him taking a head coaching gig with the Titans and now he's back. The last time Whisenhunt was the Chargers' offensive coordinator Rivers had a career season. Shane Steichen was a starting quarterback for UNLV when Rivers was a starting quarterback at North Carolina State and now Steichen enters his third year as the Chargers quarterback coach. This is the first time since 2011 where Rivers has had the same head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach returning.


Los Angeles Chargers Running Back Summary: Melvin Gordon worked with LaDainian Tomlinson this offseason on perfecting his pass catching. Gordon also improved his pass protection. Head coach Anthony Lynn specializes in developing running backs and wants this to be a balanced run first team rather than a west coast team. Alfredo Roberts takes over at running back coach too. Roberts has developed running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends over his coaching career.


The Chargers had a lot of success using that run first balanced offense back in the day with LaDainian Tomlinson. They went back to that in 2017 and things clicked near the end of the season after injuries took their toll on the team.


Los Angeles Chargers Wide Receiver Summary: Los Angeles has one true #1 flanker receiver in Keenan Allen. You drafted Mike Williams to start out as a #2 guy on the outside to Allen. Tyrell Williams is playing well enough to hold down the slot receiver job while pushing Mike Williams to be the number two target on the Los Angeles Chargers. Travis Benjamin and Artivis Scott make nice depth players.


Phil McGeoghan went from being the wide receivers coach on the Buffalo Bills to upgrading by becoming the wide receivers coach on the Los Angeles Chargers. McGeoghan has better weapons to work with on this Chargers team.


Los Angeles Chargers Tight End Summary: Virgil Green is starting at tight end this season because Hunter Henry tore his ACL. Rip Scherer was a tight ends coach at UCLA. Now he returns to the NFL as a tight ends coach. Tight end was a strength for the Chargers for years. Now you can argue that the tight end position is arguably the weakest position for the Los Angeles Chargers.


Los Angeles Offensive Line Summary: The Los Angeles Chargers have a much better offensive line now. You got Russell Okung at left tackle, Dan Feeney at left guard, Mike Pouncey at center, Forrest Lamp at right guard, and Joseph Barksadle at right tackle. This can be a deadly starting five if everyone stays healthy. Lamp was out for the season last year, but he's coming along slowly and should be ready for the 2018 season.


Pat Meyer got Russell Okung back to the Pro Bowl. I thought Meyer was going to suck as an offensive line coach. Meyer actually did a lot better then I thought he would. He's the right offensive line coach for the Chargers when reflecting on this hire in hindsight.


The Los Angeles Chargers have the potential to be a top 10 offense in points scored, total yards, passing yards, and rushing yards. This is the best offensive personel that the Chargers have had in at least 10 years from both a players standpoint and a coaches standpoint.



Los Angeles Chargers Defensive Line Summary: I expect the Chargers to be even better on the defensive line thanks to finally adjusting to the 4-3 defense with Gus Bradley back in his second season as a defensive coordinator. The defensive line will have Melvin Ingram at 4-3 right end, Joey Bosa at 4-3 left end, Corey Liuget at defensive tackle with Brandon Mebane complimenting Liuget. Giff Smith did awesome as the Chargers defensive line coach in 2016 and matched that intensity in 2017. Gus Bradley can motivate these defensive linemen as well. The coaching and edge rushers are there to make the Chargers one of the top defenses in the NFL. Liuget got a four game suspension, so the run defense may struggle early until Liuget returns.


Los Angeles Chargers Linebacker Summary: Denzel Perryman is healthy this season. He's moving from outside linebacker to middle linebacker in a contract year. I personally feel like Perryman is a better outside linebacker, but Perryman is someone who you can plug into any of the three linebacker spots. With the Chargers being thin at middle linebacker, I completely understand why they moved Perryman to middle linebacker. Uchenna Nwosu and Kyzir White could be future starting outside linebackers. They need a year or two to develop though.


Richard Smith is an awesome linebackers coach. He's turned things around since working with Dan Quinn in Atlanta a few years ago and has a mentor he has more chemistry with in Gus Bradley.


Los Angeles Chargers Defensive Backs Summary: The Chargers have great cornerbacks. Jason Verrett began last season as the field cornerback. A season ending injury forced Casey Heyward to go from nickel to field cornerback after Brandon Flowers got cut and Verrett got injured again. Now Heyward is injured, but the Chargers moved Desmond King to cornerback and had success with him. If Derwin James is starting at one of the safety spots week 1 this will be a strong unit. If James is not starting then the Chargers will continue to have suspect safety play.


Ron Milus is the Chargers defensive backs coach. Milus can develop cornerbacks and make them Pro Bowlers. Milus isn't as good with safeties as he is with corners though. That's one thing that will make Los Angeles suspect, but other than that you got remarkable defensive coaches on this staff that compliment the offense well outside of the suspect safety play. The Chargers drafted Derwin James and how he plays dictates how good their safeties can be.


The Chargers was better in some areas. The Chargers should be a top 5 team in sacks. I think the run defense and pass defense is going to be a middle of the pack unit. I also feel like the Chargers could be a top 12 team in points allowed and total yards allowed.



Los Angeles Chargers Special Teams Summary: Caleb Sturgis is the kicker for the Los Angeles Chargers. He was a backup kicker on the Philadelphia Eagles during their Super Bowl 52 run. Drew Kaser did well as a punter during his rookie season. Desmond King will be the kick returner while Travis Benjamin will be the punt returner. Benjamin is good enough to be a kick returner too though.


George Stewart returns as the special teams coordinator. He is also the assistant head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.




Los Angeles Chargers Worst Case Scenario: The Chargers go 8-8 and miss the playoffs. The Chargers are the safest pick to win the AFC West with Philip Rivers, a stable offensive line, and one of the best combinations of edge rushers the NFL has to offer with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. They have injuries at cornerback once again with both Jason Verrett and Casey Heyward being injured.


Los Angeles Chargers Best Case Scenario: Los Angeles goes 13-3. They run away with the AFC West Division and get a first round bye. I don't think they have


Los Angeles Chargers 2018 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 9
VS
4:05 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 2
September 16
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 3
September 23
AT
4:05 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 4
September 30
VS
4:25 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 5
October 7
VS
4:05 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 6
October 14
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 7
October 21
VS
9:30 AM EST
CBS
W
Week 8
Bye Week
Week 9
November 4
AT
4:05 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 10
November 11
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 11
November 18
VS
4:05 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 12
November 25
VS
4:05 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 13
December 2
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 14
December 9
VS
4:05 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 15
December 13
AT
8:20 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 16
December 23
VS
4:05 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 17
December 30
AT
4:25 PM EST
CBS
L


Los Angeles Chargers 2018 Projected Record (9-7): The Chargers exceeded my expectations last year going 9-7 and getting hot down the stretch. With their schedule, I feel like they go 9-7 once again and barely edge out the Baltimore Ravens for that final wild card spot thanks to a week 16 win. So to summarize, I got the 9-7 Houston Texans and the 9-7 Los Angeles Chargers as my two AFC Wild Cards for 2018.









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