At 5-2 the Chargers are in a great position heading into the bye week!
I’ve said it since the team started 1-2, if the team can manage to have a good record going into the bye week the team will be in an ideal situation! This was and is my thought process for fairly simple reasons. First of all this team has a history of playing better and better as the season roll’s on. So far this season that has proved no different. Secondly and most importantly they head into the bye week with a good record all without the team’s best defender and pass rusher Joey Bosa. One shouldn’t take those two losses too hard considering who the losses where suffered by.
This defense has been getting better and better plus once you add one of the best defensive ends in the NFL, the defense will start to play like a top three defense! Some would say one guy won’t make that big of a difference, however when it’s a guy of Bosa’s level then yes indeed it does make that much of a difference. To the nay Sayers of this opinion I point to the Raiders and Khalil Mack and say look no further. Of course I may be biased but a pass rusher of that level makes the corners job so much easier as it leads to them having to cover 1 to 2 seconds less with the extra pressure the opposing quarterbacks will face. It also makes the other elite pass rusher on the roster, Melvin Ingram, so much more effective. This could end up becoming the best defensive line in football and quickly. It also is more than beneficial to have the bye week lined up perfectly at the mid-season mark as the Chargers just so happen to have this time around. It gives all players the perfect time to heal and rest up. This is also more applicable to players such as Melvin Gordon and Russell Okung. Gordon sat this last week in London due to a hamstring issue and only gives him two weeks in a row to heal up and get right. Gordon is all too important to this offense as he has grown to be the bell cow running back the team envisioned when the drafted him in the first round. When it comes to Russell Okung, the all-pro left tackle is all too important in protecting upfront in the passing game and also mowing open running room for the backs. Okung is a tough individual and has been playing through injury. It is visibly noticeable the last couple of weeks that he is not as effective as he was pre injury.
As far as the coaching staff is concerned, it gives them extra time to head back to the drawing board and make some adjustment moving forward without the pressure of having to prepare for a game this week. Several adjustments have been made by the staff in the last two weeks that have worked really well, such as Adrian Phillips playing out of his mind now that he is being utilized as a coverage linebacker in passing situations. Not to mention Damion Square has been seeing the majority of rep’s at defensive end. The entire coaching staff now gets a chance to build off of adjustments that have and have not worked. The importance of making adjustments on the fly in the NFL is all too important and often times makes or breaks a team’s season. So far I have been impressed with the outcome of how the coaches have experimented and moved personnel around which have amounted to not only improvement but great success. While these adjustments are more specific to the defensive side of the ball I look for the team to come out of the bye with similar tweaks on the offensive side, which hasn’t needed as much tweaking.
One small change myself and all fans would love to see that could result in a potential massive improvement is a change along the offensive line. Forrest Lamp could use the extra week off to work his way into the starting rotation. It is my belief that even if he is a bit rusty will prove to be more effective then Michael Schofield. The sky is the limit for this team if the bye week proves to be as useful as I believe it can be to this organization.