Rather than do an analysis on the shit show that was week 5, I instead want to speak on the changes and adjustments that must happen in order to save the Chargers season. I did the same thing last season after the team started 2-2. Don’t call me superstitious because it is pure coincidence that the team is 2-3 this time around and I’m writing about necessary changes. This team are notorious slow starters and are coached by a fairly inexperienced head coach who seems to still be learning on the job. This plus you factor in the numerous injuries and it’s no wonder why this team has stumbled out of the gates. So once again we find ourselves at a fork in the road. Major adjustments are in need and if they have any plans of salvaging this season then the coaches and front office cannot afford to wait any longer and must act immediately.
First and foremost the coaches need to settle on a consistent linebacker rotation. Six different linebackers played throughout the game. Not only that they seemed to be rotated out each at least 3 or four different times. Now I understand that the guys who they anticipated to be the main stay starters have been constantly missing tackles. So much so in fact that it has severely hindered the entire defense and at times the starters have looked like children learning how to tackle. Davis and Perryman are both more than capable and are very hard hitters so it seems to be a bit perplexing. The team has a pair of young linebackers that are converted safeties who both were also mixed in quite a bit. That plus fourth year man Jatavis Brown also logged a fair amount of playing time. To put it in perspective Thomas Davis had a total of 40 total snaps with Perryman at 32, White with 34, Tranquill with 20, Brown with 17, and Nwosu at 57. As you can see the snap counts are all over the place. Nwosu plays more as an edge rusher at the line of scrimmage so I don’t really factor that one in as much because the team is almost always in nickel or dime defense with only two linebackers anyway. The fact remains that if the coaches want to shy away from the pre-ordained starters then they need to not be shy about it and simply pull the trigger. However either way a consistent rotation is in need if they want any of them to find a groove for the season.
Secondly the Chargers have a few guys playing out of position. I already mentioned that they have a few linebackers that are converted safeties. It is also of note that the only other true strong safety on the roster, other than last year’s rookie sensation Derwin James who happens to be hurt, would be Rayshawn Jenkins. Instead of having Jenkins fill in as a in the box safety the coaching staff has him playing a lot of single high free safety while undrafted and much smaller Roderick Teamer fill in at strong safety. This isn’t the craziest sounding thing ever but when you consider the team spent a 2nd round draft pick on a free safety you would think that Jenkins would be in at strong safety in order to get your 2nd round pick and smaller and much more natural free safety on the field. The problem isn’t with Jenkins, as I really like the way he has played. The issue is with Teamer who has looked lost on his coverage assignments. Yes he does possess the ability to hit hard but so does Jenkins. To put it simply, bench Teamer move Jenkins to strong so that you can use Nasir Adderly at free. There is no use in letting your second round pick waste away on the bench. During this last game against Denver he was inactive due to injury and looks to be out a second week in a row. Yet in the first four games he really only played on special teams and a handful of plays in dime formation. Even with Nasty Nas on the shelf the same concept should be applied except with Jaylen Watkins taking over the free safety position.
During Anthony Lynn’s first season as head coach, he was atrocious at clock management in the final two minutes. In his second season Lynn seemed to trust his players and know when and or when not to take a gamble, then again maybe it was that the team was so strong as they seemed to evade the injury bug until late in the season. This season however he seems to have graduated to making bone head play call’s in the redzone on a regular basis. This week it happened on the one yard line twice! Two potential touchdowns wiped off the board. At the end of the first half the offense had ate up the remaining time left on the clock all the while finding themselves on the goal line in prime position to score. Now not only was the play call selections predictable but a coach has to be aware that the team is down 3 scores 17-0 along with the fact that your team will also receive the ball to begin the second half. In other words you have played your hand perfectly to where your offense will essentially have back to back possessions. If one chooses to look at the situation in this manner then you should be willing to settle for a field goal knowing you get the ball again after the break and still need a field goal regardless. Instead they ran a play instead of electing to kick and came away with zero points instead of 3. Now of course the team stalled for a three and out to begin the second half, however if the team had some points on the board maybe just maybe the team would of not have come out so flat for the 3rd quarter in disappointment. To make matters worse the team blew another scoring opportunity coming away with zero while again down on the one yard line. This time the team wasted a 2nd down by putting in back and mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor while splitting Rivers out at wide receiver. This is a waste because it tips the defense off that the play is either a QB sneak or a run somewhere between the tackles. After that play was blown up the team then called an elementary passing play that was then intercepted. The play calling must be cleaned up and the coaches need to be smarter. These are the moments that make the difference in the end.
In conclusion all of these above mentioned things are easy fixes. These are in house shake up’s that could and will fix a lot of issues. Although these are ultimately minor details, it is ultimately the details that either work in your favor and or come back to haunt a team. The coaches need to consider all of these aspects and maybe more in order clean up things in house and change the course of the season. All they need to do is obtain a few more wins and tread water until more reinforcement’s arrive from the injured list.