Los Angeles Chargers 2019 Season Preview

Russell S. Baxter

Los Angeles Chargers 2019 Season Preview

By Pete Fasulo

Special to Pro Football Guru

The Los Angeles Chargers’ 2019 season will hinge on two major questions. A. Will 37-year old Philip Rivers be able to stay healthy and add to his string of 208 consecutive starts? B. Will the running game suffer if Melvin Gordon’s holdout continues into the regular season? Anthony Lynn showed promise in his first season as a head coach, being able to mold a young defense into a solid performer behind defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

Offense: Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt did a very good job mixing his play-calling between the run and the pass to keep opposing defenses at bay throughout the season. Rivers is coming off another Pro Bowl season and his wide receiving corps includes Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin. The key here will be to get strong seasons from Williams and Benjamin as Allen will draw the bulk of the coverage from opposing defenses. If Melvin Gordon does not play for the team for whatever reason, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson will become the go-to backs. The offensive line is anchored by center Mike Pouncey and should be solid, but tackle Russell Okung could miss the start of the season.

Defense: Bradley’s defense is led up front by defensive end Joey Bosa and a solid front seven that includes versatile Melvin Ingram as well as linebacker Denzel Perryman. In the secondary, the Chargers are set with standouts such as safety Derwin James and cornerback Casey Heyward leading a ball-hawking group. The Bolts picked off 13 passes this past season. Even with all that upside, the Chargers have a few issues on defense. First, there is a lack of depth and this unit has had its share of tackling issues the past two years.

Special Teams: Michael Badgley will assume the placekicking duties and Ty Long will handle the punting for Los Angeles this season. Speedy Desmond King will handle both punt returns and kickoff returns this year. The Chargers need improvement on special teams in 2019 as they were marginal at best the past two seasons.

Prediction: Basically, the AFC West is a two-team race between the Chiefs and the Chargers. If Rivers has another great season in him – and he may need to if Gordon is not on this team come opening day – and if the offensive line can protect better than they did last season, the Bolts could possibly surpass Kansas City and win the division. But those are two giant “ifs.” What if the opposite happens, such as an injury to Rivers and him needing to be replaced by backup Tyrod Taylor? And what if the offensive line actually takes a step backward? However, look for Lynn’s team to find a way to be in the postseason hunt due to a weak bottom half of the division.

Win-Loss Record: 11-5 (2nd Place, AFC West, lose in Divisional Playoffs)

Pete Fasulo (@LISportsFans) is a freelance writer covering business, music, and sports. He has written for music publications such as Revolver and Aural Fix. His sports writing career has been resurrected here after numerous years at The Torch and The Long Island Tribune (many moons ago).

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