By Cindy Davis//@XO_CindyDavis
This upcoming season for the Chargers may be one of the most important seasons yet. According to ESPN, since their move from San Diego to Los Angeles, their attendance for their home games has declined by over 50% from the 2016 to 2017 season. Since they are sharing a city, and eventually a stadium with the Los Angeles Rams, the competition is on more than ever to draw fans in.
There are still many disgruntled fans in San Diego who dis-owned the Chargers (Dean Spanos) after they seemingly abandoned their home city. So where do they need to start to build their fan base back up? The answer is simple: they need to win, and they need to win now.
The Chargers started out the 2017 season very shaky, losing four games in a row, with three of them lost by a very disappointing and narrow margin. As the season progressed, they eventually found their rhythm and became a contender for their division. Unfortunately, it was too little too late and the Chargers spent another year missing the playoffs.
While the Chargers roster is undeniably talented on both sides of the ball right now, there are a few key positions they need to acquire either in the draft or in free agency to take this team to the next level. For starters, linebacker is a huge need for this team and the draft may be the best place to acquire one. The Chargers finished second to last in total rushing yards allowed in 2017, allowing 2,098 rushing yards.
To make their front seven more competitive and functional, the Chargers desperately need to find some help alongside inside linebacker Denzel Perryman. While Perryman has sadly not seen a 16 game season through in his 3 year NFL career, the statistics don’t lie. Opposing teams were held to 117 rushing yards with Perryman on the field, but the Chargers gave up 142 rushing yards without him. To help make their defense more consistent, linebacker should be a position the Chargers consider strengthening in the first three rounds to ensure a quality pick.
Another possible position the Chargers may need to draft is free safety. With free safety Tre Boston coming off of his one year deal as a free agent, it is unknown yet whether the Chargers will be able to reach an agreement for a longer deal with him. He is coming off the best season of his career in 2017, with 79 combined tackles and 5 interceptions. Based on this performance, I would anticipate a re-signing, but it is all going to depend on his contract. If the Chargers do have to let him walk, this will leave another void on defense that they will have to fill. Tre Boston has proven himself as a playmaker in several key moments in the 2017 season, but the Chargers may have to toy with the idea of a replacement in the upcoming weeks.
With quarterback Philip Rivers contract up in 2019, the window may be quickly closing on this team to win a SuperBowl with him under center. Upgrading their defense at linebacker and safety (if needed) can only help this team. With all the changes happening in the AFC west among their division rivals, this team can definitely be a, if not THE favorite candidate to win the division heading into the 2018 season. Going from second to last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed to a potentially elite defense with just a couple of key positions will help this team achieve their ultimate goal: increasing fan attendance and winning.
Talk Chargers with Cindy on Twitter @XO_CindyDavis