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3 Things the Los Angeles Chargers Must Address in the 2022 NFL Offseason

The Los Angeles Chargers came into the 2021 NFL season hoping to build on the end of last season where they won four straight. Brandon Staley took over as the team’s new head coach, and Justin Herbert was ready to prove himself in his second season under center.

The Chargers certainly had playoff aspirations coming into the year. They came oh-so-close to reaching the postseason, only to have their hopes sunk by a Daniel Carlson field goal in the dying second of overtime in the final game of the regular season. While the end result was not what they had hoped, the Chargers should be able to take several things away from the campaign as they look to make improvements in the 2022 NFL offseason.

The following article looks at three things for the Los Angeles Chargers to address in the 2022 NFL offseason.

Brandon Staley Los Angeles Chargers 2022 NFL offseason
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

3 Things the Los Angeles Chargers Must Address in the 2022 NFL Offseason

1. Fix the Run Defense

One thing that did not do the Los Angeles Chargers any favors in their last game against the Las Vegas Raiders was allowing first downs on the ground late in the game. L.A. allowed a whopping 138 rushing yards per game last season. That ranked 30th in the NFL and is inexcusable considering they hired a defensive-minded head coach before the season began. The Chargers need to build up their front seven. While Joey Bosa is a great pass-rusher, he can’t do it all on every single play. The Bolts might need to spend some money in free agency to find some help for their linebacker corps.

2. Instill Better Discipline

The Los Angeles Chargers were one of the most penalized teams in the NFL last season. L.A. averaged 6.8 penalties per game and gave opponents an average of 60.8 free yards via penalties per game. Those numbers ranked 30th and 27th in the NFL, respectively. This is an area that Brandon Staley and the coaching staff will have to address before next season. Consistently being penalized at a high rate will cost you games and may have cost them an opportunity to be in the NFL Playoffs this year.

3. Get Bradon Staley Off of His Analytics High

Bradon Staley is in love with the expanded analytics that have come into the game of football over the past decade. Well, sometimes analytics can cost you games and even playoff spots. Both of those things happened to the Los Angeles Chargers this season.

In a Thursday night game against the Kansas City Cheifs, the Chargers suffered a crushing overtime loss. What people are quick to forget is that had Staley simply taken three points by kicking a field goal each of the two times he went for it on fourth down in the first half, the Bolts would have won that game, no OT required. The decision to go for it on fourth down inside their own 20-yard line against the Raiders in Week 18 also cost them. Missing that fourth-down conversion gifted the Raiders three free points. Some might point to the fact that the defense held the Raiders after the turnover-on-downs, but Las Vegas was still able to score points without moving the chains a single time.

The Chargers were extremely fortunate to force overtime in that game. Then, Staley called a timeout when the Raiders looked like they were content to just run out the clock and take a tie that would have sent both teams to the postseason. There was no point in calling a timeout at that moment unless Staley wanted to make sure he had the right formation defensively. The Chargers clearly didn’t as they came out of the timeout with a safety playing linebacker, and the Raiders were able to run for a first down to set up the game-winning field goal.

While analytics have their place in the game, there is too much of a good thing. Staley’s horrendous decision-making was the perfect example of this on multiple occasions this season.

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