The Los Angeles Chargers truly are an enigma. Year in and year out, expectations are sky high in Los Angeles, and every year, without fail, the Bolts fall short of meeting those expectations.
The Chargers finding ways to screw things up is basically a running gag at this point. From the final year of Anthony Lynn and his pitiful clock management in 2020, to the current day where their defense pats itself on the back for allowing 70 rushing yards in a game where the Miami Dolphins racked up over 460 yards passing.
This Chargers team went all in on building a juggernaut in 2022. They spent the fifth most money in free agency last offseason, and how did that turn out? Survey says: A blown 27-point lead in the wild card round where they intercepted Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars four times.
Now, most teams would move on from their head coach if that were to happen to them. The Chargers did the most Chargers thing instead. They made a scapegoat out of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi while the supposed defensive prodigy with bad defenses remained in power.
So now what? Well, the Chargers are 0-2 after two losses that were 1000 percent the fault of the defense and their lack of discipline. A J.C. Jackson shove to Jaylen Waddle gave the Dolphins an untimed down to kick a field goal at the end of the first half in Week 1- Los Angeles lost by two. The Titans had a drive extended twice by bad penalties, and ended up scoring on a Ryan Tannehill touchdown that would help them win the game.
It would be one thing if this were an anomaly for the Chargers, but it’s the norm, and it has been since Brandon Staley was named head coach. They are 19-18 (including playoffs) since Staley took over. The team that spent the fifth most money in free agency in 2022, and fields one of the most talented quarterbacks in football whom they just paid a ton of money, is the dictionary definition of average. When you’ve invested money and assets the way the Chargers have, though, average is far from good enough. And once again, there were heavy expectations for Los Angeles coming into 2023. The same way there were heavy expectations in 2022, and the same way there were heavy expectations in 2021.
Now, staring 0-3 in the face, it’s clear what the Chargers are- they are the M. Night Shyamalan of the NFL. They have a star-studded cast that gets you excited. You watch the trailer and murmur to yourself “Wow, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis? Surely, Glass will be great.” And then you go to the theater filled with anticipation, and minute by minute, that anticipation turns to regret, especially when the movie ends with an unnecessary twist that was too stupid to predict. That’s the life of a Chargers fan every Sunday. Joey Bosa, Derwin James, Justin Herbert, Khalil Mack- they have the cast of The Expendables, yet they perform like the cast of Eighty For Brady.
Year after year, we treat them like a darling indie film when in reality, they are The Happening. It would be like if every year, Mark Wahlberg was in a universally hated movie. That’s where Justin Herbert finds himself- as the Mark Wahlberg to Brandon Staley’s Shyamalan. The 202 Rams were Staley’s The Sixth Sense. And now Charger fans are suffering through a new bad movie every week.
The line in the sand needs to come in Week 3 if the Chargers lose to the Vikings. This cast is far too talented to be a box office failure simply because the man in the director’s chair can’t get out of his own way.