The Los Angeles Chargers have a year of uncertainty ahead of them. They’ve made some good improvements on defense and the offensive line, but the quarterback situation may very well hold them back. The options being Tyrod Taylor – who at this point is definitely nothing more than a stopgap quarterback – and a not-quite-ready rookie in Justin Herbert isn’t promising. That said, even if it’s going to be a bumpy year for them, they should be able to get off to a good start in Week 1 at least. They face the Cincinnati Bengals and the #1 overall pick in Joe Burrow – and given the strength of Joey Bosa and the Chargers defense and the circumstances of the off-season, this situation probably couldn’t be much more advantageous for the Chargers.
Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers Defense Should Have a Field Day Against Joe Burrow
Tough Off-Season for a Rookie
This is probably one of the worst seasons ever to be a rookie in. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the preseason was canceled and there wasn’t really any off-season work prior to training camp either. So in other words, rookies are getting zero game action prior to the regular season, and the off-season in of itself was truncated for them a little bit. While some will be able to manage better than others, some of the rookies may struggle a bit more out of the gate than usual – and this may also have resulted in less undrafted free agents making rosters than usual.
Now for the Bengals specifically, there are multiple reasons they were 2-14 last year. But for one thing, their defense was inept – fourth-worst in the league in yards allowed. And so was their offensive line – they gave up 48 sacks, ninth-worst in the league. Now we’re putting a rookie quarterback in a situation where, despite having a better-than-you-would-think group of weapons, he has to deal with that offensive line which did not improve in the off-season, and he has to do so with no prior game action against two of the best pass-rushers in football.
Against the Chargers Defense
In the last couple weeks, the Chargers defense did suffer a big loss with Derwin James having a meniscus injury and going out for the season. However, that still leaves everybody else. Namely, the fearsome defensive line, heralded by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. They ought to be able to have their way with this offensive line. And if that’s the case, Burrow will either be on his back a lot or be running for his life.
If Joey Bosa and the Chargers defensive line/pass-rushers are getting pressure, then that’s gonna affect Burrow even when he’s not on his back – he’s not going to be comfortable, and that can result in less than optimal passing for a non-experienced quarterback. That’s where the rest of the secondary comes in – they may be missing Derwin James, but they still have Rayshawn Jenkins at safety and a quite good group of cornerbacks (led by Casey Hayward and Chris Harris). The loss of James may affect them in other games, but it shouldn’t be as big of a deal here. This secondary group as is should be able to do their part in preventing Burrow from getting much going.
Last Word on Joey Bosa and the Chargers
On offense, the Chargers are set up (intentionally or not) as a team that does better when they’re in the lead. Tyrod Taylor is not a play-from-behind quarterback. But as long as they’re tied or in the lead, he and the running backs can run the offense in a more ideal fashion for them. And with the defense presumably giving Burrow the works, they will be in a good position to keep the lead.
This is a bad time to have to start in Week 1 as a rookie quarterback in general. The Chargers and Miami Dolphins may have realized that, which is why their veterans are starting instead of their rookies. But add on a poor offensive line and a matchup against top-tier pass-rushers? Such a situation couldn’t be much worse for Burrow. But it is very advantageous to the Chargers. They will have a tough home opener against the defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2, but they should at least be able to get the season off to a good start with a win against Cincinnati.
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