Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

3 Chargers That Are Primed For Regression

Chargers Regression

On every NFL team, there are drastic changes in performance from players. This can be caused by a multitude of reasons, such as coaching, situation, age, and role. Change is imminent in the NFL, and the Los Angeles Chargers are no exception from that. This year, there are three specific Chargers primed for regression.

3 Chargers Primed For Regression

Keenan Allen

One of the all-time great Chargers is finally showing signs of slowing down. Keenan Allen is 31 and is coming off a significant ankle injury. Although coming back from his injury he played lights out, it was still a concern that he missed games. Allen has always been Justin Herbert‘s go-to target on short to intermediate routes. Not to mention the reliable third-down conversion machine that Allen is. But beyond that role, Keenan will likely be forced into a lesser role than before. Rather than being the team’s constant #1 receiver as well as the main slot option, he will likely just be the slot option.

With the hiring of Kellen Moore, this team is inclined to run the ball more, as well as bring in more 12 personnel. 12 personnel is when there are two tight ends, one running back, and two receivers. With the scheme change, Allen likely will see a dip in slot snaps, where he is the most effective. This, combined with more of a receiver rotation than ever, with the first-round selection of Quentin Johnston, and the emergence of Joshua Palmer, as well as the health of Mike Williams and Jalen Guyton will have the aging receiver resting on the bench just a bit more than what was expected of Allen just a few years ago.

Overall, Keenan Allen will always be a fan favorite, as well as one of the most underrated receivers of his era. Unfortunately, these statuses don’t exempt him from the one who takes all, and that is age. With the scheme change, increasing talent increase in the depth chart, as well as the overall decline in athleticism, Allen is an all time great Charger primed for regression.

Austin Ekeler

Ekeler is in a very similar situation as Keenan Allen, he is reaching the age in which his respective position declines, as well as is a talented offense with plenty of mouths to feed. Austin Ekeler recently received a pay raise to help solidify his standing with the Chargers. Ekeler is coming off his best season yet in volume but declined in efficiency. The decline last year wasn’t too much to write home about but should be noted for this upcoming season.

Ekeler had 107 catches this season, averaging a career-low 6.7 yards per reception. This is highly at the fault of the previous offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, and his short passing game-orientated offensive scheme. Along with injuries at receiver and a banged-up quarterback, Ekeler was relied on too much in the passing game, leading to his numbers showing a liking to volume, not efficiency.

Although, Ekeler as a runner has seen the most decline, as he has only five broken tackles on 204 rushing attempts this season. This is 40.8 rush attempts per broken tackle. His previous three seasons are 15.8 in 2021, 8.9 in 2020, and 11 in 2019. That is a sharp decline from previous years. It is also worth noting that Ekeler also had a career low in yards after contact per attempt at 1.9, which has declined consistently through his career partially due to the number of carries he has been receiving.

Lastly, Ekeler is stuck in an offense with plenty of talent. Chargers are six deep at receiver, three deep at running back, and two deep at tight end. Unlike other years, Ekeler will have to fight for touches with other players than Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. He will have to fend off Quentin Johnston, Joshua Palmer, Jalen Guyton, Derius Davis, Gerald Everett, Donald Parham Jr, Joshua Kelley, and Isaiah Spiller for touches both on the ground and through the air. That is a lot of names, and obviously, Ekeler is a priority player over the likes of Jalen Guyton and Derius Davis, but these players will still have a role, and the Chargers high-flying offense can only score so many times.

Ekeler is 28 in a league that doesn’t value running backs. Beyond age, being in a crowded offense, showing a semblance of decline showing up last year, and the likelihood of the Chargers moving on from Ekeler after the season, it is very likely Ekeler will have a decline in both volume and role. Like Keenan Allen, the hope is that they have the best years of their career. The likelihood is that they will both be Chargers regression candidates.

Austin Johnson

Out of all the names mentioned, Austin Johnson is the most primed of the Chargers for a regression. He is a name that we may have already forgotten about as Charger fans. He signed a two-year deal worth 14 million last off-season, being the cherry ontop of the already exciting Sebastian Joseph-Day signing. Austin Johnson was coming off his best season yet, playing very well for the New York Giants. With the rebuilt interior defensive line, Charger fans were excited to see how they would perform. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the interior at full strength for most of the year. Austin Johnson suffered a brutal fractured knee and MCL injury during week nine of the 2022 season. He collected one sack and three tackles for loss before his injury.

It has to be noted that an injury as severe as the one he suffered would warrant any sort of decline for any player, let alone a 29-year-old defensive lineman. If he does return for Week 1, he will be competing for snaps with the aforementioned Joseph-Day, sixth-round rookie, Scott Matlock, last year’s fifth-round rookie, Otito Ogbonnia, recently signed free agent, Nick Williams, and other interior linemen fighting for a spot.

All in all, Johnson doesn’t have the same expectations as the previous two players mentioned. But, he was expected to be a good interior presence for this team. Due to lack of health, role, and age, it seems that a steep decline may be in the cards for the former second-round selection, Austin Johnson.

Main Image: Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA TODAY NETWORK


More Posts

Send Us A Message