Los Angeles Chargers’ Last Season Performance
The Chargers’ season was filled with highs and lows. After quarterback Justin Herbert won the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, things were looking up. Herbert improved upon his 2020 performance in 2021, showing promise for the future, nevertheless, the team just missed out on the playoffs.
Los Angeles started the season 4-1, with wins over division opponents in the Chiefs and Raiders. The Chargers’ defense struggled to stop the run all season, however, finishing in the bottom three in yards allowed per game with 138.9 yards a game and the bottom four in rushing touchdowns with 22.
Ultimately, the Chargers finished the season 9-8, which was capped with an overtime loss to the Raiders that could have sent Los Angeles to the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Las Vegas’ 35-32 overtime win sent the Chargers packing and pushed them to a third-place finish in the West.
Los Angeles Chargers Key Additions
After the Chargers’ defense failed to do much of anything against opposing running backs last season, Los Angeles made the front seven its point of emphasis in the offseason.
The Chargers started by trading for linebacker Khalil Mack, sending the Bears a couple of picks in return. Mack was injured for much of 2021, resulting in him appearing in seven games for the Bears, though he managed to record six sacks and 19 tackles last season. The prior year, Mack led the Bears with nine sacks while recording 15 tackles for loss and 50 tackles.
Also joining the Chargers’ front line are defensive tackles Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day. Johnson, signing a two-year deal with LA, finished 2021 with 3.5 sacks and 72 total tackles, while Joseph-Day, with a three-year contract, had three sacks and 38 tackles in 2021.
Cornerback J.C. Jackson is the final big-ticket defensive signing for the Chargers, signing a five-year contract. Jackson is coming off a 2021 season in which he recorded eight interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and 58 tackles for New England. Cornerback Bryce Callahan and linebackers Troy Reeder and Kyle Van Noy also signed one-year contracts.
On offense, tight end Gerald Everett signed a two-year deal with the Chargers. Everett had 48 receptions for 478 yards and four touchdowns with Seattle last season.
Los Angeles Chargers Key Subtractions
While the Chargers loaded up on the line, they also released some players to make room.
Los Angeles let its leading tackler from last season walk when linebacker Kyzir White signed with the Eagles. White led the Chargers with 144 total tackles while also recording two interceptions. Along with White, linebacker Uchenna Nwosu signed with the Seahawks after leading the Chargers in tackles for loss last season with eight. Nwosu also had five sacks and 40 tackles.
The Chargers also let defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Justin Jones walk free.
On offense, Los Angeles loses production from tight end Jared Cook and running back Justin Jackson, while tackle Bryan Bulaga was also released. Cook had 48 receptions for 564 yards and four touchdowns last season while Jackson finished 2021 with 68 rushes for 364 yards and two touchdowns.
Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Analysis
Brandon Staley is entering his second season as the head coach of the Bolts. Although he was previously the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, coaching them to the best defense in the NFL in 2020, that didn’t translate in his first season with the Chargers.
While the Chargers’ defense finished in bottom 10 in defense at 23rd overall, allowing 360.1 yards per game, his aggressive approach led the offense to perform well, ending the season with a top five finish in yards per game at 390.2.
After the Chargers just missed out on the playoffs in Staley’s first season as head coach, additions to the roster in the offseason and his continued experience should give Los Angeles that extra push.
Los Angeles Chargers Injured Players at the Beginning of the Season
The Chargers had a few players land on injured reserve in the 2021 season, however those players are either recovered or not with the team anymore.
Heading into the 2022 season, Los Angeles will be without offensive tackle Andrew Trainer, defensive tackle Forrest Merrill and center Isaac Weaver, as all landed on IR.
The Chargers also have a number of players questionable for Week 1. Tight ends Donald Parham, Tre’ McKitty and Stone Smartt, running back Isaiah Spiller and wide receiver Josh Palmer are all questionable for Week 1 for the offense. On defense, linebackers Kenneth Murray and Drue Tranquill, safety Mark Webb and cornerback Tevaughn Campbell are all also questionable for the first week. Jackson is also questionable for Week 1 after undergoing ankle surgery Aug. 23, with his recovery expected to take two to four weeks.
Los Angeles Chargers Offense
The Chargers had a top five offense last season, and with many of the same players returning, Los Angeles should figure to get the same production once again.
Herbert made a jump in his sophomore season, finishing the season throwing for 5,014 yards and 38 touchdowns, and he should continue his climb into 2022. Herbert’s top two targets will return next season as well, as wide receiver Mike Williams signed a three-year deal and wide receiver Keenan Allen will return as well. Both Williams and Allen hit the 1,000-yard mark in 2021, with Williams leading with 1,146 yards and Allen right behind with 1,138. Williams also hauled in nine touchdowns while Allen added six.
Los Angeles’ top running back also returns in Austin Ekeler, as he led the team with 206 rushes for 911 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ekeler posed a receiving threat as well in 2021, finishing third on the team in receiving yards with 70 receptions for 647 yards and eight touchdowns.
With all of their main weapons returning, the Chargers’ offense will once again cause problems for opposing defenses.
Los Angeles Chargers Defense
After a less-than-impressive showing in 2021 from the defense, the Chargers made some changes in the offseason, loading up with playmakers who will help the team improve.
Los Angeles will pair the newly acquired Mack with linebacker Joey Bosa, who led the team with 10.5 sacks last season. Bosa also added 51 total tackles and five tackles for loss. Together, the two will look to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
In the secondary, the Chargers extended safety Derwin James, who finished 2021 with 118 total tackles, two tackles, seven tackles for loss and two interceptions. Los Angeles also has cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., who is coming off a strong rookie season in which he recorded 11 passes defended, two interceptions and 43 total tackles. Those two, along with Jackson, will make for a solid secondary.
With the Chargers upgrading their defense in the offseason as well as bringing back some of their top guys, Los Angeles should see much-needed improvement in 2022.
Los Angeles Chargers Special Teams
Although the Chargers were solid in kicking last season, many areas of special teams left room for improvement, which is why Los Angeles replaced almost its whole squad.
Kicker Dustin Hopkins will return for the Chargers after finishing out the season with them. He played in 11 games and went 18-for-20 on field goals and 30-for-32 on extra points.
The first new face to the group is special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken, who joins the Chargers after serving that role in Minnesota last season.
Los Angeles also added punter J.K. Scott in the offseason, who averages 44.5 yards per punt in his career.
Handling returns will be new addition wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who averaged 25.1 yards per kickoff return, including one for a touchdown, and 8.4 yards per return last season.
A new special teams coordinator as well as a few new faces should help the Chargers’ special teams next season.
Los Angeles Chargers Prediction for the 2022 Season
With Staley now heading into his second year as head coach and Herbert continuing to impress, Los Angeles should be in good position for 2022. However, it all depends on how the defense performs, as that seemed to be the Chargers’ weakness a season ago.
The AFC West brings tough competition in every team, although with the Chargers addressing their biggest needs in the offseason, the team has a good chance at contending with the Chiefs for the top spot in the division.
Los Angeles Chargers Final Thoughts
The Chargers finished with a top five offense in 2021, and with Herbert and all three of Los Angeles’ top three weapons returning, a repeat firepower offense should be back once more.
The trouble for the Chargers was the defense, specifically the run defense, and the new additions to the roster should help that.
While Los Angeles has a strong offense that has created issues for opposing defenses, the moves it made in the offseason mean the Chargers should have a strong defense as well for continued success.
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Los Angeles Chargers FAQs
Why did the Chargers move to Los Angeles?
After San Diego residents rejected a vote to increase hotel taxes to help build a new stadium, the Chargers’ owner, Dean Spanos, moved the team to LA to share the new SoFi Stadium with the Rams.
When did the Chargers move from San Diego to LA?
SoFi first had to be built for the Rams and Chargers, so the Chargers played the 2017 season at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The team had its first game at SoFi Stadium on Sept. 20, 2020 against the Chiefs.
How many times have the Chargers moved?
Twice. The Chargers were established in 1958 in Los Angeles, playing a season in LA before relocating to San Diego. They spent 56 years in San Diego before moving back to LA.
How many Super Bowl appearances do the Chargers have?
One, the Chargers went to the Super Bowl in the 1994 season, falling 49-26 to the San Francisco 49ers.