Welcome to the Powder Blue Report! This is a little corner of Los Angeles within the Full 10 Yards network, hosted by myself (Lee) and Ash.
We will be the voices that you were when we are bringing you our podcast, and the faces that you see on the video. We will bring you some written analysis on everything LA Chargers alongside all the other stuff we are going to be getting up to – You can expect a weekly podcast for you that’ll be available on all your favourite podcast platforms as well as YouTube!
In terms of the written stuff, you have stumbled upon the very first one! Ash and I are going to nail our colours to the mast and bring you some preseason takes.
As always with this sort of thing, I am sure that we will be perfectly correct in all of what we say here and we absolutely will not look stupid come the end of the season… Let’s get into it.
So first question, let’s start with the main man, is Justin Herbert a realistic MVP candidate and if so, why?
Lee – Justin has about as good a chance as anyone. However, it hinges on team success coming along with him putting up insane numbers once more. The offensive staff and Herbert himself have talked a lot about familiarity and continuity this offseason, which is big because then they can work on advanced aspects of the offense and nuances. Add this to the fact that the talent level is higher with the additions of Zion Johnson, Gerald Everett and Zander Horvath, plus it’s year two for the likes of Rashawn Slater and Josh Palmer. It’s all there for him if the defense is as good as it looks on paper and the wins flow.
Ash – Absolutely! Just starting out from last year. 2nd in passing yards, 5th in TDs but also in that he’s authored five fourth quarter comebacks and game winning drives. It says a lot about who he is as a leader and as a player. So MVP? I can’t see why not!
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Following on from that, are there any other players who you feel could be walking away with any of the major awards come the end of the season?
Lee – Joey Bosa has never had an edge rusher opposite him who is as good as Khalil Mack – No disrespect to Melvin Ingram – and he’s also never had a defensive line with as much talent as what the Chargers have right now. I think Bosa could be as destructive of a force as he ever had been in the league because all of the attention isn’t going to be on him. He sounds happier and healthier than he ever had been in training camp and entering his peak years, if health remains, he could be a defensive MVP candidate.
Ash – Getting a major individual award takes some doing in the NFL. Forget the Pro Bowl – That for me isn’t major anymore. But if I were to punt on a player or 2 I’d say Rashawn Slater and Corey Linsley make 1st team all pro and with all these new pieces on defense I think one blows up and I’m going for Khalil Mack to make the shortlist for Defensive MVP.
Which rookie are you most looking forward to seeing this year for the Chargers and why?
Lee – I wrote this up in the Full 10 Yards NFL Season Guide (available to buy here), but JT Woods is a guy who can really unlock the potential of this Chargers defensive unit. The reasons are twofold; he can be a ballhawk on the back end and generate turnovers but his ability to play deep next to Nasir Adderley means that Derwin can play much closer to the line of scrimmage, which is where he can be a game changer.
Ash – For me it’s clearly Zion. Ever since we took him at 17, it’s been nothing but excitement to see how this guy can deliver in season next to guys like Slater, Feiler and Linsley. This offensive line is legit.
And kind of on the same train of thought, do you feel like any player in particular is ready to have a breakout year?
Lee – I’ll stick on the back end and say Nasir Adderley… He was so unlucky with balls hitting him in the hands last year – Balls that he was picking off in college at Delaware. I think a bunch of those stick this year and he really becomes the playmaker we know he has inside him.
Ash – To be a nice surprise package and break out it’s gonna take snaps and a fair few at that. Can he make plays and impact games? To me I can’t really see past Josh Palmer. Palmer has the clearest path to snaps and showing us what he’s all about when he came out of Tennessee.
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And which Chargers player has the most to prove this year?
Lee – I know Ash is going to say Jerry Tillery so I’ll go for the other defender who has a lot to prove and that’s Kenneth Murray. Murray hadn’t lived up to his draft position at all so far in powder blue, both in terms of on-field play and also with his availability. Of course, his lack of availability isn’t wholly his fault but he needs to be on the field and consistently playing like he did against the Patriots in 2020, which was his best game, in my book.
Ash – Jerry Tillery and frankly it’s not close. Tillery has underwhelmed on a consistent basis, leading to us declining that 5th year option. He’s got to show us why we were so wrong to do that.
Looking outside of the Chargers roster for a second, is there a player who is available, either as a free agent or as a realistic trade target, who would you love to add to the roster that we have?
Lee – The only real concern for me is the right tackle spot at the moment. I’m all for giving Trey Pipkins or Storm Norton a shot to start if they’ve shown the required leap in the first couple of preseason games but they’re not dominant against backups in preseason I will be hoping that Tom Telesco is looking to grab a veteran… Maybe at final roster cuts. However, for now, I’d be happy to see Daryl Williams come in as a free agent – I know it’s not perfect but it’s the best we can do at the moment.
Ash – I’ve never been happier to see the quality of players we have at our disposal than in 2022, But these questions always bring up areas of concern. RT and LB would probably be areas we could address via trade or FA. But I’m gonna have fun here and help out Herbert. A few people were tagging us with a YAC WR in last year’s draft, so let’s go get Herbert, a Swiss army knife in Laviska Shenault. Jacksonville has a crowded wide receiver group and could use some capital for their rebuild in next year’s draft. Grabbing their now probable WR4, to have on a rookie deal could be win-win for both organisations giving us a big bodied WR that we all hoped Joe Reed would have been. A 2023 4th or 5th may be enough to get that done.
If this all goes wrong, not that it is going to of course, is anyone on the hotseat on this coaching staff or in the front office?
Lee – I could make a case for Staley being on the hot seat if the Chargers don’t make the playoffs this year. He gets a pass for last year because he simply didn’t have the horses he needed to run his scheme, but now he’s got pretty much everything. Now it’s time to prove that he’s the defensive genius he was billed as. It sounds harsh, and I don’t want to it seem like a dig – I’ve got every confidence in him and the team but it’s time to prove that the Chargers can do it and be more than offseason darlings.
Ash – With how much money and assets this defense has had thrown at it this off season, I’d say Renaldo Hill has to get this defense firing on all cylinders. If he doesn’t? we could be seeing a New DC in LA come 2023.
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However, we know that the Chargers are going to have a great season, so what is your final record prediction?
Lee – I think we go 12-5 this year and depending on results against the other AFC West teams, that could be enough to win the division, which would be huge! The division is going to be insane. A good start is a must but on their day, this team is going to be able to beat any team in the NFL. If they hit the playoffs as a divisional winner they’ll feel battle hardened after the season they’ll have put together and be a problem for anyone they play in the postseason. The ceiling is unlimited for this team in 2022.
Ash – This is the year we start HOT! 6-1 before the bye in week 8, Only losing to them pesky Chiefs in arrowhead. After the bye it’s an up and down typical Chargers losing when we should of won, and Winning when frankly we should of lost going 4-4 before the Battle of LA. This is the defining moment of our season beating the current Super Bowl champions in Sofi giving us a record of 11-5 before going to Denver. Due to us already making the playoffs Staley rests Justin which into gives us a loss in mile high finishing with 11-6 record.
Alright that’s a wrap for these preseason questions. I’m sure we can bookmark this one for future reference and look back on later in the year to see how close to the truth our answers turned out to be.
Check us out and give us a follow on Twitter – @PowderBReport, and follow each of the guys, follow Lee @Wakefield90 and Ash on @tillsa9909s.
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