The Los Angeles Chargers, like every other NFL franchise, is now officially beginning preparations for the 2017 season. A day removed from arguably the greatest Super Bowl in history, ESPN released their first “Power Rankings” of the year.
The Los Angeles Chargers are locked in at number 25, only seven spots off the bottom of the league.
Yes the Chargers have finished last in the AFC West for the past two seasons but this team was so close to breaking out in 2016. Repeated devastating injuries and late-game collapses led to a lowly 5-11 record. However, minus a few key plays and this Chargers team could have easily been more competitive.
A new head coach, defensive coordinator, and change of scenery could all be benefits for an organization seeking a return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 season. Settling into their new rental home in Los Angeles the Chargers could benefit from winning early and generating a new found support for their product.
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Following is what ESPN had to say about their ranking.
Why they’re here: Consecutive last-place AFC West finishes, a coaching change and franchise relocation all add up to a fair amount of pessimism for 2017. The Chargers have a lot working against them before they take their first offseason snap. Their offensive line has been in shambles for years, and their defense is in need of work after allowing an average of 25.7 points per game the past two years — fifth highest in the NFL.
What could change: Defensive end Joey Bosa could blossom into an every-down game-wrecker in the mold of J.J. Watt after an entire offseason and training camp to refine his skills. New coach Anthony Lynn snagged Gus Bradley as his defensive coordinator, a good hire who could help the Chargers improve defensively in a hurry. If the Chargers can find a playmaking safety in the draft, their defense could at least hold its own in 2017.
Like the changes that have already taken place in 2017, expect the Chargers ranking to do so once games become the determining factor.