The Los Angeles Chargers are one of those NFL teams we only think about every few years when the New York Giants play them. Well, that is going to happen this Sunday. With that in mind, we turned to SB Nation’s ‘Bolts From The Blue’ to learn more about the Chargers. Michael Peterson answered our probing journalistic questions.
Let’s see how that conversation went.
Ed: As far as I can tell, Brandon Staley is drawing rave reviews as a rookie head coach. What are your thoughts on Staley? Have the Chargers perhaps found a long-term head coach?
Michael: Staley has been everything this team has needed in a head coach for well over a decade. He’s a progressive, forward-thinking coach that appreciates analytics and doing thing the right way, not just how they’ve always been done in the past.He’s an absolute breath of fresh air to speak with, as well. Unlike Anthony Lynn and Mike McCoy, Staley actually cares enough to speak with the media and he doesn’t just feed all of us “coach speak.” He takes the time to make sure he’s giving our questions thoughtful answers while also attempting to educate us on the game as much as possible.
Overall, unless there is a super uncharacteristic implosion of his staff, I don’t see how he isn’t the head coach of the Chargers for the foreseeable future. He’s been that good for the franchise and I believe he’ll only get better with each year that comes.
Ed: The Giants were thought to be heavily interested in Justin Herbert in 2019 before he went back to school. How fortunate do Chargers fans feel that he ended up with them?
Michael: Chargers fans couldn’t feel more blessed to have Herbert as their quarterback. As almost two decades of consistency with Philip Rivers, you couldn’t have picked a better replacement. While the two aren’t nearly comparable from a physical standpoint, they both have the mental makeup to be long-time starters in this league. Herbert is hyper competitive while also being one of the most even keel quarterbacks in the league. There aren’t many quarterbacks who can bounce back from interceptions and/or bad plays like he can.Herbert hasn’t finished year two in the NFL, but Chargers fans wouldn’t trade him for anyone. And I mean that.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants’ roster and put him in the Chargers’ lineup, who would it be? Why?
Michael: One player that I would love to snatch from the Giants roster is defensive lineman Leonard Williams. He’s truly come into his own over the past year and a player of his caliber along the interior of this front seven would be a huge upgrade over the likes of Justin Jones and Jerry Tillery. Pairing him with the steady Linval Joseph and the ferocious Joey Bosa sounds pretty good to me.This one is way less practical, but I would add Saquon Barkley in a heartbeat. Aside from Austin Ekeler, there’s almost zero production out of any in the backfield. The RB2 spot on the team is almost non-existent and Ekeler isn’t going to survive all that long if he’s forced to play 90 percent of the snaps in a 17-game season. Barkley’s skillset would also be a ton of fun in this offense as a Swiss Army knife.
Ed: Let me ask you about two former Giants. What roles are Linval Joseph and Kyler Fackrell playing for the Chargers’ defense?
Michael: Linval has been the only true nose tackle on the Chargers defense. Others will rotate in with him sparingly, but he’s been a huge part of this run defense turning their luck around in recent weeks. I’ve always been a fan of his game so when the Chargers signed him prior to the 2020 season, I was pretty stoked.
As for Fackrell, he hasn’t been as productive as I thought he’d be this year but you could say that for just about every other edge rusher on the team. At the same time, he’s second on the team in pass-rush win rate so it’s not like he’s doing poorly, by any means. I think he’s been a solid addition that simply gets his job done and avoids costing the team yards with penalties.
Ed: If the Giants are going to pull off an upset, what is that going to look like? Are there specific Los Angeles offensive and defensive weaknesses they might be able to exploit?
Michael: If the Giants hope to pull off an upset this Sunday, they’ll need to scheme up some excellent stunts and games up front defensively to rattle Herbert early. Teams like Baltimore and New England managed to get to him on the opening drives and that quickly led to interceptions and overall a bad experience for Herbert. If there’s an area to exploit on the offensive line, it’s definitely the right side which is being held down by two backup linemen.
Lastly, the Chargers have really struggled to take back momentum from teams who can run the football and dominate the time of possession. Take a look at the Chargers’ five losses and you’ll see that is the major theme across all of them.