Los Angeles Chargers: Ready to end the Chiefs’ reign of terror in the AFC West
Best Case: Justin Herbert Isn’t Throwing To Sixth-Stringers All Year, Defense Ascends To Elite Status
Justin Herbert, the social media quarterback, is a polarizing player in NFL circles. While most will agree Herbert is supremely talented — and one of the best at his position — some believe he gets pampered with excuses any time he falls short.
I get the sentiment around Herbert, but it is disingenuous — to say the least. Not only does Herbert consistently elevate the talent around him, but he also racks up historic numbers in the process. In the same vein as Andrew Luck, both talented signal-callers faced pushback from the general audience.
Well, I’m here to say that 2023 will put this debate to rest. Herbert himself is healthy entering the year after dealing with an ailing rib cage all of 2022. On top of that, his pass catchers are healthy for once. If Keenan Allen and Mike Williams stay on the field, rookie Quentin Johnston will join them to create a stacked trio of receivers.
The defense is always underwhelming it seems, but I am buying in. Joey Bosa will put together a Defensive Player of the Year case, with teammate Derwin James hot on his heels. Khalil Mack ideally finds the fountain of youth and turns back the clock for one more elite season.
Health is wealth for the Chargers. If all things go according to plan, Los Angeles has a chance to supplant the Chiefs in the AFC West. Keeping everyone on the field is far and away the best-case scenario for the team.
Worst Case: Justin Herbert Receives No Help And Underperforms As A Result
What if Keenan Allen and/or Mike Williams deal with injuries again in 2023? Or will Joey Bosa and Derwin James face this fate on the other side? One major injury could be enough to tank the playoff hopes in LA. Given the Chargers’ track record, it is tough to project a fully healthy slate from every key starter.
As stated previously, Herbert is good enough to carry teams to victory on any given week. However, in 2022, it showed that the star quarterback can only take the team so far. He needs healthy weapons and a defense to rely on if Los Angeles wants to make good on its Super Bowl aspirations.
Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario would see the Chargers deal with constant injury and miss the playoffs altogether. This result could stifle all the momentum the Bolts have built in recent years.