No one is really surprised that the Los Angeles Chargers started 0-4 this season, but the tides may be turning for them. The bolts on their jersey’s must have recently been charged and activated because the Chargers finally have games in the win column. After beating both the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders, the Chargers continue to find themselves fourth in their division at 2-4, but there is still a variety of possible outcomes that will depend on how team records continue to change. Can the Los Angeles Chargers restore their season? Maybe, but they are going to have to pull some tricks out of the bag.
Teams can become quite predictable when it comes to their go to players. The Chargers are no different. It comes as no shock to see players such as Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen, and Melvin Gordon get utilized often in an effort to eat up yards and make it into the end zone. Certainly, do what works, but targeting the same key players means that others are not being put to use. Essentially, there are athletes in uniform on the field, but acting as ornamentation.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry in particular has recently emerged from the shadows and proven his value to the team in a way that makes you wonder why he was not an active part of the Chargers’ passing game earlier in the season. Part of the reason Henry was not targeted early on in the season is due to the fact that the primary focus was to give Antonio Gates every opportunity to break the NFL’s all-time touchdown receiving record for tight ends.
Ever since Gates broke the record during Week two against the Miami Dolphins, we have seen Henry play more snaps than Gates. Henry wasted no time demonstrating his abilities and effectiveness on the offensive side of the ball. In both winning games, Henry was a pivotal part of offensive drives that contributed to the Chargers victory. So far, he has 17 receptions for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Averaging 13.4 yards per catch, it is easy to see why he is a threat for opponents and a new trick for the Charges to play since teams have not had much of a reason to watch out for Henry. People should be taking notice of number 86 now because we will probably be seeing him get targeted more as he has shown himself to be a reliable go-to guy.
Although the Chargers have ended strong in their last two games, their starts have been incredibly slow. Even the team’s offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said, “We’ve struggled to start.” The Charges need to show the league a new trick by coming out of the gate strong and getting points on the board earlier in the game. Philip Rivers also touched on the fact that the Chargers have been able to inject urgency into their execution of plays when the game is on the line, but the entire game needs to be played that way.
The Chargers still have some work to do, but the good news is that either the Chargers are sucking a little less, or other teams are sucking a little more. Either way, the momentum is currently on the Chargers side, and they need to take advantage of it by utilizing different players and having stronger starts. Maybe then, they will be in a position to be at least be a wildcard team.
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