Chargers secondary with question marks, Patriots face mammoth task in AFC East
The L.A. Chargers have a competitive squad, but injuries had better not be one of them. New England will host the Patriots in a reunion of a rehearsed duo.
Los Angeles Chargers
Business as usual for the Chargers? Almost. Because the roster is almost the same as it was last season. LB Eric Kendricks was the exception, the 31-year-old came from the Vikings and brings eight years of experience. He could replace Kenneth Murray Jr, who never really sparked. There was more depth for the squad in the draft with receiver Quentin Johnston, who should provide more danger downfield with his speed. Also important, the front office has learned at least a little bit from the numerous injuries last season. Young talent, such as Edge Tuli Tuipulotu therefore serve as a backup. Also positive to report is the signing of new OC Kellen Moore. The playcaller should finally complement Herbert’s arm talent and revamp the passing game.
The secondary has been an absolute disaster, and there continues to be a question mark behind this unit. Asante Samuel Jr. and Michael Davis will likely start at cornerback, but behind them the quality drops off. J.C. Jackson has been injured, but had not delivered before. And now?
Motto of the season: Depth, more depth: The Chargers have first-class starters and in the draft they tried to provide more width in the squad. But if key players get injured, the Chargers will struggle once again.
New England Patriots
Mac Jones and Bill O’Brien share a very successful past at Alabama. O’Brien taking over as offensive coordinator is a plus for the Boston franchise. The offense continues to revolve around star player Rhamondre Stevenson. No one is fooling him in the running game anytime soon: over 1000 rushing yards, as well as five rushing touchdowns, 61.2 yards per game and averaging 5.0 yards per attempt. That ranked Stevenson among the top ten running backs in the league in 2022-23. In addition, the 25-year-old can also play a role in the receiving game. We are also excited about newcomer Mike Gesicki, who will replace Jonnu Smith. We can also expect more stability from the defense, which invested in the secondary with Christian Gonzalez and safety Marte Mapu in the draft.
Mac Jones urgently needs to improve, in 14 games the QB produced 14 touchdowns/ 11 interceptions with a completion rate of only 65.2%. Too little. Juju Smith-Schuster is also much slower than in his prime, but the offense lacks speed. With such a strong division (Bills, Dolphins and Jets) we see black concerning the playoffs.
Motto of the season: Where should the journey go? Boston doesn’t really know yet. We will see a better team than last year, but the glory days in New England are over for now.