The Los Angeles Chargers had an undeniably successful season, but their year still ended in an incredibly disappointing way. After going 12-4 and winning a playoff game on the road, they were annihilated by the New England Patriots in the divisional round.
The Chargers have a ton of talent but will be forced to compete annually with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs within the AFC West. Here are their three most pressing questions heading into the offseason:
1. How will they improve the offensive line?
The offensive line was a mess all season, and it got exposed in the playoffs. The Patriots pressured Philip Rivers on nearly every drop back, and the offense couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm because of the line
Russell Okung is fine at left tackle and Mike Pouncey was good enough at center, but both guards and right tackle Sam Levi should be replaced. The Chargers need to draft a guard early in this April’s draft and should also sign one in free agency. It’s the most important issue for them to address.
2. Will they draft a quarterback?
Rivers is still playing at an elite level, but it can’t hurt to start looking for his successor. Many projected the Chargers to take a quarterback early last year, and it’s possible they make the plunge this season. Quarterbacks can fall off at any time, and right now the Chargers only have Geno Smith and Cardale Jones behind Rivers. Having a new young quarterback to develop would be a good thing.
3. Will they bring back Antonio Gates?
Gates is one of the best tight ends to ever play the game, and his career looked to be over last season after the Chargers opted not to re-sign him. But then Hunter Henry tore his ACL, and Gates was brought back at the last minute.
He ended up having a serviceable season, catching 28 passes for 333 yards in a part-time role. He’s indicated he wants to continue playing, but Henry will be back next season. It’ll be interesting to see what the Chargers do with the future Hall-of-Famer in 2019.