The San Diego Chargers left Oakland on Sunday with a bitter taste in their mouth and plenty of disappointment. There were some bright spots though on that nice Sunday afternoon. The brightest might have been the debut of embattled defensive lineman, Joey Bosa. Bosa showed a of good things that make it look like the Chargers were right to pick him at number three in the draft.
Tackles for Loss
Perhaps the most relevant thing that Bosa showed, was hustle. Every fan wants to see a player that gives hius all for his team. Bosa was flying all over the field as he wreaked havoc on the Raiders Offense. The two most obvious showcases were his first sack where he never gave up on the play and chased down Derek Carr; and a pass to the sideline where Bosa chased him down from behind. It was a small sample that did not allow him to get too tired, but he showed a tirless motor and hunger to get to where the ball is. The defense needs this attitude to finish plays and make big plays.
Bosa also lived in the backfield on Sunday. He had two sacks and three tackles for a loss. That is great, considering he was only on the field for 27 snaps. Bosa regularly was in the backfield and disrupting plays. He was also constantly putting pressure on Carr. He made backs make adjustments to escape in the backfield. The Chargers have missed a presence like this and this will open up lanes for linebackers and give them more time to penetrate to the ball as the backs make adjustments.
Overall, Bosa showed lots of promise in a small sample size. He also showed great poise after the game when answering interviews. If he continues to develop and keeps showing the motor we saw on Sunday, Bosa can be a stud for the Chargers. They might have a devensive stalwart in the category of Khalil Mack. Bosa can become a solid part of a young defensive corps alongside Denzel Perryman, Jason Verrett, and Manti Te'o. Bosa should have another good day heading into a matchup with the Denver Broncos, where he will have an opportunity to take advantage of a not so great offensive line.
Aer losing fan favorite Danny Woodhead for the season, the Chargers were short-handed at the running back position. Tuesday they announced the signing of Dexter McCluster to help replace him.
McCluster was a star at Ole Miss before being drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. He was seen as too small for the position at 5'9" and 170 pounds. He filled a role similar to Darren Sproles on the Saints as a third down back, receiver, and returner. In 2013 he made the Pro Bowl as a returner and was votes second team All-Pro. After four years he signed with the Titans in free agency and was featured in the same type of role while seeing a little more playing time.
During his college and pro career, McCluster has shown excellent elusiveness and catching ability. He also will boost the return game as he did in Kansas City. He also has familiarity with Ken Wisenhunt after playing for him in his time in Tennessee. He will probably see a small role this week before sliding into the role that Woodhead filled. After learning the playbook he should be an excellent addition to the Charpers and should ease the pain of losing Woodhead.
With Woodhead gone for the season, the Chargers are now in the market for a running back that can spell Melvin Gordon on carries and still be just as effective. Below are the best options for the Chargers to either sign or trade for.
Hillman first burst onto the sign as a star playing for San Diego State. He has ties to San Diego and Qualcomm Stadium. He also has a similar skill set to what Danny Woodhead offered. He's a runner with great speed and elusiveness that also has reliable hands. He also is still young, allowing for upside in the future. He would be an ideal fit as a change of pace back to the bigger and more powerful Melvin Gordon and Andre Williams. The Chargers can sign him for pretty cheap and would also have a hometown kid that the fans can connect to.
Spiller was once a first round pick that was seen as a dynamic threat all over the field. He has had trouble with I juries, but has the perfect skill set to dominate in the Chargers rotation. He is incredibly elusive and has very good hands. He fits the same role that Woodhead filled and will be looking to prove himself after doing nothing with the Saints.
Brown knows the system that the Chargers run after spending the las two seasons there. He also is a home run hitter that can break any play wide open. With his knowledge of the playbook he can fit right into the rotation. He did struggle in San Diego though, which will make the Chargers wary of signing him.
Barner has shown electric ability with the Eagles, but is buried on a full depth chart. The Chargers can most likely get him for a 4th or fifth round pick. This would be a steal since he is just like Woodhead, but with game breaking speed. He would be the perfect compliment to Gordon and Williams.
Cunningham is a very underrated running back that has solid hands and is a decent runner. The Chargers could probably steal him wit a 5th or 6th round pick and get a solid back that can fit right into the passing game and offer some help.