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By: Michael Peterson
By the end of the season, the Chargers offense out-performed the defense.
Throughout the entire 2022 season, we highlighted the best and worst Pro Football Focus grades for Chargers players after each game of their 18 games played.
To cap it all off, we’re taking a look at the final overall season grades. This time, I went ahead and dropped some of my thoughts and added a little context, as well.
Let’s go ahead and dive right in.
(Min. 200 snaps)
WR Keenan Allen – 84.4
RB Austin Ekeler – 80.0
WR Mike Williams – 78.9
QB Justin Herbert – 77.9
C Corey Linsley – 74.0
Thoughts: This is how the top of the grades should look for the Chargers. The best players showed up and finished the season with the team’s top grades. Allen was as consistent as it gets down the final stretch once he returned from injury which tells us he’s likely not as washed as many want to believe now that he’s over 30 years of age. Herbert’s grade unsurprisingly leaves some on the table but he can only do so much when throwing to practice squad receivers for most of the season.
Linsley’s grade might come as a surprise, as well, but an elite pass block grade of 90.2 was balanced out by an average run block grade of 64.9. The run game struggled as a whole so there’s no reason to believe Linsley isn’t still one of the best pivots in the game.
Saturday Night Football between #BoltUp & #DUUUVAL Justin Herbert is going to look to connect with Keenan Allen this week with Mike Williams out. @DariusJButler shows how productive they can be together against both zone & man coverage. @gregcosell | @PlaybooKFoley pic.twitter.com/fVlWIUV6S1
— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) January 14, 2023
TE Tre’ McKitty – 32.2
OT Foster Sarell – 41.7
WR Michael Bandy – 52.7
C Will Clapp – 54.3
OG Matt Feiler – 54.6
Thoughts: Throughout the season, McKitty was constantly one of the lowest-graded players on the field for the Chargers. Many believed he was a reach in the third round of the 2021 draft but Tom Telesco preached that McKitty was “the last remaining pro-ready tight end” on their board, so they felt comfortable with the selection. Through his first two seasons, he’s been serviceable at best as a run blocker and currently has nine combined penalties/dropped passes compared to 16 career receptions. For a guy playing well over 500 snaps for the offense, that’s far too detrimental for a unit that needs consistency.
Sarell was thrown to the wolves this season following a nagging injury to Trey Pipkins. The front office didn’t do enough to reinforce depth at offensive tackle which forced Sarell into playing both right and left tackle at times in important games.
Rough sounds like an understatement when describing Feiler’s start to the 2022 season, but the veteran found a way to turn it around enough to help the Chargers win four of their last five to secure a playoff spot. It’s likely he’s replaced by Jamaree Salyer in 2023, but I’ve liked what he’s brought to the offensive line in his two seasons with L.A.
(Min. 200 snaps)
EDGE Joey Bosa – 76.0
S Derwin James – 75.9
CB Michael Davis – 73.8
CB Asante Samuel Jr. – 72.6
EDGE Khalil Mack – 71.9
Thoughts: Similar to what I said about the offense, it’s good to see the team’s best players here. However, these aren’t the best grades in the world but that’s not the most surprising thing after watching this unit falter early on.
At first glance, some of the biggest surprises are Mack’s middling grade and the absence of Drue Tranquill. Mack disappearing from the sack column for roughly half the season likely didn’t help his overall grade and some very bad tackling marks during the middle portions of the schedule also did him no favors.
Despite a breakout season for Tranquill, low marks in run defense (49.2) and tackling (52.1) were balanced out by solid grades in coverage (75.4) and pass rush (77.0) which left him with an overall grade of 66.3.
ASANTE SAMUEL JR. WITH HIS SECOND PICK OF THE FIRST QUARTER pic.twitter.com/V3j6qbrJh9
— PFF (@PFF) January 15, 2023
CB J.C. Jackson – 28.7
LB Kenneth Murray – 47.1
EDGE Chris Rumph – 48.5
DT Breiden Fehoko – 49.2
Sebastian Joseph-Day – 51.0
Thoughts: The two biggest offenders on the defense were at the bottom early in the season and never quite left. Jackson’s play was something to behold in his handful of games played this year, and not in a good way. He was on pace to allow an alarming amount of yards before his injury and looked nothing like the Patriots version of himself. I understand there was an injury, but according to Jackson, he was healthy and it came down to “fundamentals.”
Murray truly looked better during the Chargers’ four-game win streak near the end of the season, but two game grades in the 80s didn’t hold much weight against eight other games where he graded out below 50.0. His run defense grade of 28.2 was the lowest on the team which heavily out-weighed some average to above average marks in coverage (68.9) and pass rush (67.5).
Originally posted on Bolts From The Blue – All Posts