The Los Angeles Chargers are a much different team than the 2020 version under Anthony Lynn. New head coach Brandon Staley has shot some energy into this group, and Justin Herbert is dealing week in and week out.
In turn, the Chargers are toward the top of the AFC West and in an excellent position to rattle off some wins and improve their chances of making the playoffs. But, with the NFL trade deadline approaching, general manager Tom Telesco should sit back and try and make an addition to help this team. One team that could help is the Chicago Bears.
The Chargers are playing well on offense after a stellar offseason
The offense is firing on all cylinders. Herbert is playing well, Austin Ekeler is doing what everybody expected, and Mike Williams has exploded onto the scene after an injury-riddled start to his career.
Keenan Allen has seen his workload shrink a bit, primarily due to the emergence of Williams. Veteran tight end Jared Cook has been a good option after Hunter Henry dashed for the New England Patriots in the offseason.
Shockingly enough, the Chargers added a multitude of offensive line options in the offseason, with All-Pro center Corey Linsley being the most significant addition in recent memory.
But, they did suffer an injury to Oday Aboushi and have used a flurry of guys to fill in for him. It hasn’t mattered too much, and a lot of that could be attributed to the play of rookie Rashawn Slater. He even popped in at #2 on ESPN’s rookie rankings — behind Cincinnati Bengals youngster Ja’Marr Chase.
With all this, the Chargers’ offense should be fine as long as Herbert can continue to play at a high level. With everything we have seen from him, why wouldn’t he?
The Chargers defense has been a sour spot despite bringing in Brandon Staley
When the Chargers hired Brandon Staley as the head coach, the excitement began. Why?
He spent one year as the defensive coordinator for the LA Rams and walked away with the top defense in the league. That’s why.
Staley grabbed the headset and decided to call the plays on defense, something a bit unorthodox for NFL head coaches — let alone a rookie head coach.
However, through the first six weeks of the year, the defense has been the biggest concern in LA. Even with the return of superstar safety Derwin James, they have struggled to hold opponents off the scoreboard.
The Chargers’ defense is middle of the pack in points against and holds their own against passing offenses. However, the biggest problem is the rushing defense.
The Chargers defense ranks dead last in rushing yards and yards per attempt and 27th in rushing scores — a number that needs fixing moving forward.
So, how can the Chargers fix that? Getting Justin Jones back is one way. But, making a call to the Chicago Bears is another way to fix this issue.
Call the Bears and acquire Akiem Hicks
Yes, Akiem Hicks. Is he a Pro Bowl talent? No, but he doesn’t need to be. At this point, the Chargers need to do whatever it takes to fix their glaring issues against the run.
Nick Chubb blitzed this group for 1616 yards on 21 carries. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott combined for 180 yards and two scores in Week 2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a breakout game in Week 3 with 17 carries for 100 yards. Should we go on?
The rushing defense has been nonexistent, and it is painful to watch. Bringing in Hicks is a move that would undoubtedly help.
Moreover, the Bears have essentially no reason to hang on to the veteran, especially with the way the season is going in Chicago. Hicks is on an expiring deal and set to hit free agency in the offseason, so recouping any asset for him would be beneficial for Chicago.
Oh, and Staley and Hicks spent time together in Chicago when the Chargers head coach was the linebackers coach. System familiarity is always a key — especially midseason — and both Hicks and Staley have that with one another.
According to Daniel Popper of The Athletic, it might not take much, and the Chargers would only absorb $6 million the deal.
The Bears’ playoff hopes are gone. The Chargers, however, can make a serious run at the AFC West crown, even more with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs struggling.
Perhaps Matt Nagy could do the Chargers a favor in what could be his final days in Chicago.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference