Friday, September 8, 2023

Los Angeles Chargers Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Los Angeles Chargers in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 9

On the hot seat: GM Tom Telesco, coach Brandon Staley

Entering his 11th season as general manager, Telesco has an outstanding record of first-round draft picks (including DE Joey Bosa, S Derwin James Jr., LT Rashawn Slater and QB Justin Herbert) but a less-than-stellar record on the field, where the Chargers have earned only three playoff berths. Staley is in his third season as coach and must lead this stacked roster to a playoff victory after his previous two seasons ended in painful disappointment, including a crushing 31-30 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 2022 wild-card playoff game despite holding a 27-0 lead with a minute left in the first half. If the Chargers don't produce in 2023, both Telesco and Staley are likely gone. -- Lindsey Thiry -- Rank: 12

Is Justin Herbert ready to make an MVP run? I'm not ruling it out. The Chargers' offensive line is as strong as it has been since his arrival. Assuming good health, I would say the same thing about the wide receivers. Austin Ekeler is back, still likely motivated by his contract desires. Throw in some weapons at tight end, and everything is there for Herbert to have a monster season -- even with a wicked schedule. Last season, Herbert played through a painful rib injury and a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. That shortened some of his pass attempts and minimized the threat of him scrambling. With Herbert and the offensive line healthy, new coordinator Kellen Moore can marry his north-south run game and vertical passing game to make this one of the NFL's most dangerous units.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 12

Will new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore unleash the power arm of Justin Herbert even more than in years past? He'd better do so. The Chargers have the talent, but it's time for Herbert and gang to win a playoff game.

USA Today -- Rank: 14

With Kellen Moore now calling the plays, QB Justin Herbert and a star-studded offense could be poised to set the league-wide pace on that side of the ball.

The Athletic -- Rank: 9

Best-case scenario: Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore proves to be the adult in the room Justin Herbert needed all along, and the offensive scheme finally embraces the power of his downfield passing ability after ranking a preposterous 31st in air yards per pass attempt a season ago. Last year's injuries along the offensive line prove to be a blessing in disguise, and Rashawn Slater and Zion Johnson form the best left side of an offensive line in the NFL. The defense remains about league average, but Joey Bosa and Derwin James help turn it into a turnover-forcing menace. Injuries in Kansas City open up the division to Los Angeles' taking.

Worst-case scenario: For what feels like the 100th consecutive year, the Chargers underperform their underlying ability and choke away another lead to close the season. Change-averse ownership chooses to run it all back again anyway.

FOX -- Rank: 11

Somehow, the Chargers managed to turn a playoff berth into a disappointment — which feels like Peak Charger Behavior. Kellen Moore is now on hand to unlock the offense, and his track record gives plenty of confidence that he will. Moore is going to find that there are much fewer eyeballs on him here than there were in Dallas, but the expectations should feel familiar. For Justin Herbert, nothing less than a real playoff run will suffice.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 14

The reports on first-round receiver Quentin Johnston weren't great. It also wasn't great that he played a lot in the preseason while Los Angeles' starters sat. Josh Palmer didn't play at all in the preseason, indicating Johnston hasn't passed him on the depth chart. There's still plenty of time for Johnston to get involved, but it might be slow at the beginning.

PFT -- Rank: 15

The seat can't get much hotter for Brandon Staley, and the only man who can put out the fire is Kellen Moore.

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