The San Diego Chargers went 4-12 last season, they might be relocating, head coach Mike McCoy is on the hot seat, Philip Rivers turns 35 this year, Melvin Gordon had an awful rookie season, and Joey Bosa remains unsigned and publicly shamed.
Is there any reason to be optimistic in San Diego right now?
“It’s not looking great at this very minute,” former Charger and current San Diego radio host Rich Ohrnberger said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “But they’re rolling off this second preseason game win against the Arizona Cardinals, where, from a 1s-on-1s standpoint, they looked great. Definitely a sound performance in preseason Game No. 2. But with the Bosa fiasco, and they just found out yesterday they won’t have Damion Square available to them for the first four games due to a missed drug test – it’s been kind of a dark cloud hanging over the city of San Diego for the past couple days.”
Bosa, the No. 3 pick in the draft, remains at a contract standstill with the Chargers due to disputes over offset language and his signing-bonus payout. Assuming both sides finally reach an agreement, Ohrnberger believes that both the Chargers and their fans will welcome the Ohio State product with open arms.
“They’ll welcome him in,” Ohrnberger said. “Obviously contract negotiations with the Chargers historically have never (gone) as smoothly as with other teams. This is kind of the normal parlance with the Chargers, and like many other players in that locker room, they had to go through it too, so they’ll be welcoming of him. And you know what negates all these ugly negotiations? Great performance. So if Joey Bosa goes out there and has any sort of a rookie season that people were expecting from a third overall pick, I think all is forgiven.”
What can’t be forgiven is Melvin Gordon’s horrendous rookie season. The former Heisman finalist rushed for 641 yards, averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and failed to find the end zone last season.
“Very poor first year by their first-round draft pick from last year,” Ohrnberger said. “When Melvin Gordon came out of the University of Wisconsin, you figured he was going to be their bell cow all season, and he really did not produce. I give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s a rookie who was thrown into a situation where the expectations were extremely high. But in Year Two, you need to see the sort of stalwart performance out of a first-round draft pick. So far this preseason he’s picked it up. . . . But he needs to gain a lot of momentum (for the rest of the preseason). He needs to bolster his confidence. Last year was unacceptable. Year Two better be a lot – a lot – better.”
Even if it is and the Chargers make the playoffs, they could soon be out the door. Ohrnberger said there’s definitely some angst in the city over the team’s future.
“There is,” he said. “Oh, there is. When the stadium issue comes up, there is some angst. Nobody’s really sure what’s going to happen. There’s a ballot measure that was added to the ticket for the November vote, and the Chargers are pushing the campaign hard. That’s to get a downtown stadium approved. That’s an uphill battle. They need two-third of the votes – so 66 percent of the citizenship in San Diego have to agree that this is a good idea for the city. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t even get a 66 percent vote in my own house. So I have no idea how this is going to unfold.”