What do the Los Angeles Chargers have to do to overcome last season’s “almost”?

With the second-most available salary-cap space, there will be plenty of resources in Los Angeles to try to raise the level of talent on a near-playoff roster.

LOS ANGELES — It was an “almost” year for Los Angeles Chargers. They almost won enough games to get into the playoffs. it came down to the final game of the season, a game they almost won in overtime. But, they didn’t. las vegas raiders they defeated the chargers 35-32 with a field goal as time expired in Week 18, capturing the playoff spot coveted by the chargers.

the quarterback Justin Herbert solidified his role as an offensive superstar, throwing for 383 yards and three touchdown passes in that game, leading the chargers (9-8) back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime. He closed out the season throwing for 5,014 yards (second in the NFLjust behind Tom Brady) and 38 touchdown passes (third, behind Brady and matthew stafford). And, the future looks bright.

The Chargers received a full season from the safety Derwin James Jr..who missed most of the previous two seasons before landing a performance of Pro Bowl in 2021. The corridor austin ekler scored 20 touchdowns while wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams (who is a free agent) each had more than 1,100 receiving yards.

That’s the good news. The bad? The chargers were left in a kill-or-die situation against the raiders thanks to an inexplicable loss to the Texans (who finished the season at 4-13) in Week 16. Almost everyone (at least on the Los Angeles side) chargers), thought they would win that game, and the team was mentally crushed by the result, one that ended up being very costly, with the team missing the playoffs for the third straight season.

They need a restart and regroup, recruit well and will use their significant cap space (second-most in the league) to find defensive linemen and linebackers to help a vulnerable defense. Then, they will be a team that nobody wants to face.

They are almost there.

Projected Space Against Salary Cap: $54.61 million under the salary cap.

Top Free Agents: WR Mike Williams, LB Uchenna Nwosu, DE Justin Jones, DT Linval Joseph, CB Chris Harris Jr., TE Jared Cook, OG Oday Aboushi, LB Kyzir White.

Potential candidates to be cut: The right tackle Bryan Bulaga played only one game, injuring his back in Week 1 against Washington. He has played 11 games for the chargers since signing as a free agent in 2020 and will be 33 next season. He has one year left on his contract. The chargers need improvement, since Storm Norton didn’t step up in his place, and has suffered severely in big moments, including Week 18 against defensive end Pro Bowl of the RaidersMaxx Crosby.

The big question: What will the second-year head coach do Brandon Staleyand the general manager Tom Telesco to improve the club’s run defense? In the middle of the 2021 campaign, the chargers They were at the bottom of the NFL against the run, allowing opposing attacks to add more than 140 yards per game. That improved slightly down the stretch, but they still need to recruit wisely and count on what jones stay healthy up front (if the chargers they can hold him), with the defensive line struggling during the six games he missed. The defense finished last in third-down conversion percentage (49.5%), tied for 29th in points allowed (27.0) and 26th in expected points added (-80.49). Those figures need to be corrected chargers have to get into the playoffs, be contenders for the title of the AFC Westand have a chance to reach a superbowl.

Best possible scenario for the campaign break: TO Staley he likes activation and health drills, and they work hard on keeping players healthy. The defense improves thanks to the talent brought in through the draft and free agency, and players like the linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr..the other 2020 first-round pick for the chargers, take a step forward. Also, convince Williams to stay and build on the best year of his career, 2021, in The Angelswould help.

The worst possible scenario for the campaign break: That the bad luck of injuries of the chargers in campaign break it happens again, and again marginalizes a big name player, like Herbert. The chargers are unable to use their cap space to convince Williams to return and are unable to find an improvement for Cook as a tight end, leaving Herbert with fewer weapons. The defense is unable to find the right pieces in the corners or up front, and it all leads to another struggling season in 2022.

First look at the analyst draft for ESPNJordan Reid: Taking care of the offensive, defensive lines, and a cornerback are three essential points for the general manager Tom Telesco this offseason. Finding protection for one of the best young quarterbacks in the league is of the utmost importance. The chargers they hit it big with left tackle Rashawn Slater last season, and they could look to solidify the ends of the line with another tackle. Attacking a strong crop of cornerbacks is also another route they could take. The personnel in the middle of the defensive line need to improve, as well; they had the worst run defense in 2021.

Priority needs: IDL, CB, OT.

First turn: No. 17.

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What do the Los Angeles Chargers have to do to overcome last season’s “almost”?