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Five ways the Chargers can get into the playoffs in 2018

By in Press Enterprise on January 10, 2018

By Jack Wang

For the Chargers, a winning record felt like anything but.

They closed 2017 with a blowout of the division rival Raiders, who fired then-head coach Jack Del Rio before he even delivered his postgame comments at StubHub Center. But elsewhere in the stadium, Anthony Lynn didn’t sound much happier.

The Chargers’ first-year head coach had kept his command of the locker room despite an 0-4 start. He had gotten his players to nine wins, matching the franchise’s total over the previous two seasons.

And he had not done quite enough. The Chargers were pushed out of the playoff picture on tiebreakers, which left Lynn feeling glum despite his team losing just three times after Oct. 1.

Still, what he accomplished inspired hope at the team’s Costa Mesa headquarters.

“I really saw a high level of grit and determination that we just lacked last year,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said last week. “And I credit Anthony Lynn for that. Anthony has instilled that in this football team. …

“We’re talking about a team in a new market, in a new stadium, trying to get used to their surroundings. We started off poorly at 0-4 – ‘All right. Now, what are we going to do about it?’ And our head coach never flinched once.”

Thanks to Lynn, the Chargers might have laid a foundation for perennial playoff contention. Here are a few tasks that could help them stay on course in 2018:

KEEP GUS BRADLEY

The Chargers wouldn’t have dug out of their 0-4 hole if not for their stout defense, which hit its stride in October and was the team’s most consistent unit all season long. Much of the credit should go to Gus Bradley. After a failed head-coaching stint in Jacksonville, he thrived again as a defensive coordinator on the West Coast, turning the Chargers into a […]    

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