Ever since Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl back in 2020, they’ve been coined the NFL’s newest dynasty. At the very least, most expect them to control the AFC West for many years to come. One former NFL GM thinks a new challenger could emerge this upcoming season.
Former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum said during ESPN’s Get Up on Thursday he believes the Los Angeles Chargers have closed the gap with the Chiefs. In fact, he expects them to challenge Kansas City for the AFC West crown.
“I think they can compete this year for the playoffs and I don’t think there’s a big gap between the two,” Tannenbaum said of the Chargers in comparison to the Chiefs.
So what gives? Why will the Chargers challenge the Chiefs for the AFC West? Los Angeles’ pass protection – which ranked 31st in the NFL last season – should be improved, giving rising star Justin Herbert more time in the pocket. Even without much time in the pocket last season, the former Oregon Ducks star had one of the best seasons by a rookie quarterback in league history.
“He is a high-ceiling player, great work ethic,” Tannenbaum said of Herbert. “And last year, the Chargers were 31st in the NFL in pass protection. So they added three lineman, in terms of two in free agency and they added one in the draft, Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern. So with an improved offensive line, a healthy number of weapons, they have closed the gap dramatically with the Chiefs.”
Tannenbaum’s comments sparked a debated during Thursday’s edition of Get Up. Take a look below.
.@RealTannenbaum thinks the Chargers have “closed the gap dramatically” to the Chiefs in the AFC.
“I don’t think there’s a big gap between the two.” pic.twitter.com/r8FN4RBoR4
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) July 14, 2021
Until proven otherwise, the Chiefs will be the favorite not only in the AFC West, but the AFC as a whole. But there’s plenty of reason to believe the Chargers will be a legitimate playoff contender this upcoming season.
If Justin Herbert can out-duel Patrick Mahomes in their two head-to-head match-ups this upcoming season, Los Angeles could challenge for the AFC West.