Analytics suggest Chargers headed toward bounce-back year

Good Morning.

Bill Barnwell of ESPN points to the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers as teams that will be improved based on some selected analytics from the previous season.

According to Barnwell, the Chargers had a point differential of a six-win team in 2015, but managed just a 4-12 record.

Barnwell also notes San Diego finished 3-8 in games decided by seven points or fewer. Mike McCoy finished 9-7 in games decided by seven points or fewer in his first two seasons with the Chargers.

My take: Any time you have a quarterback like Philip Rivers, your team has a chance at success. But as Barnwell points out, McCoy’s Chargers must be better in close games.

Nick Canepa of The San Diego Union-Tribune writes that he believes the Chargers can win the AFC West.

Canepa: I realize yelling is the new cool, so I won’t raise my voice above a whisper when I say this. San Diego can win the AFC West. It can make the playoffs. And if you’re a pig, I’m not asking for flight lessons. Seriously. They can. The division isn’t of nuclear strength.

My take: While not impossible, a lot would have to go right for the Chargers to win the AFC West.

In this conversation with Dan Sileo of The Mighty 1090 AM Radio, McCoy says the top priority heading into the start of training camp is focusing on winning the close games. The Chargers were 3-9 in games decided by eight points or less.

My take: That’s something I believe McCoy has some control over and can do a better job -- managing in-game decisions in the final minutes that affect the outcome of games. I’m interested to see how he improves in those situations in 2016.

Carl Yedor of Football Outsiders takes an analytics-based look at the top cornerback performances from 2015. Patrick Robinson, now with the Indianapolis Colts, finished among the league leaders in adjusted yards per target while with the Chargers last season. Jason Verrett ranked No. 8 among NFL cornerbacks in adjusted success rate.

My take: Verrett anchors a secondary that should be among the best in the AFC West in 2016.