After this weekend, the Rams’ season ends and the Chargers continue to play. Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller and Rams beat writer Gary Klein address fan concerns and questions:
How will it be decided which team will win a tiebreak for a higher seed in the playoffs? If Baltimore and the Chargers have the same record, which team is the fifth seed and why?
David Sanchez, Canoga Park
Miller: The first tiebreak is head to head. Because the Chargers and Ravens haven’t played each other this season, the next tiebreaker is a conference record. The Chargers are 7-4 in the AFC and the Ravens 6-5, giving the Chargers the advantage. If the conference records are equal, the next tiebreak is the record against common opponents.
Backup quarterbacks become increasingly important over the course of a season as starters get injured. How are backup quarterbacks selected and prepared?
Bill Francis, Pasadena
Small: Backup quarterbacks are signed by teams for a variety of reasons, including cost, experience, suitability for a system, and other factors. The Rams, for example, are paying starter Matthew Stafford tens of millions of dollars. Therefore, budget-wise, they choose not to invest heavily in backups. That was the philosophy when they returned to LA under former coach Jeff Fisher and how they worked under Sean McVay. Blake Bortles was a high-profile backup a few years back, but that was only because the Jacksonville Jaguars paid him so much after they fired him. Backups typically run offense against starting defense during pregame and assist the starter and quarterback coach during games.
The Chargers typically “dress” two QBs for the game day. If they both suffered concussions, who would be the “emergency QB”?
Jim Garman, Redondo Beach
Miller: Now that’s a question! Love it. My guess would be Keenan Allen, who’s someone we’ve seen throw at least one pass in a game. You could get into a wild situation with Austin Ekeler, which we also saw recently. Hey, Joshua Kelley threw a back pass the other day too.
Will the Rams take lessons from last season and field their first draft pick against an offensive lineman in the second round of the NFL draft in April?
Brian Haueter, Ventura
Small: Offensive linemen will be a priority for the Rams, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll pick a lineman with their first draft pick. That’s what they did last year when they picked offensive lineman Logan Bruss with their first pick — and then saw him pick up a season-ending knee injury in preseason. The Rams undoubtedly need to improve on this positional group, but the draft isn’t the only remedy. Trades and free agent signings are other avenues.
I wondered then, and three years later I’m still wondering, why did Miami think Tua Tagovailoa was better than Justin Herbert? Which begs the question, if Miami took Herbert, would the Chargers take Tua?
Bob Oh, Sylmar
Miller: In my opinion, the Chargers would have taken Tua Tagovailoa, yes. But that’s just a guess. In reality, we will never know for sure. Along the way to this draft, there were key questions about Justin Herbert, many of which centered on his leadership skills. It wasn’t shocking when Miami took Tagovailoa. The biggest problems with Tagovailoa were health related, which we are now seeing, unfortunately for him and the dolphins. But you can google it. At the time, many people had serious doubts about Herbert.
Actually no question. But a suggestion. The Chargers still have to give San Diego credit, man. There are still many San Diego fans attending the games up in LA. We’ve only been loyal San Diego fans for over 50 years, since their year-long stunt in LA when the organization was formed. More recognition for San Diego would definitely be a big plus in fan luck.
Josue Lopez, Oceanside, CA
Miller: Honest question: What would it look like to give San Diego a loan? I’m not sure what you think the chargers should do. I have no doubt that there are still many people in San Diego who follow the Chargers. I mean, the team just moved a short distance away. But they’re trying to put down roots in LA now, and that’s the focus of the franchise.
Will the Rams finally get their run game together? Is it more touches for the RBs? Will the line be given more complexity in its run-game blocking? Also, it seems that their running games weren’t as predictable and obvious.
Small: The Rams’ storming attack improved the last two games as running back Cam Akers appears to have finally regained the breakout he had before suffering an Achilles injury ahead of the 2021 season. Yes, that was a remarkable comeback he made for the final game of the regular season and the playoffs, but he didn’t look at all like the player who flashed as a rookie in 2020. Coach Sean McVay has given Akers more opportunities and the line has performed well of late. This late in the season there are no complexities being worked into the system. If anything, they’ve tried to make it easy to run.
Will Brandon Staley keep his job or will the Chargers hire Sean Payton? What is your opinion?
Rafael Castells, Naples, Fla.
Will the Chargers hire Sean Payton even if they make the playoffs?
Miller: I think Brandon Staley will keep his job. Anyone hiring Payton should keep two things in mind: he will want a gigantic salary and will cost several big draft picks. He’s still signed to New Orleans and the Saints will be demanding draft capital.
Who was the last NFL team to prevent their opponent from successfully converting a third down throughout an entire game? (With at least 10 attempts)
Winston Campbell, Alpine
Miller: The Chargers just did it against Indianapolis on December 26th. The Colts were 0 for 10.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2023-01-05/la-sp-nfl-readers-questions-rams-chargers-quarterbacks NFL readers Q&A: If Ravens, Chargers tied, what’s tiebreaker?