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Chargers OLB Kyle Van Noy Explains Why He Believes Playoff Experience is Overblown

Is playoff experience overblown? Kyle Van Noy shares why he thinks so.

COSTA MESA – The Chargers have begun preparations for the organization's first playoff game since 2018. It's a roster of which has battled mounting injuries nearly all season, but stacked wins down the final stretch, winning four of their last five games in becoming the AFC's No. 5 seed.

As the Chargers have their sights set on the Jaguars, who they'll face Saturday night at TIAA Bank Field, there's a revenge factor at stake. The Chargers were blown out in their first meeting against Jacksonville in Week 3, falling to the score of 38-10.

But a lot has changed since then. Particularly, the personnel for the Chargers.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley has experienced the playoffs before as an assistant, but this will be his first time as the head man in charge. It will also be a first for many of the players on the Chargers' roster. 

But does playoff experience truly hold any value?

Outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy doesn’t believe so.

Van Noy, the 31-year-old edge rusher who's appeared in 12 playoff games and has won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, definitively downplayed the thought of playoff experience being an important factor.

"Experience really doesn't matter during this time because there's guys that have lots of experience that have made bonehead plays in the playoffs," Van Noy said. "So that experience didn't work in that particular situation. Home field advantage, I think that's a myth too."

If anyone knows a thing or two about playing under the bright lights of the playoffs, it's Van Noy. He carries with him more exposure to playoff games than any other player on the Chargers roster.

"I don't think playoff experience means anything. It really doesn't matter," Van Noy said. "There's lots of examples of it. One that comes to mind are the Bengals last year. I think it comes back to the preparation you make and just winning your one-on-one matchups, playing team defense and complimentary football."

Van Noy's point proves to be valid. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow didn’t have any playoff games under his belt last season prior to leading his team to three consecutive victories, including two on the road, that propelled them to a trip to Super Bowl LVI.

As Van Noy has shared his stance on playoff experience being more of an overblown tactic than anything, his voice in the Chargers' building has carried weight.

Van Noy led a players-only meeting, offering his perspective on what truly matters come playoff time. Linebacker Drue Tranquill, who has yet to appear in the postseason throughout his four-year career, echoed Van Noy's thoughts.

"Kyle van Noy has the most playoff experience on our team. He said 'hey, you're gonna hear everybody talking about playoff experience here, experience there,'" Tranquill said of Van Noy's message to the team. "He's like, 'look at the Bengals last year. A lot of guys on that team had little playoff experience and they're in the dance at the end.'" 

While the Chargers have reached unfamiliar territory for many on the roster, wide receiver Keenan Allen said he's emphasized to teammates this mission of making the playoffs and perhaps putting together a run, isn’t guaranteed every season.

“This is my 10th year and third time going," Allen said of what he's told the team this week. "That should let you know everything. This ain't promised. You gotta go for it all when you get the chance."

The Chargers finished the regular season with a 10-7 record. Against teams that reached the playoffs, they were 1-5. Kickoff for Saturday's Wild Card game between the Chargers and Jaguars is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. PT.

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.