Aug. 24, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA: San Diego Chargers offensive tackle King Dunlap (77) against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
I’ll be the first one to boldly pronounce it.
The Chargers need a pass rush more than they need pass protection.
“Worst line in the league” most people would say. Well I say, check the stats. The Chargers offensive line allowed the twelfth-fewest QB hits in 2014. Yes, you read that correctly. Matter of fact, quarterbacks Russel Wilson, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, and Drew Brees all took more hits than Philip Rivers did this season. With 75 hits on the season, that averages out to less that 5 per game.
So why did they seem so dreadfully awful? The Chargers offensive line woes were compounded by the endless injuries and position shakeups. A fresh start to a healthy season could do wonders for this offensive line unit. By no means am I saying that they don’t need to draft or sign help, but having four centers in one season doesn’t do any offense any favors. Then there is the cold hard fact that Rivers is far from being a mobile quarterback. When under pressure, you hold your breath and pray that he tucks the ball and goes down rather than suffering the inevitable strip sack trying to elude the defender.
So flip to the defensive side of the ball. The Chargers ranked 30th in sacks this season with just 26 as a team. With names like Dwight Freeney, Melvin Ingram, Corey Liuget, and Jarret Johnson out there, it seems unfathomable to be ranked that low. Aging veterans Freeney and Johnson could both be gone next season, so the defensive line could use all the help it can get. Although most wouldn’t agree upon first glance, it is truly the most glaring need.
Oct 5, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Dwight Freeney (93) and defensive end Corey Liuget (94) look at an iPad on the sideline as nose tackle Sean Lissemore (right) talks to defensive back Jahleel Addae (one from right) during the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports