San Diego Chargers running backs struggled to even get out of the backfield with their offensive line last season. Melvin Gordon will be hoping for better.
The San Diego Chargers running game was ridiculously awful last season. The team lost Danny Woodhead early in the year and Ryan Mathews went down for most of the season with an injury also. SHOCKING!
The biggest struggle for the running game was the play up front with all the injuries to the offensive line. The team went through 5 trillion starting centers during the year and that showed in the play with the offensive line.
Pro Football Focus released some stats recently that showed how tough it was for our backs to get out of the backfield. PFF went around the league to see which backs were hit the most behind the line of scrimmage and here is what they returned.
Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown were in the top 5 on getting hit in the backfield. Somehow, Branden Oliver was only hit 18% of the time in the backfield when he touched the football. How did Branden Oliver avoid all that mess back there?
If you check out the stats on backs getting hit deep in the backfield (3+ yards in the backfield), then we have two Chargers backs at the top of the list. Here are the stats for that:
That is freaking SAD! No wonder the team was looking to sign Orlando Franklin as quickly as they could when free agency opened up. This team needed a big dude to pound on defenses and to create some holes. The whole offensive line will need to step their games up to create some space for Melvin Gordon to run free. Even our first round draft pick would struggle if he were hit that many times in the backfield.
Gordon worked with one of the best offensive lines in the college game and there were times that he barely was even touched when he ran the ball. It is going to be a drastic change for him joining in with the Chargers. The offensive line has been upgraded, but we still have to see if they can create some space for Melvin to move. Melvin will need a little bit of room to work. Can the Chargers offensive line create it for him?
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