The Los Angeles Chargers did well to upgrade what was already a talented team. With that said, what is the Bolts’ biggest remaining weakness?
For a 5-11 team, the Chargers have a ton of talent. Bad luck, brutal injuries and poor coaching did them in last season.
Heading into 2017, the Chargers look very good on paper. If you look closely, they have very few holes on their roster.
So what is their biggest weakness? NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal listed each AFC team’s remaining weak spot, and for the Chargers it was the offensive line. Here’s what Rosenthal had to say:
“Philip Rivers’ offensive line looks far better on paper after the team drafted two promising guards early in the draft and replaced previous free-agency mistakes at left tackle with Russell Okung. That means there will be at least three new starters, however, and it’s hard to trust GM Tom Telesco can fix the offensive line when he’s struggled to do it so often before.”
Rosenthal’s not wrong. We don’t know what we’re getting with the new crew. Last year’s starting linemen, LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin and RG D.J. Fluker, are all gone, with Matt Slauson (whose position could change) and Joseph Barksdale (who needs to prove his worth) the only two returning. This new-look line now includes veteran LT Russell Okung and rookies Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney.
The Chargers got players that fit their scheme better. More importantly, they have depth. The Chargers have young, athletic and versatile linemen in 2016 third-rounder Max Tuerk and 2016 undrafted free agent Spencer Pulley, both of whom have a chance to start on the interior. Guard Donavon Clark, a 2016 seventh-round pick, played well in the preseason before getting injured. Veteran swing tackle Chris Hairston and 2017 sixth-round tackle Sam Tevi round out the group (with the exception of a few other names). The tackle position will likely be a priority next year.
The Chargers made the right moves in trying to solidify what was their weakest spot on the roster, and that’s all you can ask for. The safety position was another glaring weakness, but the additions of former Panthers FS Tre Boston and 2017 draftees Rayshawn Jenkins and Desmond King (who has the versatility to man the slot), as well as the re-signing of the talented but oft-injured Jahleel Addae, makes this group less of a concern.
If there is one position that’s thin, it’s at running back. The Chargers arguably have a top-10 running back in Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon, but who’s behind him? Branden Oliver, Andre Williams, Kenneth Farrow, Kenjon Barner and Austin Ekeler are not going to scary anyone. That’s not saying they are bad players, they just haven’t proven anything yet.
The Chargers have the potential to boast one of the top offenses in the league. With new head coach Anthony Lynn, who is a running back guru, running things (see what I did there?), the running game could be great regardless if the backup to Gordon isn’t a household name.
But if Gordon, who ended on injured reserve the last two seasons, goes down with another injury, the Chargers will likely be panicking.