Chargers’ Inman gained 3rd-most yards off play-action passes in 2016

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Dontrelle Inman
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Dontrelle Inman /

Chargers’ Dontrelle Inman stepped up in 2016. He especially thrived in one area.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Dontrelle Inman was very effective when the Chargers ran play action.

According to Pro Football Focus, Inman gained the third-most yards (381) off play-action passes in 2016. Falcons’ Julio Jones (570) and Bengals’ A.J. Green (478) ranked first and second, respectively. With new head coach Anthony Lynn putting emphasis on the run game, it should open up more opportunities for play-action passes if running back Melvin Gordon continues to shine.

It also helps that Inman’s quarterback, Philip Rivers, has been lights out when using play action over the past four years.

Philip Rivers is routinely one of the most effective play action passers. Will they run more of it under new HC Anthony Lynn?

— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 27, 2017

Inman played and started all 16 games in 2016, finishing the year with 58 receptions for 810 yards and four touchdowns, all of which were career highs. The 28-year-old signed his one-year, $2.746 million tender in the offseason. He underwent core muscle surgery in May but is expected to be ready for training camp.

Inman will most certainly take a step back in 2017. No. 1 receiver Keenan Allen is reportedly back to his old self after recovering from a torn ACL suffered in Week 1 of last season. The Chargers also drafted former Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams in the 2017 draft; he was picked No. 7 overall for a reason (but he is dealing with a back issue). With all the attention on those two, many are forgetting about Tyrell Williams. Williams, a 2015 undrafted free agent, led the Chargers in receiving yards (1,059) in only his second year with the team. The Chargers also have Travis Benjamin, a 2016 free-agent acquisition who played well before getting banged up.

That doesn’t mean Inman won’t be a part of the team’s plans. He’s a sure-handed receiver with decent route-running who’s come up big at times. He’s also built a solid rapport with Rivers, so expect offensive coordinator Ken Whisehunt to keep the former undrafted free agent involved.

Inman would likely be the No. 2 on several teams, so having him as the No. 3 or 4 option is a luxury. Plus, this position group gets hurt more often than not, so it’s a good thing the Chargers have a solid player like Inman on the roster.