ESPN’s Bill Barnwell ranks Chargers’ offensive weapons No. 7 in NFL
By Matt Pagels
How good is the Los Angeles Chargers’ offensive arsenal? ESPN’s Bill Barnwell puts them in the top 10.
Don’t let last year’s record fool you: The Los Angeles Chargers have a sneaky amount of talent on their roster.
On paper, the Chargers are dangerous, especially on offense.
According to ESPN staff writer Bill Barnwell, the Chargers rank No. 7 overall in his offensive weapons ranking. Barnwell’s list is based off the talent of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends without the influence of quarterbacks, offensive linemen or offensive coordinators.
Here’s what Barnwell had to say:
“Melvin Gordon, so disappointing as a rookie, broke out as a workhorse and averaged 24.3 touches per game before getting hurt in December. Tyrell Williams came out of nowhere to post a 1,000-yard season. Dontrelle Inman outperformed free-agent addition Travis Benjamin. Hunter Henry began to take over for Antonio Gates.”
The Chargers drafted former Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams with the No. 7 overall pick and are getting current No. 1 receiver Keenan Allen back from injury. Despite a very young (only tight end Antonio Gates is on the other side of 30 among this group) and talented bunch, Barnwell is concerned with injuries.
“The Chargers are already worried about first-round pick Mike Williams, who has been sidelined since the first practice of minicamp with a back injury. Allen has missed 23 of the past 24 games and hasn’t played a single 16-game season as a pro. Gordon has dealt with knee injuries in each of his first two years, and there’s little depth at running back. Gates is 37 years old. The Chargers could be a top-three unit if everyone stays healthy, but it’s foolish to count on that happening.”
Barnwell sums it up perfectly. If the Chargers can stay healthy, the sky is the limit for the offense. Unfortunately, that’s a BIG if. They had a league-high 21 players on injured reserve in 2016.
Surprisingly with so many starters going down, the Chargers still managed to finish with 25.6 points per game last season, good for ninth in the league (shows how deep they are on offense). They hadn’t ranked in the top 10 in that category since 2011. The Bolts also finished in the top 15 in total offense the last two seasons (just think what QB Philip Rivers could do with ALL of his weapons healthy and at his disposal).
Even though it wasn’t a part of Barnwell’s take, poor offensive line play and subpar coaching were also big reasons why the Chargers faltered the past two seasons. Significant changes were made this offseason to help turn things around in those departments.
Overall, I agree with Barnwell that the Chargers’ offense has the makings of a top-three unit. NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal is also high on L.A.’s “sexy offense.” Hopefully, the Chargers can get some luck on their side when it comes to health because the potential is there.