Melvin Gordon took steps forward in 2017, having his first 1,000 yard season in his career. He also emerged as a receiving option for Rivers coming out of the backfield.
The other player who broke out late in the campaign was Austin Ekeler. An undrafted free agent who signed with the Chargers in 2017, Ekeler had five touchdowns coming on late in the season last year. Unfortunately, his season was ended by a broken hand, but it’s clear that he’s cemented himself as the No. 2 back.
What the Chargers need to improve, and have improved so far in the offseason is run blocking. From the offensive line to the tight ends playing just off of it, it’s clear the Chargers needed some improvement.
Signing Mike Pouncey, a solid center, as well as a solid run-blocking tight end in Virgil Green is a start. The Chargers will also be getting back their 2017 second-round pick in Forrest Lamp from injury, one of the highest rated offensive lineman in that draft.
The Chargers’ O-Line was absolutely dreadful in 2016. It was one of the reasons the offense struggled so hard despite having so much talent on the offensive side of the ball.
In 2017, there was improvement. Lynn tore up how the line looked in 2017 and has continued to mold and add pieces since he’s come in.
He drafted guys like Dan Feeney and Lamp, as well as signing free agents like Pouncey and Russell Okung. The O-Line was definitely on the up in 2017, from its incredibly disjointed state under Mike McCoy, but still has its issues.
Spencer Pulley struggled at points, as was the case with right tackle Joe Barksdale. It’s going to be make or break for these guys this year. We’ll have to see how they play. They allowed less sacks and allowed the run game to open up, but they need to go further in 2018 and continue to develop continuity to improve.