LA Chargers News

Chargers opt to gamble entire season on the growth of their offensive linemen

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 22: Chris Wormley #93 of the Baltimore Ravens sacks Philip Rivers #17 as Dan Feeney #66 and Michael Schofield #75 of the Los Angeles Chargers look on during the second half of a game at StubHub Center on December 22, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 22: Chris Wormley #93 of the Baltimore Ravens sacks Philip Rivers #17 as Dan Feeney #66 and Michael Schofield #75 of the Los Angeles Chargers look on during the second half of a game at StubHub Center on December 22, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 02: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers is wrapped up for a sack by Terrell Edmunds #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half during the game at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 02: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers is wrapped up for a sack by Terrell Edmunds #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half during the game at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Chargers appear to be all-in on their own players to develop along the offensive line, and will gamble the entire season on their improvement…

Chargers’ general manager Tom Telesco has done well in bringing in talent along the offensive line, from finding gem starters in King Dunlap to making fantastic coupon-cutting acquisitions like Mike Pouncey; however, despite the presence of a franchise quarterback and franchise running back, Telesco has never been able to put together a truly dominant front five. Whether due to a few bad contracts or a number of poor draft choices, the Chargers’ offensive line has never been a point of strength under their current general manager. Entering 2019, Telesco and the coaching staff believe that their current players are enough to contend for a Super Bowl, and have opted to gamble their season on the growth of their offensive linemen, specifically Dan Feeney, Forrest Lamp, and Sam Tevi. Will their roll of the dice be worth it?

The current state of the Chargers’ starting offensive line is as follows, per Pro Football Focus:

  • LT Russell Okung: 78.4, No. 11
  • LG Dan Feeney: 45.5, No. 72
  • C Mike Pouncey: 56.9, No. 25
  • RG Michael Schofield: 61.5, No. 42
  • RT Sam Tevi: 53.7, No. 74

Somewhere in that group, likely at right guard and possibly at right tackle, third-year player Forrest Lamp looks to try and find time as a starter.

As of today, Telesco has neither signed nor drafted an offensive lineman this offseason to start over any of the five current members. They clearly believe not only is third round selection Trey Pipkins a developmental project, but a developmental left tackle project.

Anthony Lynn said he wants Pipkins to work and learn behind @RussellOkung https://t.co/h1uIk0qLzt

— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) May 10, 2019

The hottest Chargers topic entering Free Agency and the 2019 NFL Draft was the potential replacement of Tevi. The former seventh-round selection eventually won the right to keep a starting job following inconsistency from former starting right tackle Joe Barksdale, playing nearly 88 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 16 games. Tevi should be commended for over-performing as a late draft pick; however, he struggled at times and was tough to watch facing a four-game stretch of Baltimore, Denver, Baltimore, and New England defenses. Was it time to move on from their developing player? Evidently, the team felt there was no need to, as they made no moves that would immediately improve the line.

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