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Los Angeles Chargers preparing for run-heavy offense

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 13: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers hands the ball off to Melvin Gordon #28 during the second quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 13: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers hands the ball off to Melvin Gordon #28 during the second quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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When Anthony Lynn was brought in to coach the Los Angeles Chargers, many expected a shift to a run-heavy offense. While the offense has not shifted much yet, change is on the horizon…

In the two years since Anthony Lynn has become head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, the rushing yards total has increased from each previous year, from 1,520 in 2016 to 1,595 in 2017 to 1,873 in 2018.

However, this appears to be the result of productivity from the running backs and offensive line rather than a philosophy shift, as the number of rushing attempts went down in 2018 relative to 2017, from 419 to 399.

So what evidence do we have that Anthony Lynn actually wants to transform the Chargers into a run-heavy team?

If you’re looking at how the offensive philosophy has changed from the pre-Lynn offense to now, you are likely looking in the wrong place. The surprising place that you should actually direct your attention to is the quarterback room.

After Philip Rivers retires, Anthony Lynn wants a mobile quarterback to operate an offense that emphasizes option plays as well as run-pass options.

More specifically, the Chargers’ future plan is likely to model themselves after the 2016 Buffalo Bills offense that led the NFL in yards per carry by a wide margin. That team was led by quarterback Tyrod Taylor and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.

While running such an offense with a quarterback like Rivers is clearly out of the picture, Lynn has demonstrated before how effective run option plays can be. The free agent signing of Taylor as well as drafting of Easton Stick show that the Chargers want a mobile quarterback of the future.

Though fans have come to support and love an offense with a traditional pocket quarterback, the Bills’ offense demonstrated how effective an option running game can be.

The advantage of the option is that it allows players to be unblocked and the quarterback to make a quick decision based on the unblocked players.

In the play below, the Bills offensive line blocks as if Lesean McCoy is running behind the left guard, but they allow the Arizona Cardinals’ weak side linebacker to run free.

Thinking he has an open play to make, the outside linebacker crashes down into the lane that McCoy is headed to. That leaves Tyrod Taylor an open lane to exploit on the outside.

Why the option was never a 'fad'. Free yards will always be en vogue pic.twitter.com/7wZsq03yAD

— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) June 15, 2017

This is the plan for the Los Angeles Chargers after Rivers calls it quits. If Taylor or Stick can become the starting quarterback of the future, expect the offense to look drastically different.

If neither of that duo are the quarterback of the future, expect Lynn and general manager Tom Telesco to do their best to target a running quarterback in a future draft.

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