The Chargers have a number of exciting matchups in Week 3, but none are more important than their offensive tackles facing some of the NFL’s best edge rushers…
The Chargers will have a chance to demonstrate the success or failure of the offseason experiment with their offensive line when the Houston Texans come to Los Angeles. With nothing but internal promotions to alter the chemistry of their 2018 offensive line, the Chargers will have to prove they have championship-level tackles against two of the best pass-rushers in the NFL: Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt.
- Russell Okung: 78.4 (11th)
- Sam Tevi: 53.7 (74th)
- Jadeveon Clowney: 88.0 (ninth)
- J.J. Watt: 90.6 (third)
Watt may have had the quietest dominant year for an edge-rusher last season, racking up 16 sacks (more than Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, and Uchenna Nwosu combined) and looking healthier than he has in years.
— USA TODAY NFL (@usatodaynfl) January 5, 2019
Though the play above is against the left guard, it’s not just any left guard: That’s First-Team All-Pro rookie phenomenon Quenton Nelson.
Clowney has never surpassed 10 sacks in a season, but still remains a disruptive force opposite of Watt. His nine sacks last season was the second-best total of his career, helping lead a Texans defense allowing only 19.8 points per game.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) May 10, 2019
The Chargers will be tasked with holding off both for four quarters, relying on veteran Pro-Bowl left tackle Russell Okung and third-year right tackle Sam Tevi to do so. Okung is currently dealing with an undisclosed injury that has forced Tevi to play left tackle and Trent Scott right tackle, but for now it will be assumed both are healthy and playing at their original positions.
The Chargers have done well against the Texans recently, winning a game in 2016 21-13 where they did not give up a sack to Clowney and a 2013 game in which they lost but prevented J.J. Watt from registering a sack.
What makes this the best matchup of Week 3:
If the Chargers want to play in the postseason, their offensive line needs to improve dramatically. A poor game from their starting five is possibly the main reason they exited early last year, and it will be their downfall in Week 3 if they have not adjusted and developed into an above-average unit. This is an opportunity for Tom Telesco and Anthony Lynn to prove to skeptical fans that Tevi can hold down the right side as a capable starter, as well as reassure them (and themselves) Okung is still worth his large contract.