LA Chargers News

In depth look at Hunter Henry’s opportunity for a breakout year

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 08: Hunter Henry
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 08: Hunter Henry
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OAKLAND, CA – OCTOBER 09: Hunter Henry #86 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after a one-yard touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – OCTOBER 09: Hunter Henry #86 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after a one-yard touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Hunter Henry: Expectations for 2019 season

The Chargers coaching staff and media have been raving about Henry thus far in the offseason. He should be back to his old playmaking self by the time the new season comes about. He has a strong rapport with Rivers and that should continue. Coming out of college a frequent player comparison for Henry was actually Zach Ertz because of his versatility as route runners. As one looks to the Eagles’ usage of their two tight ends sets, one can also envision a role of how the team could use Henry and where his potential could lead him.

Ertz has proven himself an elite tight end in this league. Over the last two years he is top three at his position in targets and target share, receptions and receiving yards, red zone receptions, and touchdowns. In 2017 the Eagles traded wide receiver Jordan Matthews, which left a void in their receiving core similar to what the Chargers are facing now following the departure of Tyrell Williams. After the trade, the Eagles started using Ertz more from the slot and out wide to create more mismatches, eventually lining up in either spot on 58 percent of his snaps. This allows the Eagles to search for opportunities to get both Ertz and their other receivers easy looks to move the chains.

Shot 3 – Zach Ertz caught 3 passes last night for 44 yards in 4 possessions. Sign of things to come? #Eagles pic.twitter.com/geZ8H8OrHf

— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) August 25, 2017

Next. How Austin Ekeler compares statistically to Darren Sproles

The name of the game on offense is to create mismatches. While Benjamin, Cantrell, Davis or Scott may emerge themselves as the third Chargers’ receiver on the depth chart, expect Henry to be the true number three in the pecking order of the team’s passing attack. Henry adds another element of versatility and reliability the team missed while he was rehabbing from his ACL injury, and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and staff should be able to come up with plenty of creative ways to best utilize their dominant tight end. If Henry stays healthy, there is no reason he shouldn’t fully live up any lofty expectations thrown his way, with a stat line of roughly 70 catches, 750 yards and 8-10 touchdowns well within reach.

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