LA Chargers News

The state of the Chargers’ offensive line

By Alex Perl
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 25: Running back Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers reacts after a short run in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at StubHub Center on November 25, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 25: Running back Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers reacts after a short run in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at StubHub Center on November 25, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Chargers allowed 34 sacks in the 2018 season which was tied for 10th in the NFL. Of these 34 sacks allowed,  32 were on Philip Rivers, which considering the age and wear on Rivers is very troubling.

The NFL has seen quite a change over the years. With rules now protecting the quarterback position more so than ever, passing numbers are spiking as well as fewer big hits on the position.

This signifies why players such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Rivers are still putting up eye-popping numbers at their respective ages. With that said a 300-pound lineman striking you down at any sort of impact is still going to have its effects.

Now here is where there is a divide among players such as Brady, Brees and Rivers. in 2018 Brady was sacked 21 times, Brees a mere 17. Combined that is only six more sacks than Rivers took himself. This is an issue that needs a fix, especially if the Chargers want their franchise quarterback to last.

The Chargers’ offensive line is pretty middling, to say the least. With former Pro-Bowler Russell Okung (Currently dealing with medical issues) and 2018 Pro-Bowler Mike Pouncey leading the way, the offensive line does have some leaders and talent along the way, but the question is what about the rest of the line?

With a schedule that features the likes of pass rushers Khalil Mack, J.J. Watt and two games against Von Miller, can the likes of right tackle Sam Tevi really hold up for another year to stop that sort of pass rush? Can guards Michael Schofield and Dan Feeney really continue to be counted on to be the linchpins on the interior? Possibly former second-round pick Forrest Lamp can push himself into the lineup after struggling with injuries.

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There are plenty of questions that need answering along this offensive line. The Chargers used their first-round pick on defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. Tillery was a great pick at that late in the draft, but it leaves the offensive line still in flux.

The likes of having someone to develop on the line will not be this season. In fact, the only offensive lineman drafted was tackle Trey Pipkins in the third round. Coming out of the college of Sioux Falls, he is years away from being a finished product if he ever materializes at all.

Beyond that, the Chargers had a quiet offseason overall, with the biggest free-agent signing being veteran linebacker Thomas Davis.

The offensive line is really entirely the same as the year before. Offensive line coach Pat Meyer has his hands full trying to get this bunch to protect Rivers. Unless someone or maybe even two linemen turn out to be a surprise in this unit, expect Rivers to feel the heat just as he did in 2018.

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