Chargers playoffs: Melvin Gordon and the offensive line
Melvin Gordon ended his holdout and has played a game so far. It’s fair to say his effort versus the Broncos was underwhelming, to say the least. But, it’s important to acknowledge Gordon hadn’t played a game in a very long time and just got back to the team.
Gordon will get more reps and touches this week versus the Steelers for sure. Gordon may not quite get to the career-high numbers from last year, but he’ll get continuously better as the weeks go on following his holdout.
For an offense that’s in flux right now with all the injuries and players rehabbing, Gordon can take up some of that offensive production. Ekeler has proven how dangerous he is through the air and on the ground with a historic start to the season. Together, Gordon and Ekeler would be the best running back duo in the league.
The offensive line
To some extent, this may seem counter-intuitive. Pouncey is done for the year with a neck injury and there’s not really confirmation that suggests Okung will come back this year. However, a bright spot is that Forrest Lamp, the 2017 second-round pick, will finally get his chance to step up.
With Lamp, you get a little bit more youth and physicality on the line. In Lamp’s snaps last week in the fourth quarter when he played 17 snaps, he was the second-highest graded Chargers’ player of the game by PFF.
Okung could also still come back with Lamp on the line. And the Chargers offensive line even in its current state is ranked 16th in the league, right in the middle. It’s not great, but the situation could be worse. Coming into the season, the Chargers were projected to have a bottom-tier offensive line by many, and they’ve outperformed it with potentially more skill and youth coming.
The Chargers, despite a sluggish start, have a lot of reasons to be optimistic. Coach Lynn’s steady leadership and improvement as the last two seasons went on should give fans faith. The defense has been playing well despite injuries and the team will get big names like James, Phillips, and Inman back from the IR, in addition to the week to week injuries.
Gordon will get better as he gets more touches in live games and more reps in practice. The offensive line is prepared to have a bit of a youth moment and some potential reinforcements with the emergence of Lamp and potential return of Okung. Things may seem bleak now, but this is still a playoff team at this point.