LA Chargers: Sam Tevi at left tackle indicates a much bigger problem

Sam Tevi #69 of the LA Chargers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Sam Tevi #69 of the LA Chargers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Sam Tevi is in the driver’s seat for LA Chargers’ starting left tackle position.

The LA Chargers have several storylines during training camp leading up to the 2020 season, with none bigger than the battle for the starting left tackle position. And on Friday, Charger fans got some potentially terrible news.

Head coach Anthony Lynn commented that Sam Tevi is in the driver’s seat for the starting left tackle position. Tevi’s familiarity with the team and the offensive line seem to be the main reason why he is in the lead for the position.

Why is this potentially terrible news? Tevi is not good. Tevi posted a 59.8 overall blocking grade on Pro Football Focus last season, allowing eight sacks — which was tied for the fifth-most in the NFL — despite playing 782 snaps, the 50th-most.

The year before that it was a 52.3 grade (40.2 in pass blocking) with eight sacks allowed in 871 snaps. The year before that it was a 56.5 grade (50.5 in run blocking) in 135 snaps. You get the point, Tevi is not great.

It is not a guarantee that Tevi is going to start at left tackle in Week 1, he is merely in the driver’s seat at this current moment. Someone could (hopefully) usurp him for the starting role, but Lynn even saying this indicates something bad for the Bolts.

The LA Chargers’ much bigger problem:

Tevi being in the driver’s seat tells me something: Trey Pipkins has not made the developments that the Chargers were hoping he would make by now. On paper, the 2019 third-round pick should be the favorite to start at left tackle.

Pipkins was not great last year, either, but he showed a lot more promise than Tevi and with a year of development, you would think that he would be better than Tevi. Perhaps that is not the case.

It also tells me that Storm Norton is either not playing great in camp or is simply not being trusted yet in the move from the XFL.

So why is this a much bigger problem? The LA Chargers still got better at right guard and right tackle, right?

Yes, they did. That might not matter.

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A bad left tackle is the start of a bad offensive line. I do not care how good the rest of the line is, if you have the league’s worst starting left tackle then you are going to be in trouble. I am sorry to say, but that is what Tevi would be.

Plus, it is not a guarantee at all that the rest of the line will indeed be better. Bryan Bulaga is really the only constant the Chargers have. Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp need to step up at left guard, who knows how good Mike Pouncey is after neck surgery and Trai Turner is coming off the worst year of his career and has never been an elite pass-blocker.

You know what does not mix well? Scrambling quarterbacks and rookie quarterbacks. With a bad offensive line, the Chargers risk Tyrod Taylor looking more like he did in Cleveland than he did in Buffalo and also risk the progression of Justin Herbert.


Sorry, my caps lock button got stuck there.

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Like it or not, the LA Chargers have an offensive line problem and that is scary.