LA Chargers: 3 goals for Austin Ekeler as the RB1 in 2020
By Jason Reed
2. Protect the football better
Knowing how hard Austin Ekeler works this is absolutely something that he likely committed himself to improve in the offseason and is the number one thing on his mind heading into the year.
If there is one area that we can really nitpick and say that Ekeler can be better at it is protecting the football. He has fallen victim to the fumble bug quite a few times and in a year without any preseason games, he really has to go all-in on working towards protecting the football.
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Ekeler fumbled three times last season, which may not seem like a terrible problem, but it has hurt his usability in short-yardage situations. Plus, based on how much his workload will go up, at the same rate, we could be looking at 5-6 fumbles in the season for Ekeler.
Fumbles are going to happen. Sometimes the defender is just the better player on any given play and manages to sneak a fist into the ballcarrier and knocks the ball free. Asking for them to never happen is asking for too much.
However, this is a team that is built to win defensive-minded ball games by not turning the football over as much as they did last season. In order to maintain that identity, Ekeler is going to have to protect the ball better as the RB1.