The LA Chargers offensive line might look as bad as it has ever been in Week 8 against the Denver Broncos.
Fans of the LA Chargers are used to bad offensive lines. The team has not had a really solid offensive line in what feels like an eternity and while there was promise this season, the line has still been below league-average.
Acquisitions Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner have not been able to stay healthy while the team also lost its starting center in Mike Pouncey. Sam Tevi has been better than expected but others, such as Forrest Lamp, have not.
The Chargers have made do with what they have, though, and Justin Herbert has proven to be as cool as ice under pressure. However, Week 8 could present a different task, a task that even Justin Herbert might not be able to overcome.
It was reported on Thursday that Ryan Groy tested positive for COVID-19 and had to be put on the restricted list (Groy was also placed on the IR for separate injuries).
Those in close contact with Groy have to self-isolate if they are deemed high risk, which offensive lineman typically are. There was another reported positive case from Thursday that turned out to be Trey Pipkins. We also know that Bryan Bulaga and Storm Norton are now questionable for Week 8.
Turner is out with injury.
That has created a nightmare situation for the LA Chargers offensive line. The team is left pretty much empty-handed without Bulaga, Norton, Groy, Pipkins or Turner. The starting five if all of the questionable players miss the game is scary.
This is your worst-case-scenario #Chargers offensive line for Sunday, from left to right:
Sam Tevi – Forrest Lamp – Dan Feeney – Scott Quessenberry – Tyree St. Louis
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) October 30, 2020
Now, I see some Charger fans declaring that Justin Herbert is fine under pressure and will continue to be fine. That is true, Herbert has been really good under pressure, but pressure like this could be unbearable.
While the Broncos are missing Von Miller they do still have one of the best defensive head coaches in football and have shored up some of the defensive holes the last few weeks. Bradley Chubb is going to have a field day against this offensive line and it is going to be hard to get any sort of offense going.
Plus, keep in mind that this is Herbert’s first time playing in elevation in Denver. That absolutely does make an impact as it is the best natural home-field advantage in football.
I love Herbert, I really do, but expecting a rookie to torch a solid defense with a college-level offensive line and his RB1 out is a big ask. Having Scott Quessenberry and Tyree St. Louis blocking his right side is going to create problems.
Luckily, the Broncos are not the most offensively-talented team in the league and the Chargers could win a low-scoring defensive battle.
But, if the offensive line goes forward as projected in the above worst-case scenario then I would expect a long day for Justin Herbert.