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LA Chargers: Grading the dismal 2020 offensive line

Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Chargers center Dan Feeney (66) and offensive guard Forrest Lamp (76) and offensive tackle Sam Tevi (69) in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Chargers center Dan Feeney (66) and offensive guard Forrest Lamp (76) and offensive tackle Sam Tevi (69) in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

Grading the offensive line is going to be a lot more difficult than the other end-of-season 2020 grades I’ve done to this point. It’s not actually harder to write about or anything, but man is it brutal to think about. There’s more Ds and Fs than I can fully process.

The LA Chargers‘ offensive line ranked 32nd in PFF’s end of season rankings. Dead last. It’s hard for me to really take issue with the ranking itself. PFF has a tendency to unfairly nitpick Justin Herbert‘s game, but the 2020 offensive line absolutely deserved last place in the league.

Speaking of Herbert, it’s amazing that he had the season he did with the likes of Forrest Lamp, Dan Feeney, and Trey Pipkins protecting him from week to week. Injuries, lack of talent, and chronic pass blocking deficiencies made this line look even worse than it had been in recent years. I’d say it was markedly worse than 2018 or 2019.

LT Sam Tevi

At least we’re starting off on a relatively positive note. Sam Tevi might’ve been the Chargers’ best offensive lineman in 2020. My expectations were not high to start the season. Frankly, it felt like Tevi was the weak link in an offensive line that should’ve improved at the time.

Tevi was simply unplayable in previous seasons. In 2018, he gave up 61 pressures and eight sacks on 871 snaps. In 2019, the pressures came down to 40, but he also played about 100 fewer snaps. That same eight sacks allowed number also remained.

While not great by any means, Tevi did show real improvement in 2020. On 1024 snaps played, he gave up just 33 pressures and two sacks. As a pass blocker, it was by far the best season of his career.

The drawback here is that run blocking is still a weakness for Tevi. While his pass blocking hit a career high, his run blocking hit a career low. Per PFF, Tevi graded with a 41.9 in the run game. Not good.

Relative to my expectations, Tevi did improve quite a bit. Still, I’m left feeling like it’s not nearly enough. I wouldn’t mind the Chargers re-signing Tevi to a depth tackle contract, but he simply can’t be the starter going into next season. While he improved as a pass blocker, he was a huge liability in the run game.

Considering that he was the only lineman who I thought improved, I’ll take what I can get.

Final 2020 grade for the LA Chargers: C+

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