The 2021 free agency season is in full swing and the LA Chargers have the opportunity to stack the deck in Justin Herbert’s favor heading into next season.
Tight end help is what has been on the table this offseason among some other more-glaring needs like offensive and defensive line, and in the process, a big name in Zach Ertz has been linked to the Chargers as a possible trade option, especially now that Hunter Henry has departed for New England and the Eagles have hit the reboot button.
You may think to yourself that the Jared Cook signing fully fills that void left by Henry, but with a head coach in Brandon Staley coming in from the Rams and a Stanford-California-LA connection Ertz has with the Bolts, my proposal is that the opportunity for a two-tight-end system is begging the Chargers to be taken. The “more the merrier” is a sentiment the up-and-coming Chargers should follow.
Why the LA Chargers should adopt the two-tight end offensive scheme:
Staley’s former team produced one of the most effective two-tight end offensive systems in the league, and the Bolts’ offensive personnel makeup is a perfect fit for the system.
With two tight ends, the passing game gets opened up over the middle while the running game gets a boost with potentially two extra linemen to block as you probably already know.
The Bolts’ roster does not currently display a wealth of offensive options for sophomore Rookie of the Year quarterback Justin Herbert to utilize. Nor does it currently display a stellar rushing attack.
By employing a two-tight end scheme, you’ll comfortably fit Mike Williams and Keenan Allen on the outside while having Austin Ekeler in the backfield and Jared Cook with (theoretically) Zach Ertz as your two tight ends. And you can run that grouping ’till the cows come home.
Yeah I know, I know, Zach Ertz can’t really block. But what better options are out there from a veteran standpoint that can give the Bolts two legit pass-catching tight ends? Ertz is a really good fit in LA and his presence alone, even though he’s out of his prime, will open this offense up extraordinarily.
The game plan going into 2021 should be for the Bolts to load up on offensive linemen and options for Herbert to throw to. With a quarterback as gifted as Herbert is in the passing game, the objective needs to be to attack defenses with an elite-level passing game scheme.
Open Herbert up and let him work his magic. Give him as many weapons as you can to spread out defenses and cerate windows for him to hit.
Look at what the Raiders are doing — they are re-creating the Kansas City Chiefs offense by employing two speed threats in John Brown and Henry Ruggs on the outside to serve as their version of Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman, while also working the bulk of the offense through a top-tier tight end in Darren Waller who is acting as the Raiders’ Travis Kelce.
The Bolts don’t necessarily need to copy that exact formula, mostly because their personnel does not particularly match Kansas City’s. But the crux of what the Raiders are doing is to create an in-your-face passing attack because they know they cannot stop the Chiefs on defense.
It’s no secret and it shouldn’t be viewed as an insult, but the Chiefs are the class of the AFC West right now, even the NFL to a degree.
You think you can stop them on defense? If yes, then that’s a bold stance to take. The more likely option, however, is that in order to compete with and ultimately beat the Chiefs, you’re going to have to beat them at their own game and put up 30+ points and probably 400+ yards of offense per game.
The Raiders want that to be their game plan. It probably won’t work because of the quality of their personnel, but the LA Chargers have the personnel and the quarterback to get that kind of job done. All they need now is to stand out from the Chiefs in some way, and I believe deviating from the Chiefs’ formula of one dominant tight-end and two deep threats is the way to do it.
They can still produce similar offensive results as KC, just with a tweaked formula.
So, if you’re the LA Chargers, give Justin Herbert what he needs going into next season. Give him weapons galore and let him put up the MVP-caliber numbers his talent suggests he can hit.
The name of the game in 2021 for the LA Chargers should be to lead the league in scoring and yardage by a heathy margin, and then what becomes of their run game and defense will naturally bear its own fruit- probably to more success than the Chiefs’ running game and defense.
Get that second tight end, preferably Zach Ertz, and open up Herbert’s passing lanes even more.