1. Austin Ekeler’s health and lack of experience getting true RB1 reps
Austin Ekeler is far from injury-prone but he did have a substantial injury in his first year as the Chargers bonafide featured halfback. Ekeler suffered both a hamstring and knee injury that kept him out for six games of the season.
Injuries with running backs are always concerning as the shelf life for a running back is extremely small. All it takes is one injury to start a regression trend and before you know it you are not watching the same running back.
Luckily for the Chargers, Ekeler returned to form when he returned from injury, so regression does not appear to be in the cards.
However, there is something to be said about Ekeler’s lack of experience being a featured back. Ekeler split time with Melvin Gordon until Gordon left before the 2020 season. Ekeler then got hurt in his first chance of getting those big number of snaps.
Ekeler does so much for this offense. He is not only tasked with being the main ball-carrier but he is also being tasked to be one of the biggest weapons in the passing game as well. That is a lot to ask of one running back and last season it took its toll.
Ekeler has to be asked to do all of that for another reason: the other running backs on the roster.