Chargers hot take No. 2: Austin Ekeler isn't even the best rusher on the team
Some fans may not even consider this a hot take at all as Austin Ekeler has really rubbed the fanbase the wrong way this offseason. While nobody should blame him for trying to maximize the value, some of the things he has said have rightfully upset the fanbase.
While Ekeler has undoubtedly produced a lot for the Chargers the last two seasons, some of that has been a byproduct of the offense that the Bolts run. That is not to say that anyone could have stepped into his role and thrived in the same way, but he definitely benefitted from how often the team passed to the check down or just needed 1-4 yards for the touchdown.
Ekeler's numbers have probably been a tad inflated compared to what he actually brings and that is fine. He is still a great receiving threat and will undoubtedly be used in the passing game in 2023 as he fights for a new deal.
However, as a rusher, Ekeler is not even the best player on his team. Joshua Kelley was consistently a better rusher for the Chargers last year and that progression (and Ekeler's regression in running between the tackles) will likely continue.
Not only that but there is a world in which Isaiah Spiller takes a huge leap in year two and becomes the best rusher on the team. It is not that hard of a bar to climb as Ekeler was really bad as a traditional between-the-tackles runner last season. That is why the team struggled to hold leads. They could not run the ball and kill the clock.