Oakland Raiders: Ranking The AFC West By Position Group – Running Backs

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Running back Jalen Richard
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Running back Jalen Richard /
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Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders /

Los Angeles Chargers

The bottom slot in the division is pretty much a toss-up. But the edge – or perhaps, the lack of an edge – has to be given to the Chargers, who fielded the NFL’s twenty-sixth ranked ground attack.

Led Melvin Gordon and his 997 yards rushing and ten touchdowns, the Chargers – as a team – had a total of 1,510 yards. And nobody besides Gordon, had a rushing touchdown for the then-San Diego squad.

Some of the Chargers problems on the ground can be attributed to a weak offensive line – a line that saw multiple players miss significant time with injury. But the bigger part of the Chargers problems came from having a lack of talent in the backfield.

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After Gordon, the next highest rusher on the Chargers roster was Kenneth Farrow, who chipped in 192 yards on 60 carries – a woeful average of 3.2 yards per carry. Not that Gordon was all that stellar in that category either, posting an average of 3.9 yards per carry.

Had Danny Woodhead been available for more than two games last season, perhaps the Chargers could have fielded a better, more balanced ground game. But he wasn’t, and as a result, the Chargers were well below average in the backfield.

And that’s a problem that doesn’t appear to be anywhere near solved this year with Woodhead now gone and the Chargers without much of anybody in their stable of backs to adequately complement Gordon.

The big add to their running backs group this offseason was Kenjon Barner to supplement the efforts of Branden Oliver and Farrow. But Barner, since entering the league in 2013, has yet to really generate much of anything, rushing for a meager 260 yards and two touchdowns.

The Chargers are going to have to rely heavily on Philip Rivers and the passing game again as last season’s twenty-sixth ranked ground game doesn’t look like it’s going to be a whole lot better.