Oakland Raiders: Ranking The AFC West By Position Group – Offensive Lines

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 7: Guard Gabe Jackson
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 7: Guard Gabe Jackson /
4 of 5
Oakland Raiders
SAN DIEGO, CA – JANUARY 01: Quarterback Philip Rivers /

2. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers were perhaps the most snakebitten team in the NFL last season. They were most definitely the hardest luck 5-11 squad in the league. A tough break here, a bad bounce there, and the squad then from San Diego found their season in tatters.

The offensive line, like the rest of the team, suffered from a lot of turnover caused by injuries in 2016. Their offensive line, like the rest of the team, couldn’t stay healthy and on the field. And when you have that kind of turmoil, it’s not surprising the team ran into some tough luck.

More from Golden Gate Sports

But, with a new coaching regime – goodbye, Mike McCoy, hello Anthony Lynn – some wholesale changes have been made to this Chargers team. Most notably, along that offensive line.

Of last year’s starters – King Dunlap, Orlando Franklin, Matt Slauson, D.J. Fluker, and Joe Barksdale – only Barksdale and Slauson remain. Coming in to reinforce a line the Chargers hope can stay healthy and on the field together are Russell Okung, Spencer Pulley, and highly regarded rookie Forrest Lamp – Los Angeles’ second round pick (thirty-eighth overall)

Despite having a patchwork line most of the season, the Chargers still had the ninth best scoring offence (25.6 points per game), and the league’s fourteenth ranked offense overall. But that was mostly on the arm of quarterback Philip Rivers, whose 4,386 passing yards and 33 touchdowns paced the league’s eighth best passing attack.

That aerial onslaught though, was mitigated by a sub-par ground game. Even though Melvin Gordon ran for 997 yards, no other running back had more than Kenneth Farrow‘s 192 yards, and the Chargers scored just 10 rushing touchdowns on the year – all Gordon’s. Worse still, was San Diego’s very pedestrian average of 3.8 yards per carry.

While some of that is on the Chargers’ running backs of course, the offensive line shares some responsibility for not being able to sustain blocks or open holes for them.

With a healthy amount of turnover on the line, and having added some nice pieces, if this unit can stay healthy, they could be a fairly dominant group. And if they can stay healthy, it’s going to open more opportunities for Rivers, Gordon, and the Chargers offense as a whole.

This is a group that could be very sneaky good and is worth keeping an eye on.