Each offseason, every NFL team focuses on at least one area in need of an upgrade. So what aspect of the Los Angeles Chargers is better these days?
Training camp have begun to open up all around the NFL for all 32 teams. And that means another preview series from End Zone Score. Dating back to early March, we have taken time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers and previewed an up-and-coming player for each franchise.
Contrary to popular opinions, no team in the league is perfect. That’s why there’s a constant search for talent when it comes to this game. Each club has done its best to bolster its roster. So in this instance, we have been taking a glance at each franchise and pinpoint the department in which a club made the most strides this offseason. We have looked at the AFC East, NFC East, AFC North, NFC North, AFC South and NFC South. And we have already checked out the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos. Hence, it’s time to wrap up the AFC West with the recently-relocated Los Angeles Chargers.
Call it a makeover for a team with nine combined wins the past two seasons. Now back in the city where the franchise was born in 1960, the Los Angeles Chargers hope to get back into the swing of things in the AFC West. Over these past two years, the Bolts have been dolts when it comes to facing its divisional rivals – winning just once in 12 games.
The team has been busy this week securing a backup quarterback. New head coach Anthony Lynn, late of the Buffalo Bills, liked what he saw in young Cardale Jones and now he’s a member of the team via trade. But the real area of emphasis this offseason was the offensive line. The team parts ways this offseason with veterans such as swingman D.J. Fluker (now with the New York Giants), tackle King Dunlap (who subsequently retired) and guard Orlando Franklin. The latter recently joined the New Orleans Saints.
In free agency, Dunlap is replaced by Russell Okung. The one-time Pro Bowler with the Seattle Seahawks spent 2016 with the Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, April’s draft brings a trio of prospects in guards Forrest Lamp (2-Western Kentucky) and Dan Feeney (3-Indiana), as well as tackle Sam Tevi (6-Utah). Lamp is the star attraction here. He was projected by more than one draft expert to go in the first round and the Chargers scooped him up at the No. 38 spot. “”He’s the real deal,” said one unnamed AFC executive to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. “If he can snap, you could get away with playing him all up and down the line.”
One year after spending 2016 at center, versatile Matt Slauson moves to left guard. That means Spencer Pulley is at the pivot, although he could face a challenge from the versatile Feeney and/or 2016 third-round pick Max Turek. The right side appears to be set with Lamp and veteran Joe Barksdale. But could the latter be pushed by Tevi or Chris Hairston.
The Los Angeles Chargers will be putting a new offensive line in front of quarterback Philip Rivers and emerging running back Melvin Gordon. The team will spend the summer and the preseason rounding the group into form. It may take a little time but look for these moves to pay off in a big way.