A Review of the Chargers Offense After Six Weeks – Sports Illustrated

A lot of good from the offense but there is some bad.

The Los Angeles Chargers sit at the top of the AFC West at 4-2 tied with the Las Vegas Raiders but have the tiebreaker. It is the bye week for the Chargers in week seven, so players and coaches will take time away from football to relax and get ready for the backstretch.

It is time to review how the offense did in the first six games of the season.

Three offensive players that stood out.

  1. Justin Herbert

The Chargers quarterback faced many regression questions, and he has shown that it isn’t in his vocabulary. Herbert only had one bad performance, and it was against the Ravens. He balled out against the Chiefs, Raiders, and Browns, throwing for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in that stretch. He has been a bright spot for this team, and he will need to be protected the rest of the way if the Chargers want to make the playoffs.

2. Mike Williams’ emergence

During the offseason, all of the talk was about how Mike Williams was going to have a big season, whether it was the coaches or players, it was said often. They haven’t been wrong so far. Williams has 33 catches for 498 yards and six touchdowns. This new role has brought out the Clemson receiver that helped his university won the National Championship back in 2017. He is running all kinds of routes and is setting himself up for a big contract.

3. Rashawn Slater

When the Chargers drafted Slater, who knows if they knew he would be this good. The young left tackle has played at a pro bowl level so far this season. He has had to face Chase Young, Myles Garrett, and Chris Jones. The left tackle has been phenomenal for the Chargers, and besides, Corey Linsley feels like the only other consistent player for the line. He looks like a draft steal and the left tackle protecting Justin Herbert for the next 10-15 years.

Now three questions for the offense.

  1. Who will step up when Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are taken away?

This has already happened twice this season. The Raiders and Ravens schemed to take away both receivers. Against the Raiders, the Chargers were able to use their running backs and tight ends to win the game. The game against the Ravens was much different everyone was MIA. Tight end Jared Cook had a couple of drops but managed to score the team’s only points. This team lacks a third receiver. Rookie Josh Palmer hasn’t emerged yet, but he could still be learning to adjust to the NFL. The other receiver is Jalen Guyton, and he isn’t the down-the-field threat he was last season. He hasn’t been able to separate or make an impact this year, so that should be concerning for offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.

2. Lack of RB2

Austin Ekeler is off to a good start in 2021 with over 500 yards off offense with seven touchdowns. The problem is the three running backs behind him. The organization has believed Justin Jackson would be running back two for the last few seasons, but injuries have derailed him. In 2021 that is not the case. He doesn’t look comfortable in this offense and hasn’t made any impact whatsoever. The team was hoping Larry Rountree might pick up the slack, but he is a rookie that is still learning, and it may take some time. Second-year back Joshua Kelley has been getting a chance the last two games, but neither of the three backs have made an impact. When Ekeler gets a breather, the team has to be confident that the production doesn’t go down, as it has this season.

3. Right side is not the strong side

The Chargers came into the season with Oday Aboushi at right guard and Bryan Bulaga at right tackle. Six games in, they have Michael Schofield at right guard and Storm Norton at right tackle. Both starters have gone through injuries that required surgery, but the team hopes Bulaga can come back. Norton has had a rollercoaster of a ride at right tackle. He was able to, with some help, keep Maxx Crosby controlled to an extent while Myles Garrett at times put him on the ground. The right side of the line could be the Chargers achilles heel moving forward. Getting a new right tackle has to be high on the list of priorities in 2022.