In the wake of losing Forrest Lamp, I reached out to the staff to see who they felt would bounce back on offense.
Richard Wade: Philip Rivers seems like the obvious answer here. He has his top receiving option back in Keenan Allen. Even with Forrest Lamp's injury, the offense will boast its best interior offensive line in years. The hiring of Anthony Lynn and the implementation of his offense should reduce how much is asked of Rivers. There should be more focus on the running game. That running game should be more efficient. And Rivers will probably be given easier reads than in years past.
Nathan Graber-Lipperman: I know everyone here likes to hate on him, but I'm going with Travis Benjamin. Whether he was comfortable with a new contract or uncomfortable with his MCL injury, Benjamin's debut season in lightning bolts would most accurately be described as 'uneven'. However, he flashed his big-play ability at times, and with Keenan Allen back in the fold, there might not be a more dangerous #3 in the league than Benjamin when he's at his best.
Ryan Doyle: I'm going with Branden Oliver. After missing essentially two seasons, Oliver has a chance to be the primary backup. If he can stay healthy, he should be able to spell Gordon effectively. With Anthony Lynn's rushing attack and an improved interior offensive line, Oliver should return to form.
Jamie Sewell: Travis Benjamin. There's a reason the Chargers paid him 6m a year, and he'll show it this year. He was playing hurt and with no confidence last year on a terrible team. He's one of the fastest players in the entire league and should be a real threat deep with Keenan Allen murdering defenses underneath. I'd hope that Wiz has some special plays lined up for Benjamin too. Just get the ball in his hands and let him run
Kyle Posey: I'm with Jamie here. Benjamin was battling through an injury late last year and never was able to really get on track. I don't think he'll have a monster, 1500 yard season, but I think he'll be productive like I expected last year. The word is he's been lighting it up in camp. Not just on deep passes, he's well known for but on underneath and intermediate routes as well. Now that he knows his role I think he'll be a lot more comfortable in year 2.
Matthew Stanley: Joe Barksdale. With all the overwhelming negative feelings swirling around, especially with Lamp gone for the season now, I want to be positive and hope that Barksdale can get back to being at least average. If he can be average, along with the other changes to the Offensive line, Philip Rivers may actually enjoy above avg pass protection for the first time in a decade.
Jamie Hoyle: I'm going with Joe Barksdale, as well. I think people underrate how difficult it is for a tackle to perform when the man next to him doesn't understand and isn't capable of carrying out his assignments. Barksdale certainly had his own issues as well, but he was routinely hanged out to dry by DJ Fluker. With a more athletic, more technically sound Dan Feeney (hopefully) playing alongside him, Joe should be able to focus strictly on his responsibilities as opposed to constantly looking over his shoulder. And he's only one year removed from being a top 12-15 tackle in this league (top 20-25%), so it isn't unreasonable to think he can bounce back.
Cody Young: I have to go with Travis Benjamin. I don't think last season was indicative of the player he is and what he can contribute to the team. I think with the injury to Keenan in the first game of the season, Benjamin was forced to take on more than he could handle as a first year player in the Chargers system. It was obvious he was uncomfortable out on the field last season. With another year working with Philip Rivers, Benjamin should see an improvement in his production for the Chargers offense.
Louis Gorini: The offensive player that will have a bounce back year for the Chargers wasn't even with the team last year, Russell Okung. Okung gave up 4 sacks last year and had 6 holding penalties for the Broncos. He was a disappointment for Denver last year. However, look for Okung to regain his top status. Okung will have a huge upgrade next to him at guard (Matt Slauson > Max Garcia). And Rivers is a smart savvy veteran that can make his offensive linemen look like all pros with his quick decision making
Derrick Browne: I'll go with Rivers. I feel like he'll have one of his best years yet now that Lynn took over. He won't need to force anything or try to do too much anymore. Lynn wants to be able to run the ball a lot and Rivers should benefit from that. He has a lot more weapons now than in recent years, too. Easy pick for me.
Who do you think will bounce back on offense this year?