It’s time for another round table, boys. With the offseason all but over, what is the biggest remaining weakness on the team?
Michael Peterson: I think I’ll have to go with cornerback after mulling it over. I wan to continue saying right tackle but it’s time to change things up. This position group looked much better when Trevor Williams was playing better but now it’s quite gloomy behind Casey Hayward and Desmond King. There is no other cornerback I could see working in the slot other than King and that’s not a good thing. If something were to happen to Hayward and/or King, the Chargers will be left with three former UDFAs to carry the load.
Louis Gorini: Everyone is going to say RT so I will think outside of the box and say the Chargers biggest need is slot WR. Travis Benjamin has been an disappointment and cannot be relied on to contribute. It’s important for Rivers to have a quick slot wr so when the protection breaks down (and we know it will), he can dump it off to the slot WR on drag routes and make turn a 5 yard catch into a 25 yard catch. Benjamin plays to scared to go through the middle and the players behind him are all unproven.
Jamie Sewell: I’m going to go with the OL as a whole, because it’s a group that’s seriously lacking in talent, and the main reason that I can’t foresee the Chargers making it any further this year than they did last year. Russell Okung and Mike Pouncey are fine, but both OG positions and RT are a mess. Dan Feeney really struggled last year, Michael Schofield is competent, but never going to be anything more than a below average starter, and Sam Tevi is a backup who’s found his way into the starting 5 because the Chargers have no other options. I’m as hopeful as anybody that Forrest Lamp can be the saviour, but he was healthy by the end of last season and guys like Cole Toner were still being activated on gameday over him. Trey Pipkins has a lot of upside, but he’s a raw third round pick from Sioux Falls. He almost certainly won’t be ready to contribute this year, and, if it’s true that the Chargers see him as their LT of the future, they probably don’t have any plans for him to replace Tevi anyway. For all of Telesco’s successes, he’s really struggled to give Philip Rivers a competent OL in the entirety of his tenure with the Bolts, and once again, it looks like the Chargers are going into a season with too many question marks in the trenches.
Matthew Stanley: I’ll also say OL. Every other group was either fine or someone was added to that group that could contribute right away. Unless Forrest Lamp is able to do something we haven’t seen at all yet, nothing was done to the OL to help this year. Trey Pipkins COULD become something at some point, but even the team has basically said not to expect anything from him this year. Basically every “expert” that has ranked OL’s recently has the Chargers in the bottom 1/3rd or 1/4th of the league. The offensive line has a part in every single play on offense and it’s the weakest group on the team. Yes Ken Wisenhunt and Philip Rivers/Melvin Gordon/Keenan Allen/Hunter Henry/Austin Ekeler/Mike Williams can overcome a lot and still make the offense go, but the current Chargers OL will be a limiting factor. With all that said, I’m very hopeful that Lamp is that guy we all want him to be, plus seeing that Dan Feeney has been training with Duke Manyweather this year gives me some hope he can bounce back.
Jake Hefner: Despite finishing 9th in pass defense in 2018, the cornerback position was a underrated need for the Chargers heading into the offseason. While Desmond King was easily the team’s best defensive back last year, Casey Hayward’s play began to slide and the team saw second-year UDFA Michael Davis forced into a starting role. Trevor Williams was solid contributor two years ago and he was the expected to be the starter across from Hayward last season until a knee injury put him on IR. Los Angeles opted not to bring back former 1st round pick Jason Verrett and did not pursue signing a free agent DB or selecting a corner in this years draft. Hopefully Williams can regain his 2017 form and take back his starting role. But even if that becomes a reality, the depth at the corner position for the Chargers remains their biggest area of weakness.
Garrett Sisti: It’s Right Tackle and I’m not sure why everyone else is afraid to say it is. Sam Tevi had a good trajectory toward the end of the ‘17 season but was not good for the majority of the 2018 season. The Chargers 3rd round pick Trey Pipkins is being viewed as a Left Tackle for the future but may play swing tackle early on and Forrest Lamp has become nothing more than a distant back-up plan at Tackle. That leaves Sam Tevi and Trent Scott as the two players really competing for the right tackle job. With the Broncos already proving they have two dynamic pass rushers, the Chiefs adding Frank Clark and Alex Okafor in the offseason and the Raiders drafting Clelin Ferrell #4 overall the AFC West continues to add pass rushers and the Chargers still haven’t addressed one of the weakest parts of their offensive line.
Jason Michaels: if I can use OL as a catch-all position, it’s easily that. They did a great job bringing in outside talent last year with Mike Pouncey, but without him this would have been a boiling crater of a mess. They haven’t noticably upgraded any of the key pieces between 2018 and now, making this the clearest area of need. I also think that they made the _right_ choices by focusing on a murderous defense, so it’s important to note that a weak point can still be strategic! I feel like we are finally at the point where field goal kicker is not the automatic answer to this question, and that’s a great hill to have crossed!
Richard Wade: While I think there’s something to the assertion that cornerback depth is lacking, I tend to be too high on the defensive back group as a whole to go that route. For me, right tackle is the spot I am most worried about insomuch as I’m worried about any position on this exceptionally talented team. But forced to pick out a weak link, Sam Tevi is clearly that. He is just not very good as a pass protector and while he isn’t being asked to protect Rivers’ blindside, he is still tasked with blocking some very talented pass rushers in the AFC West and he normally is not up to the task. I would absolutely love it if Tom Telesco were able to work his Coupon God magic and bring in someone to at least compete with Tevi.
What do you think? Where is the biggest weakness on the roster? Let us know in the comments.