Yesterday, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell released an article that ranked each of the 32 NFL team’s “offensive arsenals”, or in other words, there entire group of offensive weapons surrounding the quarterback.
Barnwell has released this list annually, with the Chargers consistently ranked in the top third, starting at #7 in 2017 and peaking at #10 prior to the 2018 season.
This year, the Chargers will have to overcome the loss of Tyrell Williams to the Oakland Raiders, which understandably knocked the Chargers down a single spot to #11 in the NFL.
Here is what Barnwell had to say about the Chargers’ skill positions:
“Los Angeles didn’t replace Tyrell Williams after the deep threat left for the Raiders in free agency, and the onus for replacing him will fall upon their two rookie-deal weapons. Mike Williams’ touchdown rate (11 scores on 50 touches) is unsustainable on its face, but if we assume he adds an extra 30 targets to the 66 he received a year ago, the former No. 7 overall pick could approach double-digit scores again. Anything the Chargers get out of starting tight end Hunter Henry will be an improvement, given that the popular breakout pick last offseason missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL. Philip Rivers could also direct more attention toward Keenan Allen, who increased his efficiency while seeing 23 fewer targets in 2018.
The names in the Chargers’ arsenal might be bigger than their actual production. Henry, for one, still hasn’t topped 600 receiving yards as a pro. I wrote about the gap between Melvin Gordon’s fantasy production and his actual on-field value to the Chargers back in February, and while Gordon had his best season in 2018, the combination of injuries and middling inefficiency may overshadow his versatility as a receiver. If he can stay healthy and keep up his 2018 level of play for another season, I’ll be on board.”
Everything Barnwell touched on have been the key themes surrounding the offense all offseason. The loss of Tyrell and the gain of Henry are the biggest things to watch out for, especially to see which one is a bigger proponent to this offense.
The unsustainable efficiency of Mike Williams is the next thing, and we all know we need to expect some regression, but maybe not as much as media pundits want us to expect.
Until training camp comes and goes, no one knows exactly who will be the team’s third wide receiver, whether that’s Travis Benjamin, Geremy Davis, or last year’s training camp superstar, Dylan Cantrell.
And in a timely-fashion, Barnwell ends his blurb with his thoughts on Melvin Gordon and puts into question just how valuable he is to the offense. Is his fantasy value and real-life value one in the same? Or are Chargers fans blinded by his gaudy numbers and their potential fantasy winnings?
This is something that the team is going to have to figure out, and hopefully soon. In the end, even if Gordon sits out the entire 2019 season, following in the footsteps of Le’Veon Bell in 2018, I’m not sure the firepower on this offense drops significantly.