Despite Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn had his players backs when asked about the offensive line issues in the 2019 season, the offensive line was without a doubt the Bolts’ biggest problem last season.
The pass protection forced Philip Rivers to make quick decisions while making him uncomfortable in the pocket on a consistent basis.
The injuries were a huge contributing factor. Starting left tackle Russell Okung missed 10 games, Mike Pouncey suffered a broken bone in his neck resulting in him missing the whole season, and other names like Forrest Lamp and Sam Tevi were in and out of the lineup as well. This resulted in the premature promotion of fifth-round rookie, Trey Pipkens, to be thrown in at starting tackle.
Pipkens, the Sioux Falls project, showed flashes of good and bad last season. One would assume that Sam Tevi will return to his starting tackle position, but Pipkens may have shown enough upside with his rookie debut. Although there were times when he showed flaws and gave up some sacks, he also portrayed some great tape.
The Chargers hit a home run in free agency for the 2020 off-season, specifically at offensive line. They managed to send away Russell Okung, 31, for Trai Turner, 26. This trade with the Carolina Panthers added a pro bowl guard who gets paid less money, has more pro bowl seasons and is much younger. On top of that, they signed a long time Packers lineman Brian Bulaga. Bulaga is a 9-year veteran, who had a solid season last year with the Pack. Bulaga adds an anchor with plenty of postseason experience at right tackle for the Bolts.
With the return of 4 time Pro Bowler, Mike Pouncey, the Chargers line will have plenty of veterans to help groom Trey Pipkens. At 6 foot 6 inches and 304 pounds, his size is almost a perfect build.
If Pipkens can improve his footwork, fulfill his potential, and solidify the other tackle position, the Chargers offensive line could be Top 3 in the NFL.
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