The Seahawks travel to Los Angeles to play the Chargers on Sunday night. For the Chargers, this will be the first game under a new coaching staff, led by new head coach Anthony Lynn. Lynn was previously the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. Lynn is the head of a young team that is led by one of the longest tenured players in the NFL, Philip Rivers.
The Chargers also kept offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt due to his relationship with Rivers. Whisenhunt brings an offense that ranked eighth in the league in passing, but 26th in rushing. Here is a look at the Chargers offense.
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Philip Rivers has not missed a regular season or playoff game since he became a starter in 2006. He has thrown for over 4,000 yards eight times in that time span. Since LaDainian Tomlinson left the team after the 2009 season, Rivers has not had a dominant, feature running back. He has carried this Chargers offense for a long time.
The Chargers do not carry a lot of depth behind Rivers. Their main backup is Kellen Clemens, who is a 34-year-old journeyman. However, they did trade for Cardale Jones this offseason, who could potentially be groomed to be Rivers future replacement. Jones is expected to see a lot of action on Sunday.
After the Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon in the first round, they expected that he would change their running game for the better. But he has yet to show the dominance he did in college. He improved greatly in 2016, as he was three yards shy from posting a 1,000-yard season. If he continues to improve, he will eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Gordon has also provided help in the passing game, as he posted 419 yards receiving and two touchdowns in 2016.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Los Angeles drafted Mike Williams to play opposite of Keenan Allen, who has dealt with injuries in his past. But Williams will miss part of the season because of a herniated disc in his back. The Chargers receivers have struggled with health over the years, so Williams being injured is worrisome to the Chargers management.
Antonio Gates is on the tail end of his career, and the Chargers have already found his replacement. Hunter Henry put up 478 yards on 36 receptions, and he racked up eight touchdowns in his rookie season. If Henry continues to play that well, the transition from the Gates would be easier than many expected.
The Chargers rebuilt their offensive line this offseason, hoping to provide Rivers more time in the pocket, and to also help get the run game to the next level. They signed former Seahawk Russell Okung to be their left tackle, and they also drafted Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp. However, Lamp suffered a torn ACL during camp and will miss the season. With Lamp out, the remainder of the offensive line will consist of Matt Slauson, Spencer Pulley and Joe Barksdale.