Whisenhunt to Repair Rushing Attack[the_ad id=”58837″]Fantasy owners and Charger fans have been dissecting the play of Melvin Gordon and the teams poor offensive line for months. Gordon, the 15th overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft could only mange 641 rushing yards (3.5 YPC) and six fumbles in his rookie season. He never found the endzone and didn’t have the impact in the passing game that many thought he would.
As a result, 31 year old Danny Woodhead helped move the chains with his 80 receptions for 755 yards and 6 scores through the air. Woodhead was a YAC yards machine, leading the NFL with 737 yards after the catch. The former Patriot and all round weapon had a 9.2 YAC average, which basically replaced the under performing running game. This shot up the fantasy value of Philip Rivers as handoffs now became short yardage passes to RB’s. Woodhead also added 336 yards rushing the ball and punched in three rushing touchdowns last season.
PPR fantasy owners were pleasantly surprised with the heavy workload from Woodhead, yet one has to figure that the team’s move to bring back Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator is all about fixing Melvin Gordon and their dreadful rushing attack. Whisenhunt was the Offensive coordinator in 2013 before becoming the head coach of the Tennessee Titans for two years. On November 3, 2015, after starting the season 1–6, the Titans fired Whisenhunt, and named Mike Mularkey the interim head coach.
The Chargers averaged 3.5 yards per carry in 2015 (last in the NFL) and 3.4 yards per carry in 2014 (ranking second to last.)
Under Whisenhunt, Ryan Mathews had his most productive season rushing for 1,255 yards and ranking 13th in the NFL in 2013.
Granted, the offensive line was completely different, yet the transition of change from being a great rushing team to one that could hardly move the ball is in my opinion, solely on the coaching change.
Whisenhunt’s return should have an immediate impact on the Chargers rushing attack in 2016
“The first thing I will say is there were a lot of good things that were done last year offensively,” Whisenhunt said.
“But the one thing that stands out is we need to run the football better than we did last year. There is no blame associated there, as there are always factors that are involved. But that is probably the biggest thing we have to do, because then your play action builds off of that, your time of possession increases where you can control the ball and you are in better third down situations. All of those things tie in together. Now, it’s hard to say you can improve on all of those things significantly in the offseason because there are no pads, but I think you can lay the groundwork for what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. That will carry over into training camp.”
Fantasy Recap: Don’t give up on Melvin Gordon just yet.
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The Chargers offensive line was atrocious last season. Sure, they line was rarely healthy, but even when they were there was issues…..and that was after an offseason “revamp” that saw them bring in Orlando Franklin and move D.J. Fluker to a more suitable position.
This offseason, the team fired their Offensive Line Coach and replaced him with two Offensive Line Coaches. That’s fine, and that should help, but that doesn’t solve the big problems… read more
Mike is the founding member at Gridiron Experts with over 1000+ articles credited to his name. With over 25 years of fantasy experience, Mike has a very unique style when picking sleepers and gems. He has always had an outside the box look on the NFL and rarely gets sucked into the hype over players or buzzing offenses. Mike has three kids and lives on the West Coast. He’s happily married to a beautiful woman who also loves sports. Sundays are spent with friends and family watching games from opening kickoff to well into the evenings.