One of the things I was keeping an eye on in Saturday’s preseason opener was just how the offensive line looked against the Chargers defensive front. Luckily, Joey Bosa did not dress. Still, with so many moving parts up front, how the unit worked together is what I was most interested in. Last year the line was middle of the pack in creating yards against the run, and 26th in the league in adjusted sack rate. If Sam Bradford is going to play an entire season, the latter has to change. Seth wrote about how the offensive line as a unit were winners. He was right. I’ll go over two plays by the first team offensive line to show that there’s reason to be encouraged.
Play 1-David Johnson rushes up the middle for 14 yards
David Johnson is better than good. It didn’t take long to notice he’s back. Life will be easier on him if the offensive line creates holes like they did for him to run through yesterday. They set the tone from the very first play.
Working from left to right, there is a hat on a hat. DJ Humphries, 74, has Melvin Ingram contained. Larry Fitzgerald has the corner sealed. Now is where the fun begins. Mike Iupati swallows the linebacker at the second level. If he can be consistent at the second level this year, look out. Third round rookie Mason Cole, who was thrown into the starting lineup after AQ Shipley was lost for the season, has the Chargers defensive tackle on the ground. That’s a big win for Cole. Justin Pugh and Andre Smith finish off the other defensive tackle by driving him four yards off the ball. Yes please. When Johnson has a crease, this is what happens.
Play 2-If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
Mike McCoy liked what he saw so he went back to well. The play prior Johnson had to get skinny through a hole. On this play, Trent Richardson wouldn’t have missed the running lane.
Apparently Cole is the best center ever. He got to the linebacker and drove him well out of the play. That’s after helping secure the defensive tackle with Pugh. Iupati ran his man well upfield and that’s how you get a running lane that you can drive through.
Iupati is a beast. On each of the plays on the opening drive he handled his man. Cole playing next to him should be great for the rookies development. With game one the team establishing the run. We’ll see if next game they establish the pass. What we learned is they are certainly tougher up front. Let’s see if they can carry over the good performance to the next game.