Chargers hope Mike Pouncey can unlock Melvin Gordon

A healthy Mike Pouncey can be Melvin Gordon’s best friend, adding a new dimension to the Chargers run game. 

The Chargers allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL last year, but they couldn’t get their run game going. They’re betting on Mike Pouncey to change that. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt believes the former Dolphins’ center could be one of the offseason’s best signings.

Pouncey joined the Chargers on a two-year deal after being released by Miami. The contract guarantees the talented lineman at least $10 million but his compensation could jump all the way to $15 million if he reaches certain incentives. The Chargers hope that contract turns out to be a serious bargain.

Whisenhunt believes Pouncey will “bring a lot to the table” for his offense. It’s not hard to guess what the Chargers are hoping he’ll bring the most. What the team really needs is an interior lineman who can give the offense push. When he’s healthy and at his best, Pouncey is certainly capable of controlling defensive tackles at the point of attack.

That would be music to Melvin Gordon’s ears. The talented running back rushed for over 1100 yards last season, but his average of just 3.9 yards per carry is a real concern for the Chargers. If Pouncey can help make Gordon’s touches more effective it will provide Whisenhunt’s attack a lot more balance.

Philip Rivers will need more support from his ground game this season after the team decided to part ways with Antonio Gates last week. Hunter Henry will try to fill the void at tight end but replacing a legend is a big ask. If Gordon can bump his yards per carry to something closer to 4.5 it should give Rivers a lot more comfort in the pocket.

The key for Pouncey will be staying on the field for a full season. He did manage to play 16 games for the Dolphins last year but that was his highest total since 2012. Availability has been a real concern for Pouncey during his pro career.

If he can stay healthy, opposing defenses are going to find it very difficult to deal with the Chargers’ run game. That would be a welcome development in Los Angeles. Their days of being overly dependent on Philip Rivers might soon be over.