The journey that Austin Ekeler has endured thus far in his career speaks volumes towards his determination and work ethic. Ekeler joined the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and has proven he belongs.
After carving out a part-time time role during his second season with the team, he broke out last year, while Melvin Gordon sat out in hopes of acquiring a contract extension, and cemented himself as one of the most versatile backs in the game. He was rewarded this past offseason with a four-year $24.5 million contract extension and is the clear No. 1 running back coming into the 2020 season.
This season will prove to be yet another challenge for him as well as the rest of the team to overcome. In an interview on Around The NFL, Ekeler discussed many topics about the upcoming season varying from how he’s been preparing amidst the current pandemic, to the Chargers being featured in Hard Knocks, as well as how his home workout videos that he’s been sharing. The biggest topic of course is the new outlook of the offense with two new quarterbacks under center.
When asked about the situation of having two new quarterbacks run the offense with the departure of Philip Rivers, Ekeler had some hopeful words to say.
“I think the vibe around our offense this year is more so okay. We have some more agile quarterbacks and they may be able to run, move the pocket, and things like that.”
While Rivers has had a Hall of Fame-caliber career with the Chargers, Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert will be able to add to the offense in a way River never could. He was essentially a pocket quarterback and was no good with his legs. Meanwhile, Taylor and Herbert will be able to extend the play and can give the offense a different look. By having a mobile quarterback it could potentially open up the passing game more which would force the defense to change things up, which would give the Chargers even more opportunities.
When asked what he’s learned about Justin Herbert through virtual team meetings Ekeler had this to say:
“Definitely got a lot to learn. The NFL can be a big workload, especially for a quarterback coming in and expected to learn the offense and first-round quarterbacks who are expected to play within the first couple of years.”
Of course, it’s been revealed that Taylor will be given the chance to lead the Chargers this season until head coach Anthony Lynn feels, if at all this season, that Herbert is ready. Regardless of whoever is under center for LA, they can expect a productive and talented Ekeler along with the rest of the offense to give them every opportunity to succeed.