Chargers RB Austin Ekeler Discusses New OC Joe Lombardi

With Joe Lombardi now serving as the Chargers offensive coordinator, it’s easy to assume that the offense will see a handful of changes. While the running game will surely see some new wrinkles, running back Austin Ekeler is confident that he’ll have another chance to lead a successful running backs corps.

“I think that’s something that I’ve learned about Joe coming in like this man is going to get his playmakers in space and situations where they can be successful,” Ekeler said during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). “I think you see that as far as the running back position with Kamara with the Saints. They would give him the ball any way they could, and he was making plays. And it just depends on me, right? As far as, hey, if coach is going to trust me with the ball, my hands are going to make sure I make it work, make him right. If I don’t do that, we got a lot of other talent on the team too. So I like it, ’cause it’s putting the pressure on me. I love that ’cause now I’m betting on myself to go out there and make plays. I have no doubt about that.”

Ekeler mostly served as backup during his first few seasons in the NFL, but following a breakout 2019 campaign where he finished with more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage (and with Melvin Gordon officially out of the picture), the 26-year-old finally had an opportunity to start full time in 2020. Unfortunately, Ekeler was limited to only 10 games, and his 530 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown were his lowest marks since his rookie season.

The team will return a similar running back depth chart in 2021, with Ekeler leading a grouping that includes returnees Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley (plus sixth-round rookie Larry Rountree III).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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