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What Gus Edwards & Will Dissly Bring to the Chargers Offense


The Chargers have talked all offseason about wanting to beef up their run game.

Hello, Gus Edwards and Will Dissly.

The Bolts announced Wednesday that they have agreed to terms with Edwards, a free agent running back who now becomes the focal point of the Chargers ground game.

The Chargers also signed Dissly, a tight end who was a 2018 fourth-round pick by Seattle.

Edwards and Dissly fit exactly the type of players the Chargers need on offense.

Actually, they are exactly the type of players Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh wants on the roster.

We'll start with Edwards, as dropping him into the Bolts offense is essentially a perfect fit.

The Chargers new leaders in the front office — General Manager Joe Hortiz and Harbaugh — know Edwards well.

Hortiz, of course, played a role in Edwards joining Baltimore as a free agent in 2018 when he was in the Ravens front office.

Edwards will now play for another Harbaugh as he spent the past six seasons with Jim's brother, John.

And don't forget about the Greg Roman connection, as the Chargers Offensive Coordinator held that same role with the Ravens from 2019 to 2022. Heck, Chargers Run Game Coordinator and tight ends coach Andy Bischoff was also in Baltimore with Edwards.

So, yes, the Bolts know exactly what they're getting with Edwards.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Edwards averaged plus-0.7 rushing yards over expected among running backs who had at least 300 carries in that timespan. That was the fourth-best mark among running backs in that four-year window.

Edwards is also coming off his best season as a pro. He scored 13 rushing touchdowns in 2023, which equaled his amount in his first four years in the league.

Edwards also set a career high with 810 rushing yards. If he gets enough carries, it's not difficult to imagine him surpassing the 1,000-yard mark in powder blue.

Finally, Edwards' rugged running style will be a welcome addition in Southern California.

The Chargers run game has lagged near the bottom of the league in recent years. Edwards should provide a jolt there.

Of the 34 players with at least 175 carries in 2023, Edwards had the lowest percentage (11.3) go for no gain or a loss.

Put another way, the 6-foot-1, 238-pound Edwards also seems to be moving forward when the ball is in his hands.

Now that he's joining a team with an offensive scheme and coaching staff he knows well, he'll be tasked with moving the Bolts ground game in a positive direction, too.

And Dissly will be a key part of that success as he's heralded as one of the league's top blocking tight ends.

His arrival won't generate any major national headlines, but the 27-year-old brings a gritty, tough and blue-collared approach to his job.

"I always say that run blocking is a 'want to.' A lot of guys are just as big or athletic as I am, but I take pride in that I want to do it a little bit more," Dissly said. "I also know that if I'm doing my job then it's helping other guys do theirs, right?

"The O-line looks better, the running backs look better," Dissly added. "It's a bit of a sacrifice that I'm more than happy to do."

Dissly appeared in 72 career games (65 starts) before being released by the Seahawks last week.

He has 127 career catches for 1,421 yards and 13 scores, so he can provide some pop in the passing game if needed.

But the main reason the Chargers signed him is for his run-blocking prowess and work in the trenches, something the 6-foot-4, 265-pound tight end has excelled at as a pro.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dissly had a run-blocking grade of 77.2 this past season, which was second among all tight ends. It was the best run-blocking grade of Dissly's career.

The Bolts have long been searching for a run-blocking tight end that can help move some bodies up front.

Again, will Dissly be a secondary option for Justin Herbert in the passing game? Sure.

It's more likely to envision him next to Rashawn Slater and paving the way for a punishing ground game that Harbaugh and Chargers Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman want to produce.

Edwards and Dissly are among the Chargers first free agent signing of the 2024 offseason.

And they both fit the exact mold that Harbaugh wants to build his team around.

"It feels like an opportunity to build something," Dissly said. "Grateful they wanted me to be a part of it and grateful for the role I think I can get done to help us win games."

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