The San Diego Chargers had offensive line problems last season. Four time Pro Bowl and two time All-Pro left guard Kris Dielman missed 10 games because of a concussion and he suffered a seizure on the team plane following a game against the New York Jets.
Two time Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeill missed seven games last season and injuries took its toll on the Chargers. Philip Rivers was sacked 28 times in the team’s first 11 games which included a season high six sacks in a loss against the Oakland Raiders.
Rivers also threw 15 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in the team’s first 11 games. The Kansas City Chiefs placed left tackle Jared Gaither on waivers and San Diego ended up claiming him. After Gaither was picked up, Rivers threw 11 touchdowns and three interceptions in five games.
Nick Hardwick was San Diego’s primary starting center from 2004-2008 and 2010-2011. Dielman retired during the off-season, Hardwick thought about retirement and Gaither was a free agent. Hardwick returned to San Diego when he signed a three year deal worth $13.5 million while Gaither re-signed for four years and $24.6 million.
Hardwick battled a concussion and did not play in last week’s preseason game while Gaither participated in one practice during the off-season, left with back spasms and has not played in a preseason game.
San Diego solved their offensive line issues in the last five games of their 2011 season. Rivers was sacked two times in the team’s last five games.
Vincent Jackson led San Diego in receiving yards and TD receptions during the 2011 NFL season. The Chargers lost Jackson in free agency, so this along with potential offensive line problems could mean a struggle to start the season on the right foot.
Hopefully Gaither and Hardwick will be ready for the season opener against Oakland on September 10th and stay healthy in 2012.