The San Diego Chargers have huge question marks along the offensive line. Changes will be undoubtedly be made with a new offensive line coach in town and both starting guards set to be free agents.
With Joe D’Alessandris replacing Hal Hunter as the team’s offensive line coach, the Chargers are expected to switch from the man blocking scheme to the zone blocking scheme. This should definitely be a factor in the decision on whether to bring back certain linemen in 2013.
Right guard Louis Vasquez, who dealt with injuries throughout his first three years in the league, played his first full season in 2012. Vasquez was probably the Chargers’ best offensive lineman last season. Though not dominant, Vasquez was sound in pass protection and decent as a run blocker.
Vasquez continues to show improvement in the run game, but it is unknown if the change in scheme would help or hurt him in that department. However, at 6-5, 335 pounds, the fourth-year pro isn’t exactly light on his feet. Zone blocking schemes require smaller, faster linemen opposed to the man blocking scheme that uses slower but stronger linemen.
It would to tough to let a young, rising star leave via free agency, but the Chargers may want to pass on re-signing Vasquez. Rather than give him a $30-$40 million deal to play in a scheme that he might not be a fit for, the Chargers could bring in a cheaper replacement through free agency or the draft that could be a better fit.
It would be tough to see yet another top Charger sign somewhere else, especially since he is only 25 years old. We’ve seen players like Vincent Jackson, Michael Turner and Darren Sproles all go on to have huge success elsewhere in the league. However, keeping Vasquez at a high price still isn’t worth the risk.