San Diego Chargers’ Projected Offensive Line Depth Chart: An Early Look
An Early Look at the San Diego Chargers' Rebuilt Offensive Line
The two biggest barometers for offensive line aptitude are the success of a running game and how many times the quarterback gets sacked. By those parameters, the San Diego Chargers failed miserably during the 2012 season as they saw a running that was expected to be strong finish 27th in a league of 32 teams and quarterback Philip Rivers hit the turf a staggering 49 times for the league’s second-highest total. This offseason turned over a new leaf for the entire organization however, and that bodes well for the guys in the trenches in 2013.
Perhaps the biggest change is in philosophy as the Bolts switch from a man-blocking scheme to a zone-blocking concept in the upcoming season. That explains why the team went through a serious personnel purge this offseason by turning the page on three starters from last year and switching the position of one of the remaining underperformers.
Now that the pursuit of a fix at left tackle is complete, the offensive line has finally taken shape for the team as far as a depth chart is concerned. This group looks substantially improved from a year ago on paper, but getting everyone on the same page and working as a cohesive unit is always a focal point in the trenches.
With a mixture that includes a rookie, some journeymen, and a few franchise stalwarts, the Bolts have quite the potpourri of personnel along the offensive front. It’s about time this team gets back to the glory days of paving the way for record-breaking rushers, so without further ado, here’s a look at what the depth chart along the offensive line figures to look like when week one arrives.
These two will fight it out for starting duties as Rivers’ blindside protector, and despite the experience differential, this could be a close battle. Dunlap isn’t viewed as being in Starks’ league, but Pro Football Focus actually graded him ahead of the wily veteran last season. Look for a fierce competition here during training camp.
Neither of these guys will really wow you, but Rinehart has he experience with new offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris from his days with the Buffalo Bills. His familiarity with the zone-blocking scheme will make him a real asset to this unit as a whole during camp in getting everyone on the same page.
The most seasoned member of the offensive line fittingly resides in the center with Hardwick. He has been the one constant on a very up and down unit over the past few seasons despite his injury history. If he can remain healthy this coming season, the center position figures to be a real strength.
Finally Clary is put in a position where you can get away with holding on a more regular basis. His propensity for taking mindless penalties at the worst times has infuriated me for years, but now he can use his run blocking skills to the max.
The rookie will help the running game immediately with his 6’5” 339lbs. frame. He was widely considered the best run blocker in the entire 2013 NFL Draft class and will get the chance to verify that with the Bolts. This should be a position of strength for the next decade in San Diego.