The San Diego Chargers missed the playoffs for the third year in a row following a 2012 NFL season in which they had a 7-9 record. A.J. Smith and Norv Turner were fired as general manager and head coach following last season, and Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy were hired to be their replacements.
San Diego’s offensive line allowed 49 sacks last season which ranked fourth in the league so Telesco signed veteran left tackles King Dunlap and Max Starks. Telesco also signed former Buffalo Bills left guard Chad Rinehart. D.J. Fluker was chosen in round one of this year’s draft to solidify the right tackle spot. Jeromey Clary will make the transition from RT to right guard this season following the selection of Fluker.
Center Nick Hardwick is the only offensive lineman from last year’s team who will return as a starter at his same position. According to Tom Krasovic of utsandiego.com, “What distinguished McCoy’s practices for veteran tackle Starks were the equal snaps for first, second and third teams.”
The equal distribution of snaps to players prepares them in case there are injuries this season. Telesco signing Dunlap and Starks makes sense in case Fluker struggles at times or goes down with an injury because they have experience at RT so one of them could replace him.
McCoy is also coming up with strategies to limit turnovers for quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers has 47 turnovers over the last two seasons and McCoy wants shorter passes when Rivers feels pressure on breakdowns. The signing of former New England Patriots running back Danny Woodhead could make this a reality. Woodhead averages about 11 yards per reception in his career and could be San Diego’s 2013 version of former Charger Darren Sproles.
San Diego ranked 31st in yards per rushing attempt and their four rushing touchdowns were tied for last with the Oakland Raiders in 2012. The Chargers lacked depth in their rushing attack which should be improved in 2013 because Ryan Mathews is capable of having a bounce back season. Woodhead averages about 4.8 yards per rushing attempt in his career and had the same amount of rushing touchdowns as San Diego did in 2012.
These moves appear to be the right ones to improve San Diego’s weaknesses from 2012, but the proof comes when they actually start playing games.