No matter how hard you try to get away from it this offseason, the offensive line battle with the San Diego Chargers just sucks you back in.
After a flat-out embarrassing season a year ago where they allowed 49 sacks and couldn’t make a running lane for a microscopic protozoa, the Bolts went into overhaul mode this offseason. The new regime led by general manager Tom Telesco made upgrading all along the offensive line a priority early and often. New head coach Mike McCoy certainly didn’t hurt either by bringing in offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris from the Buffalo Bills and his zone-blocking concepts.
The zone-blocking ideas seemed prevalent early with the Bolts letting both Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green leave in free agency while signing the quicker Chad Rinehart at guard and King Dunlap at tackle. Things took a different and somewhat contradictory turn, however, at the 2013 NFL Draft when the Bolts selected the massive D.J. Fluker in round one. San Diego also signed Max Starks who favors a straight ahead blocking style as well to further cloud their direction.
So just what will the Bolts be doing when the 2013 season arrives?
As much as it pains me, I just don’t see much changing in the way of blocking schemes this season. The curveball of Fluker really has me wondering if the team envisions him as a guard in the future or if he will stick at tackle. If the Bolts really wanted to get more athletic they probably should have gone a different route.
On the other hand, the fact that Dunlap has been getting the bulk of the work with the first-team at left tackle says that perhaps this team is considering a more athletic setup. His ability to hold off Starks throughout camp and the preseason is a big predictor as to just what this unit will look like when the regular season gets underway.
For right now, the offensive line and its philosophy remain a mystery in San Diego. The only mystery with the unit last season was where it disappeared to on several occasions where Philip Rivers was under siege. I suppose that’s progress, right?