The San Diego Chargers signed former Philadelphia Eagles left tackle King Dunlap and former Pittsburgh Steelers LT Max Starks during the offseason. Dunlap and Starks are in a battle to see who will start at LT this season.
While nothing has been written in stone, Dunlap appears to be the front runner to win the starting job. He has been practicing with the first team for the most part, and according to U-T San Diego beat writer Michael Gehlken, the pass rush was all over Philip Rivers last Wednesday when Dunlap missed practice with a minor hip injury.
Starks has more experience at LT than Dunlap due to his four seasons as the primary starter at LT with Pittsburgh compared to Dunlap’s one season as a starter with Philadelphia. This is why I expected Starks to have an edge over Dunlap, but the latter has obviously impressed San Diego’s coaching staff.
Former Kansas City Chiefs LT Jared Gaither appeared to be the answer at LT until he missed 12 games with injuries last year and was released this past offseason
San Diego’s offensive line ranked fourth-worst in the NFL with 49 sacks allowed in 2012, so protecting Rivers’ blindside is one of the keys to improving this season.
Starks and Dunlap have experience at right tackle as well, so whoever loses the battle at LT could be the backup to the winner or the backup to rookie RT D.J. Fluker.
Dunlap signed a two-year deal with San Diego and if the 27-year-old wins the starting job, it will be interesting to see if he is the short- or long-term answer at LT.