One of the storylines flying under the radar this week in the San Diego Chargers–Philadelphia Eagles matchup is King Dunlap’s return to Philadelphia. Dunlap, who spent four up-and-down seasons with the Eagles, was cast away this offseason and now starts at left tackle for the Chargers. Dunlap is infamous in Philadelphia for some untimely penalties and bone-headed plays, but appears to have cleaned up his game so far with the Bolts.
Dunlap continued a strong preseason with a good season opener against one of the NFL’s best defenses. According to Pro Football Focus, Dunlap was beaten for a sack, but gave up just one additional pressure on 55 offensive snaps. He also finished the game as the team’s most effective run blocker, something he was never known for in his days in Philly.
Dunlap has been solid so far but will have his toughest task this week as he goes up against a familiar face in Trent Cole. Cole, now playing as a 3-4 outside linebacker in Philadelphia’s new defensive scheme, knows Dunlap very well and has gone up against him many times in practice. Dunlap, who has struggled mightily at times before coming to San Diego, could have some weaknesses that Cole and the rest of the Eagles know about and will sure take advantage of on Sunday. Meanwhile, Dunlap will likely be extra motivated to continue his solid play and prove against his former teammates that he is a true starting left tackle in this league.
The Chargers’ offense may have started off fast last week against the Houston Texans, but quickly faltered in the second half when the Texans decided to bring more pressure. The Eagles could try a similar game plan this week, knowing that the Chargers’ offensive line, though improved from last season, still can be rather shaky. Dunlap, as well as the rest of the offensive line, has to be ready and needs to play well for this offense to move.