Normally, missing just one starting offensive lineman can hinder the chemistry and performance of an entire offensive line. However, the San Diego Chargers were missing three starting offensive linemen last Sunday and didn’t seem to miss a beat. They’ll likely need to rely on their backups for another week, which surprisingly, should be just fine.
Left tackle King Dunlap (concussion), left guard Chad Rinehart (toe), right guard Jeromey Clary (clavicle), and reserve guard Rich Ohrnberger (groin) all missed practice on Wednesday, putting their availabilities for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders in jeopardy. Dunlap, Rinehart and Clary all missed last Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, while Ohrnberger started but suffered an injury and was unable to finish the game.
In their places, Mike Harris did an exceptional job filling in for Dunlap and blocking DeMarcus Ware. Harris, just one season removed from a miserable rookie campaign at left tackle, is much improved this year and should be good to start in Dunlap’s or right tackle D.J. Fluker’s spot if needed. Guard Johnnie Troutman also had a solid outing replacing Clary and did particularly well pulling in the run game. Guard Stephen Schilling, who the Chargers re-signed last week due to all the injuries, was solid and actually played better than Ohrnberger, who he replaced. Ohrnberger allowed the hit on Philip Rivers which resulted in the pick six.
The unit as a whole allowed just one sack all game to a Cowboys team that entered the game with 13.
The fact that the Chargers mixed and matched offensive linemen throughout training camp and preseason is sure playing off now. Lack of chemistry hasn’t been a factor, and everyone seems capable of stepping in and performing if needed. Credit offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris for preparing his guys well.