Sep 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tackle D. J. Fluker (76) on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium. Alabama beat Michigan 41-14. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers Offensive Line Blues…

By James Fedewa

San Diego seems to be in a pinch: No left tackle

This week, the Chargers hosted free agent (and recent super bowl winner) Left Tackle Bryant McKinnie, only to watch him leave and re-sign with the Baltimore Ravens. Chargers fans have been very concerned about the vacant hole at left tackle. Depth is needed, but San Diego does not have a lot of salary to spend on a coveted or premier left tackle. Free agent addition King Dunlap is currently listed as San Diego’s left tackle starter, and is a large upgrade from last seasons left tackle problems. Most consider Dunlap a backup/swing tackle, but fans should recognize that he will me more than a swing or backup and will contribute significantly this season.

What most Chargers fans do not recognize is the biggest offseason addition to the offensive line, new O-line coach Joe Dalessandris. “Coach-D” has worked wonders the last three years in Buffalo, 2 years prior with the Chiefs, 6 years prior with Georgia Tech, and a total 36 years of coaching experience. He’s made some good players better and some undrafted guys into pro-bowlers. Notable linemen “Coach Joe-D” helped establish are Jason Peters (undrafted), Cordy Glenn (2nd round pick), Branden Albert (1st round pick), Demetrius Bell (7th round pick), Brian Waters (undrafted), Andy Levitre (2nd round pick), just to name a few…

Coach Joe-D recruited LT King Dunlap in high school and is a partial reason why Dunlap followed him to San Diego. Right Guard Chad Rinehart (from Buffalo) quickly trailed Coach Joe-D to San Diego as well, and is considering a lateral improvement (to some) of former starting RG Luis Vazquez.

Dalessandris will have his hands full in San Diego, but in a good way. The Chargers are not excessively talented upfront, but Coach Joe-D has a lot to work with, starting with the four very young fellas: D.J. Fluker, Johnnie Troutman, David Molk and Mike Harris. All will improve with Coach Joe-D’s specialized Zone Blocking Scheme (ZBS – a blocking method based on footwork, technique, alternative steps and angles that can create walls vs. pockets). This new scheme will help San Diego immensely and fans can expect immediate improvement. Then again, any improvement would be huge.

Depending on health, injuries and youthful experience, the current Chargers offensive line should be a major upgrade over last season and fans will recognize the new coaching staff is the largest upgrade of all. New coaches working with the talent San Diego already possesses will be the transformation of mediocrity, into championship stages. Free agents like Bryant McKinnie would seem to be a nice addition, but not mandatory and not necessarily a good fit…

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