December 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

You Decide: How To Fix The Left Tackle Position (Poll)

So, the Chargers did not pick a left tackle in this year´s NFL draft and Bryant McKinnie fooled us all by signing a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens after going out to dinner with our front office staff, taking a physical and texting stuff like “It´s nice out here (in San Diego)”. But whatever – in the end it´s all about business; he wanted to test the market in order to get a better deal with the Ravens. Well done, party boy!

For us this means, we have to try to get another guy for the left side of the offensive line or we´re okay with the player personnel we´ve got on the roster right now.


Mike Harris
We´ve all seen what Mike Harris could do…or what he couldn´t do last year: protecting Philip Rivers´ blind side. But I want to be fair; he had some decent performances and is willing to learn. As an undrafted rookie last season he was thrown in at the deep end. The guy gained some experience as starter and probably will do a better job next season when given the chance.

King Dunlap
Would King Dunlap be the better option than Harris at left tackle? Well, according to Philadelphia Eagles fans, he´s not. Most of them hated him; they hated him – and probably still hate him although he´s gone. But there are some facts that should be considered when talking about Dunlap. Philly fans were used to watching 5-time Pro-Bowler and 4-time All-Pro Jason Peters protecting their quarterback´s blind side. The stud tackle ruptured his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout and missed the complete 2012 season. King Dunlap was far from consistent, but also if he would´ve done a better job last year, the fans would´ve hated him as he had to step into that great man´s shoes which he never was able to fill. And I want to add, that it might be a little bit harder to block for a mobile quarterback than for a classic drop-back passer, as you´ll never know where they´re going to be. I´ll let you decide in which of those quarterback categories Philip Rivers fits the best.

If we´re not too pleased with any of those guys as starters, then what are the options for the Chargers to address the left tackle position?


Max Starks
The whole BoltNation seems to talk about free agent Max Starks right now. Starks has been on the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2004 and started all 16 games last season. He won two championships with the team, one as starting left tackle and one as starting right tackle. One of those Super Bowl rings came with Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as their play caller. He probably (or surely) is the best blind side protector available at this point in free agency – although his play tailed off last season after returning from ACL surgery. At the age of 31, he has a ton of experience under his belt but still some fuel left in the tank. Starks was a $890,000 cap hit for the Steelers last year (i.e. relatively “cap space friendly”) and so the veteran left tackle could be a very interesting option for the Lightning Bolts.

Demetress Bell
Yes I´m doing it; I´m listing Demetress Bell here. Why? Because he is available and lines up as left tackle. I already mentioned that King Dunlap got bashed pretty hard by Philadelphia Eagles fans; guess I don´t have to tell you that they were coming twice as hard at Bell. Demetress Bell, 29, struggled in Howard Mudd’s system and actually was worse than Dunlap in 2012. He was given a 5 year, $34.5 million contract in 2012, but was released after just one year. In my opinion it´s not an impossibility that he might rebound on an other team. But he definitely would be nothing more than an addition for depth purpose.


If Tom Telesco decides that none of these free agents are worth a pick-up, then trades can save us from watching King Dunlap or Mike Harris starting at left tackle.

Jason Peters
Well, I´m mentioning Jason Peters here, because the Philadelphia Eagles just drafted top tier tackle Lane Johnson and Peters is set to be $11 million cap hit in 2013; but the release of the 31-year old stud would only create about $800,000 in dead money! As mentioned above he is recovering from an Achilles tendon rupture and did not see any on-field action in 2012. The Eagles acquired Peters (undrafted in 2004) from the Buffalo Bills for the 28th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. They also gave up a fourth-round pick (121st overall) in the same year and a late sixth round conditional pick in 2010. Although the 4-time All-Pro and 5-time Pro-Bowler was injured last season, I don´t expect him to come in significantly cheaper than that. So, after all it´s not very likely that trade will happen.

Branden Albert
The Kansas City Chiefs used their franchise tag on Branden Albert; this means he´s about to get 9.8 million guaranteed money this year. After making left tackle Eric Fisher the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, they are still open to trade the veteran left tackle for a second round pick in return. Albert, 28, surely would demand around $9 million per year and, just like Jason Peters, he might be too expensive for the Chargers. His history of back problems doesn´t make this option too attractive for me either.

Eugene Monroe
This is a trade some Chargers fans are begging for; which makes sense as the Jacksonville Jaguars just selected top tackle Luke Joeckel in the draft last week. The former first round pick Eugene Monroe, is one of the league´s best tackles and surely would cost us at least a second round pick, if not a first rounder in 2014. Monroe, 26, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will demand big-time money when signing his extension. So, just like for the other trade options; this move might eat up too much cap space.

So, Bolt Family, now it´s your turn – Tom Telesco needs your help!

What should the Chargers do to upgrade the left tackle position?

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  • Sergio Quintero

    I would add Rodger Saffold to trade list, he’s a mediocre LT, but he’s being moved RT because of the signing of Jake Long. The word out of St Louis is that he’s not happy with the move.

    Me personally trade for Monroe give up a second rounder for him, he’s 26, thus he’s in his prime well worth the investment.

    • MC Boltman

      Yeah Monroe would be awesome, but I wouldn´t be surprised if we´d have to give up a first rounder and that would be too much. And he´ll demand big-time money…and the current cap space doesn´t allow much trades or additions (with June 1st it will look better again -> Gaither´s $4 million) – unless we cut some guys (Clary, Royal…Whitehurst..).

  • joerockt

    5 votes for Bell *SMH*

    • MC Boltman

      Well, if he comes in ridiculously cheap (much cheaper than Starks)…then whatever, just for depth purpose one year, why not – and I think he can do better than last year…but again its all about the price.

      • joerockt

        He will do nothing to help the cause, its been proven already. And it doesn’t matter how cheap he comes when he’s worthless to begin with.

        • MC Boltman

          Its ok bro, I don´t need him :)

  • Ioane

    If you look at our offensive line as a whole, they are a better unit than what we had last season. Dunlap>Harris, Rinehart>Green Fluker>Clary and Clary might make a much better guard than he was a RT. not to mention the hire of Joe-D tht has proven he can make a solid offensive line from low round guys.

    We also brought in Dunlap and Rinehart players who performed well under Joe-D.


    that’s a better unit than than the one Rivers had last season. That might just be enough for Rivers to make plays and get us into the playoff’s. not to mention we have a top 10 defense and we won 7 games last year and left 3-4 games that should of won on the field with a pretty bad offensive lintel and very poor play calling.

    We also have en easier schedule. We improved and were staying under the radar. We added McCoy and Whiz to improve our offense. Trust me, we will surprise a lot of people this season.

    I’m very happy with the hire of Telesco. He knew our strengths and weaknesses and addresses as best as he can with the little to no money to work with.

    • Stefanie Smith

      Dunlap played right tackle. Some say he also played left. Nevertheless he did not play right tackle very well. The sports analysts say he is, at best, a good backup. Why would we insist that Rivers put up with that, especially on his blind side? You really don’t know that Dunlap is better than Harris. You are guessing. Philly folks would probably disagree with you.

      • arnie

        We are all guessing, including you Stefanie. Dunlap was a LT in College, and a good one. but Vick was left handed, so Dunlap protected his blindside, which would be traditionally the strong side of the QB, at the RT position.
        It is not easy to make that transition from left to right. it like writing with you right hand, then asked to write with your left. it can be done, but it takes time to develop the muscles, reflexes, an technique.

        • Stefanie Smith

          Exactly. So why should Rivers have to be part of the Dunlap experiment? You don’t have an experiment or a question mark protecting your franchise QB’s blind side.

          • arnie

            first off Rivers doesn’t have any say. secondly i don’t see any experiment. Either you believe TT has gotten the “players” that can fill the need at LT or, you don”t

          • Nick in PB

            Let;s not forget that last season was Dunlaps FIRST as a starter at LT! He was thrown in just like Harris was with us. He did have more experience as a pro but who knows, this guy may succeed with Joe D as his coach. He’s not an elite prospect that we are all wanting but he is certainly an upgrade that could end up being better than advertised. That said, I would still feel better with a proven starter at LT this year.

          • Stefanie Smith

            Actually he worked on Vick’s right side last year. At least that is what I found out. They have him listed as a right tackle. If, after looking at the tape on this guy, you think he is great, then I guess there is nothing much to say.

          • Stefanie Smith

            Seeing if it works out – that alludes to an experiment. Not sure, …language like no one knows, guessing –that is not a sure thing.–iffy at best, thus the word “experiment” If you think that King Dunlap is the best we can do for Rivers at LT, then so be it. You don’t care if River’s blind side is protected by the best, maybe.

            Also don’t be so limited in your thinking. When somebody disagrees with something TT or McCoy does, it does not reflect a belief or a lack of belief in TT as a GM. As we are not infallible, even the best GM is not infallible and can make errors. That is all anyone is saying.

          • arnie

            There is some truth on what you say. people are fallible. However, they get paid to do this. we don’t. so my opinions will lean towards the professionals that have had success in their fields.
            The bottom line is, i think you “personally” just don’t like Dunlap at LT. I’ve based my opinions on the the facts, in context. So yes, i believe Dunlap is the best option, to protect Rivers Blindside, that TT can come up with. “Under the current circumstances”. Are there better LT out there? yes. But the question is, do you think TT should sacrifice half the cap, to gamble on one FA guy? Do you think he should have traded away the entire draft, plus next years to get a pick in the top 4, to pick an rookie LT that is completely unproven in the NFL?

    • Cgoodness13

      Troutman is a pass blocker, so LG, Rinehart and clary are run blockers, so RG

    • MC Boltman

      Well, I like your optimism and I really want to believe your point, that we´ll surprise a lot of people. I believe that too, but…the Broncos & Chiefs got pretty strong – not too sure if we´ll make the playoffs. But again – keep staying positive, we need that kind of spirit in BoltNation :) Thanx!

  • arnie

    i like the article MC Boltman, but the key here, you have to stop putting Harris in the mix as LT. he will probably back up the right side. He played RT almost his entire career at UCLA. it’s more likely Ohrnberger and Dunlap will compete for the spot, while Rinehart will make a stab at RG

    • MC Boltman

      Thank you very much! But when someone starts games at left tackle, then I will mention him as left tackle, especially when no real starting caliber can be found at that position. We drafted a right tackle, we don´t need him there. Ohrnberger is a backup at guard. If you want another name to compete for LT, then its Kevin Haslam. But thanx for sharing your point of view.

      • arnie

        No problem. that is the usual problem. everyone mentions Harris because he was there. Nobody, mentions he was never meant to be there. Harris was just the best Tackle on the roster, at the time. He will not be on the left side. With Ornberger you have to did deeper while he played C and Guard , he started at LT in college so he can play the position.
        and thanks for reminding me about haslam.

  • FitzWilly

    I say we leave it as is, and let the coaches do their job with King Dee and the boys
    We still don’t know what offensive system we’ll be running
    Maybe we’ll be fine with a quick pass scheme and extra blocking for runs and long balls
    why waste all this dough for maybe
    if we find something in next years draft, then awesome
    Remember kids, M^2 made TeBlow look like an actual QB
    imagine what he will do with the talent we have