Nov 17, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) drops back to pass against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won the game 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Holdem: Offensive Line Flop, the Turn and the Rivers (CHARGERS)

The San Diego Chargers lose to the Miami Dolphins this week in a game that went to the last play of the game, again.  This put San Diego in a three game losing streak (all close games); losing to the Redskins by 6 points, Broncos by 8 points and now the Dolphins by 4 points. Each game has gone to the wire, to the last minute and to the last play. San Diego failed again to score the points at the end of the game.

Chargers fans would expect a better record and better performance, but with the third year in a row, the Chargers offensive line has been annihilated with injuries. Shuffling healthy bodies around the O-line seems to be the blocking norm over the last few years. The Chargers offensive line is like a Texas Holdem card game; The flop (Jeromey Clary & DJ Fluker getting shuffled around); the TURN (New Guys filling in the holes); and the shuffling all these linemen around effects: The RIVERS (and the passing game).

Chargers starting O-line have been a revolving door for the last few years, and this year is no different. How quarterback Phillip Rivers remains in one-piece is a miracle. With these massive O-line injuries, Chargers fans should be grateful for already possessing 4 wins out of 10 games. This unit is relying solely on scheme and play calling, which is fundamentally a cornerstone, but the offensive line needs a shimmer of luck with some timely healing.

Left Tackle King Dunlap was out again with a neck injury this week, and was swapped by right tackle DJ Fluker, who played admirably with the emergency fill-in role, again.  Right Guard Jeromey Clary slid over to take back his old right tackle position and did a decent job. In fact, keeping Clary on the roster this year has been a nice surprise, as he can play multiple positions (even if at average).

On the bright side, San Diego’s rookie offensive tackle  DJ Fluker is improving greatly every week, but still has his rookie moments and blocking mistakes. Yet Fluker could be arguably the best O-linemen on the team. He is clearly not a left tackle, but he should be a Chargers force on the right side for the next decade. Looking back at the draft, San Diego made the correct decision by selecting the Missing-Link Tackle.

San Diego did play well at times, but only managed to score two field goals in the second half (and one touchdown for the game). San Diego has always been considered a “second half team” (within games and seasons), yet over the last three games, old Chargers fads and habits have failed.

San Diego has the tools and the weapons to be a high powered offense, but take away a quarterbacks protection and offensive line, no team will score points. The San Diego Chargers have not folded yet. 6 loses does not eliminate them from the playoffs and the fans are still All-In.

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Tags: San Diego Chargers

  • Peter Thompson

    Nice article, J-Fed! Love the hold em’ theme.

  • Stefanie Smith

    Excellent article!

  • Mz. Sarah

    Awesome job! Fluker is our future and I’m glad people are now catching on.

    • jamfed

      I’ve been defending the Chargers draft since Goodell called Fluker’s name. It wasn’t an ideal selection, but he’s been great!

  • Michael Popowich

    Well said. Not sure I agree about Clary helping out, but agree, Rivers needs more protection, and the runners need more blocking so that they can execute in the red zone.

  • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

    I’d so love to bookend Fluker with Antonio Richardson from Tennessee, but man we might be picking at such a high spot we could go any number of ways and most likely BPA. If we suck it up enough we could have a shot at Anthony Barr, he is exactly what every 2013-2014 NFL teams needs a tall fast OLB that can cover the Giant Gronks/Grahams of the world. Another way to go would be Veldheer from OAK is a beast LT (out this entire season so far) but he would bookend very well with Fluker for the future as well.

    I was reading that we are right now the #8 slot for the draft, somehow the loses to the poopy teams bumped us up above all the other 4-6ers, Good times.

    • jamfed

      I’m not familiar with Antonio Richardson YET! O-LIne still needs attention. IF, San Diego gets 8 losses, then I start with draft evaluations.

      I have been watching Left Tackles Taylor Lewan and Cyrus Kouandjio, PLUS Anthony Barr, OLB (UCLA)

  • kris

    Im gonna officially start the suck for Bridgewater campaign!

    • Ernie Padaon

      Manziel more likely. Ha

  • kris

    Also, to comment on the article. Fluker has been awesome! Hes my favorite Charger this year, nice guy and absolute beast out there!

  • Lee

    good article. since everyone is pointing out the bad recently we have some good things going on as well that are getting overshadowed. the receivers seem to be talented and have potential, im glad royal is playing well and thank god we drafted keenan allen cuz he is a future star. brown needs some more experience tho as his route running has been a problem. gates is healthy and looking good, clary has really stepped up and is proving fans he can be a decent lineman. mathews has also turned it up with his performances recently and dj fluker is a beast but needs some more experience. rivers has been pretty good but i would hope the coaches allow him to throw some deeper routes, thats a strong point of his. other than that, the defense is a mess and we need more depth on the offensive front. im somewhat disappointed with the conservative coaching tho and need to see some improvements on that side

  • Michael

    Its nice to read about some thing positive, I definately need to self evaluate myself anf come to grips with the fact that injuries are high, cap is maxed, digging in the dirt for everyone’s left overs, and first year coaching has kept us glued together enough to be in every game this year. Be thankful for what we have, I guess. GO BOLTS!!!!!

  • Joel Ayala

    FLUKER IS THE SHIT!!! GOOD JOB TT. get more of the BAMA hogs on this line.

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  • arnie

    I’m late great article James.