New Tackles, New Guards, New Backs.. Zone Blocking?


May 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tackle D.j. Fluker (76) and guard Johnnie Troutman (63) during Chargers rookie minicamp at Chargers park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

When we hired Joe D’Alessandris away from the Buffalo Bills, most people were predicting that The San Diego Chargers would be moving to a “zone blocking scheme”. As we all know, this scheme focuses on having a smaller, more athletic offensive line. With the first pick of the draft, Tom Telesco drafted “Mount Fluker” to hold down the right side of the line. This prompted the Bolts to move our ex right tackle Jeromey Clary (who is also a very big boy) to the right guard position. Initially, there was an expectation of our run game being pulled to the right. King Dunlap was to be the starting left tackle, and is not very dominant, when it comes to the run game. After signing Max Starks to the left tackle position, there seems to be a little bit more hope that we can run left, as well. If the season started today, I believe that Chad Rinehart would be the starter at left guard, until Johnnie Troutman can prove himself, and possibly take over a guard position at a later date. For the time being, he will probably be used to rotate in, and get some much needed NFL experience. The left guard position seems to be the most “up-for-grabs” position on this unit. Dunlap, Ohrnberger, Troutman, and Rinehart will all compete for that spot, and could potentially be the starter.

I have been thinking about what this would mean for the zone blocking scheme that we were all expecting to see. Before the draft, and recent weeks of free agency, we were looking at King Dunlap being the only plus sized player on the line, except for Clary. Now we could possibly have the Twin Towers of Fluker & Starks on the bookends, Clary &.. “my conspiracy theory” pick.. King Dunlap at the guard positions (who has experience playing both guard positions). Nick Hardwick would be the smallest player on the line at 6′ 4″. Wow… that is a lot of beef up front!!!! Could we still run a zone blocking scheme with those guys? It seems like that would be more suited to a power blocking scheme, to me.

Of course, there are still a lot of variables out there. Clary could be cut after June 1st to make more cap space, and be replaced with a more athletic free agent guard like Brandon Moore.. or, simply lose out to another guard on the roster (which I would doubt, if he stays). The left guard position could be held by Reinhart, who was used in coach Joe D’s zone-blocking scheme in Buffalo. But, if we end up with (from right to left) Fluker, Clary, Hardwick, Reinhart, Starks… is that line even close to athletic enough to play a zone-blocking scheme? Furthermore, (even though coach Joe D’ is a great o-line coach, regardless), what was the point of bringing in a zone-blocking expert, if we were planning on signing all of these huge “not-so-athletic” players?

Perhaps there are still more changes to come, and it is too early to tell. What do you all think of the way the o-line is playing out? Which scheme do you think we will end up running.. zone, power, or a combination of both? Can the players we have on the roster now plug into a zone scheme? Would Philip be able to see over the line if Dunlap secures the left guard position? Are you more comfortable with the run game, now that we have added more starting caliber players to the line? Please post your thoughts in the comment section below.

Happy “Memorial Day Weekend” Friday, and Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!