Thursday, February 7, 2013
Solutions for Chargers' O-line
By Tim Kavanagh
A big overhaul was expected for the San Diego Chargers this offseason, and a big overhaul is what is underway: GM A.J. Smith and HC Norv Turner are out, replaced by Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy, respectively. But there are on-field changes that are necessary, and some of the biggest ones will take place on the offensive line.
Left tackle Jared Gaither is a potential cut in the coming days, as he has failed to perform up to the level expected by his contracted. RT Jeromey Clary is passable, but an improvement could be made there as well. Both 2012 starters at OG -- Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green -- are impending free agents. There are some interesting FA options that could become available if their current teams don't re-sign them -- Jake Long, Branden Albert and Sebastian Vollmer at tackle as well as Andy Levitre and Brandon Moore at OG. For Levitre, he'd be reuniting with Joe D'Alessandris, who was the O-line coach in Buffalo.
It's also quite possible that the Bolts will use the draft to bolster their O-line, and that's the direction that both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay went in their most recent mocks. Kiper shipped them UNC OG Jonathan Cooper while McShay has them taking Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson:
Mel Kiper Jr.Mock Draft V2.0
"I wasn't sure exactly where San Diego would go, but as I talked to people there and also went back to the tape myself, I was surprised at how urgent the interior line situation has become. The run-blocking in particular was a total mess, and it put too much pressure on the passing game. The passing game, of course, also suffered from inconsistent blocking. We'll see how free agency plays out, but I think the Chargers could be ready to focus on problems up front. Cooper fits the bill, can start immediately and should be able to upgrade this unit."
Todd McShayMock Draft V2.0
"Left tackle is the team's top need, and with the Chargers likely moving to a zone-blocking scheme, Johnson is a perfect fit. He could improve his overall strength and hand use, but Johnson has good mobility and can quickly develop into a solid pass protector for QB Philip Rivers, who has taken a beating in recent years. Current San Diego OT Jared Gaither lacks mental and physical toughness, and the team should strongly consider parting ways with him to make room for a player like Johnson."