The San Diego Chargers' biggest issue in 2012 was probably the play of their Offensive Tackles. However, the way that things presently sit, the Guard positions along the offensive line probably require more attention.
Here are all of the Guards that the San Diego Chargers have signed to contracts through the 2013 season:
Nope, that's not a misprint. Let's take a look at the Guards that were on the 2012 team that will be free agents in a little over a month:
This is actually good news for two reasons. First, it means that new Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris isn't stuck with Guards that he doesn't like or that don't fit his Zone Blocking Scheme. Second, it means that there is probably an open spot on the roster for one of the three Centers on the team that would probably be cut otherwise. David Molk and Colin Baxter have both played a little Guard in their day, and you could argue that they're equally proficient at it as they are at being Centers.
So, besides moving one of those kids over to Guard (and besides the Guards that were on the team in 2012), what free agents are out there that could fill the Chargers' needs?
- Andy Levitre, Buffalo Bills - I love this idea. Levitre has worked (successfully) with D'Alessandris in Buffalo. He was also the 6th best Guard in the league in 2012 (according to Pro Football Focus) and will only be 27 years old by time the season starts. The Bills are in a similar situation with Jairus Byrd, so whichever player ends up hitting free agency out of those two should be one that the Chargers go after aggressively.
- Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers (RFA) - Considering how that line played at times, signing guys from the Packers may not be the brightest idea. That being said, Evan is a young, slightly above-average Guard from a Zone Blocking system.
- Antoine Caldwell, Houston Texans - One of the worst Guards in the league last year, but a young former 3rd round pick that has had Zone Blocking hammered into his head for years now. I wouldn't advocate him for a starting spot, but he wouldn't be a terrible replacement for someone like Hadnot or Wells.
- Jeff Linkenbach, Indianapolis Colts - An undrafted free agent that got a 3-year contract with the Colts while Tom Telesco was there. Always a chance that he was someone that Telesco really likes, and someone Tom could try to bring to San Diego. Lickenbach played 7 games at Right Guard for the Colts in 2012 and was slightly below-average. He'll be cheap.
Hmmm, that's not a very exciting list, is it?
No, it's not.
Let's hope that the Chargers have D'Alessandris bending Levitre's ear about how nice San Diego is and how good the Chargers could be in the next few years.