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How to Fix the San Diego Chargers Offensive Line

John Gennaro's plan to turn the San Diego Chargers' biggest weakness into a strength for the final stretch of the season.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Let me start by saying that everything below is my own opinion, and I am no expert.

Now that's out of the way, I know how to fix the San Diego Chargers. Their biggest weakness this season has obviously been their offensive line, which is unfortunate because the way they want to win games is with a strong offensive line like what they had last season.

So, how do you fix the offensive line?

First, you have to examine what the problems are.

Problem number one is interior blocking. Nick Hardwick is not coming back, Chad Rinehart has been terrible, Johnnie Troutman has been woefully inconsistent, and Rich Ohrnberger is decent when healthy (which is rare). This group has not been able to push the line and help the running game.

Problem number two is speed rushers. Every defense in the NFL has at least one guy who gets to QBs based on his speed and athleticism instead of pure strength, and they're been having great success pointing them directly at a (possibly injured) D.J. Fluker at Right Tackle.

Do you see where this is going yet?

Move D.J. Fluker inside

I'm not saying permanently, so calm down. D.J. Fluker can return to being the starting RT when healthy or next year, as far as I'm concerned.

Moving D.J. Fluker to RG does a couple of things....

First, it immediately improves the interior blocking. Being able to focus on his overwhelming power and not his underwhelming quickness, Fluker would open up huge holes in the middle of opposing defensive lines. This would not only help the running game, but it would prevent some of that in-his-face pressure that Philip Rivers has seen when dropping back.

Second, it likely improves pass protection against speed rushers. Not because Willie Smith is a better RT than Fluker (he's not), but because the team would be more balanced with a strong running game. Speed rushers would no longer be able to sell-out for the pass rush on anything except obvious passing downs. In addition, I think Smith is as good or better than Fluker at getting in front of those speed rushers, based on what I've seen from him.

A change in identity

As great as Philip Rivers can be at throwing the football, the heart and soul of this team is in power football. They win by controlling the line, controlling the clock, and running the ball with success to give Rivers room to be great without potentially getting killed.

Moving Fluker to RG, even temporarily, reshapes the identity of this team and says that it is intent on running the ball up the middle of the defense behind some big, powerful blockers.

It also fits with what Mike McCoy always claims this team is, a shape-shifting roster filled with players that will play wherever they can be best used for the upcoming game and coaches that aren't afraid to put them there.

If Fluker is too hurt to play RT but healthy enough to play RG, why not take advantage of that? Why not put your players in the best position to win?

Instead of having an offensive line that can't do anything right, I would much rather try to turn the interior line into a strength and focus the gameplan around that than wait for Philip Rivers to get hit repeatedly when the running game breaks down.


For what it's worth, it's probably too late for a switch like that. This is the type of change you make during the bye week, so the Chargers have probably missed their opportunity. I won't sit here and beg for the team to make this change, because I'll understand if they don't. This is just how I would've dealt with it.