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What the San Diego Chargers get in new Offensive Lineman Joe Barksdale

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To get an idea of what the Chargers and fans can expect from Joe Barksdale, Kyle Posey reached out to a couple of very smart people: Joseph McAtee of Turfshow Times and offensive line guru Duke Manyweather from OL sports performance.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Coupon God struck again last week, signing former St. Louis Rams right tackle Joe Barksdale to a 1 year deal for the veteran minimum. Some have dismissed the possibility that this move is to move D.J. Fluker inside to guard, despite this being the second offensive tackle the team has signed this offseason.

At any rate, we need to figure out what type of player the Chargers are getting in Barksdale. So I reached out to a couple of very smart people: Joseph McAtee of Turfshow Times and offensive line guru Duke Manyweather from OL sports performance to give us an idea of Barksdale.

  1. There's been speculation as to why Barksdale's play "dipped" in 2014 compared to 2013 was due to his added weight. Would you say there's any truth to this?

    Duke:

    On film it looked as if Barksdale's conditioning was off. As the game went on he often looked tired and his technique and overall play would drop significantly.

    Joe:

    I wouldn't, but speculation when it comes to football misses the mark the large majority of the time. It's a complex sport. Pinning a drop in his year to year performance on weight obscures the fact that he started 2014 very well. It ignores the fact that the play at center and especially right guard was terrible for the Rams in 2014. it also doesn't account for scheme changes from a Sam Bradford started 2013 to a Shaun Hill/Austin Davis-quarterbacked team in 2014. Did his play "dip" over the course of 16 games? I think it's tough to argue no, but to put that entirely on his weight seems awfully short-sighted.

  2. Towards the end of the season the Chargers shifted to more power type runs, would you say Barksdale is a better fit for power blocking scheme opposed to a zone blocking scheme and why?

    Duke:

    Barksdale is a fit in any scheme. Shows great power at the point of attack and also shows the footwork and targeting to be able to play in ZBS.

    Joe:

    He thrived in the power system at LSU, and that's where he was most effective with the Rams. He's not a road-grader, but he is better suited to direct, run-first offense moreso than technical, lateral requirements. An easy comp for Chargers fans would be to think of Barksdale as perhaps a poor man's Marcus McNeill. He'll never get praised for exceptional technique, but he'll get the job done.

    Kyle:

    I think Barksdale is better suited for a power, man blocking scheme. Against Arizona he was asked to "reach" the defensive tackle and even though there were some tough assignments, he wasn't able to cross their face and execute the block. In my opinion Barksdale is at his best when he's blocking down on a defensive tackle. Watch what he does to number 92.

    That's where he gets noticeable movement and creates good sized running lanes. While he has the footwork to play in a zone I just think he'll maximize his talent in a man blocking scheme.

  3. Give fans 1 reason why a year from now we look back and wonder "why the hell did Barksdale only sign a contract that was just barely over a million dollars?

    Duke:

    It was very shocking to me to see Barksdale sign a one-year deal. I thought Barksdale would sign a big multi year deal. Clearly teams have information we don't. It could be that Barksdale's asking price exceeded what teams actually value him as. When you turn on the tape of Barksdale versus Seattle, when you turn on the tape versus Denver he holds his own versus some of the premier pass rushers in NFL with little to no help at all. Barksdale is praised for his ability & physicality in the run game, but is very underrated in pass protection. Besides the above reasons, the tools and traits that Barksdale possesses paired with the new coaching of Coach D’Alessandris, who I consider one of the best  OL coaches in the game, is a reason why I believe that the Chargers will come out winners in signing Barksdale to a one-year deal.

    Joe:

    Well, it'd be because he's capable of better play. We saw it in 2013 when he wasn't asked to be a huge component to lean on on the line. A year later with Jake Long out and little sufficient help inside of him, Barksdale's form fell. I guess if we have to guess at how he'd elevate his play, it'd be because you've got Fluker inside of him and what should be a plus, also the left side with Dunlap and Franklin. So unlike the Rams who needed Barksdale to carry the line pretty often to allow the other pieces to help each other out, you guys have more individual talent across the board. One stat Rams fans know all too well is that just one of the five week 1 starting offensive linemen are with the team as of right now. That tells you how difficult of a situation Barksdale was in in St. Louis in 2014.

    Kyle:

    This screams King Dunlap from a couple years ago, except Barksdale has played at a higher level and is coming into a situation with more talent around him. Barksdale won't be asked to do as much and while he'll be going against some very good pass rushers, his issues such has falling off blocks are the exact kind of issues that OL coach Joe D excels at.

  4. The Chargers are in a division where they will face Justin Houston, Von Miller, and Khalil Mack 6 times a year. These players make everyone look bad, but does Barksdale stand a better chance then say, D.J. Fluker?

    Duke sort of lumped his answers together above, but here are some clips he put together of Barksdale holding his own. CLICK HERE to watch a 30 second clip of Barksdale versus both broncos edge rushers. HERE'S ANOTHER CLIP against the NFC West edge rushers.

    Joe:

    Perhaps, but I wouldn't expect Barksdale to boss them around play after play. Those are some special edge rushers. In all honesty, I don't think you're going to get a player who can negate them over the course of an entire game on a 1-year, $1m deal. If you're trying to really put something at RT to comfortably deal with yalls division's pass rush foes, it's gonna take more resources...or enough time to hope those guys leave town.

    Kyle:

    Yes. Barksdale did a fine job against Miller and Mack a year ago. Houston on the other hand, got the best of Barksdale and by a good margin. The example below is one of the rare times I saw Barksdale give up the edge to any defender. That's why I believe he gives the Chargers more hope because this allows Rivers to step up in the pocket. But as the question is says, these guys are going to make just about anyone look bad.

  5. Why will we look back a year from now and go "this is exactly why Barksdale lasted this long in free agency?"

    Joe:

    His 2014 season. If he can't hold up against even the medicore edge attacks, he'll get destroyed by the premium opponents including the AFC West. He's not a dominating presence. The hope I think you guys should have is that he's sufficient, not glamorously successful. That, on its own terms, would be successful for Barksdale, especially at a cost.

    Kyle:

    I mentioned how Barksdale doesn't really get beat to the edge. He does however let defenders cross his face, has a tendency to not sustain blocks which allows his man to finish the play, and has some clumsiness in his game. The good news is when defenders are able to beat him to the inside, he has the length and footwork to recover.

    If Barksdale isn't able to fix the above issues and he plateau's off an inconsistent 2014, these will be the reasons why. Specifically, getting beat to the inside.

  6. Final Question, what are some realistic expectations for Barksdale in 2015, and will he be elevated by the talent around him or hold the offense back?

    Duke:

    You have to believe that Barksdale and D.J. Fluker will battle it out for the starting right tackle position. Coming out of Alabama, and even through his NFL career so far, I've always thought that D.J. Fluker could be a pro bowl guard. With the signing of Barksdale, the Chargers are more than likely under that same belief. With a talented group of offensive lineman, in my opionion, you'll see Barksdale flourish in the new Chargers offense that will play to many of his strengths.

    Joe:

    I think you have to combine a couple of the above answers, and the last one, to get a good bar to set for Chargers fans expectations. He's not going to wow anyone, but you don't have to be successful especially for the price you guys got him for. I think the key is to win the battles against average or lesser opponents and get the rest of the offense to win. That last part was where the Rams have really failed for years. We haven't had offensive pieces that can take on failed offensive line play from time to time and suceed on the whole nonetheless. Malcom Floyd, Keenan Allen, Antonion Gates, and now Melvin Gordon. I think that's part of what will help Barksdale that the Rams haven't had.

    Kyle:

    I'm pretty excited. My expectations are for Barksdale to be competent. That's a massive upgrade from what the team got out of the right guard position a year ago. The train of thought should be Barksdale is replacing Troutman and not Fluker. That's why fans should be encouraged. Understand that not every signing is going to be a Brandon Flowers or Orlando Franklin. This signing gives the team 5 competent lineman for the 1st time in what feels like a lifetime. This solidifies the plan behind taking Gordon and to be a power running team. A successful run game means playing to Philip Rivers strengths, play-action, where he was 10% better than the rest of the league completing 83% of his passes. The risk at this salary is minimal. The reward is a possible playoff run. The coupon god strikes again.