Usually when a player joins a new team, he relies on his teammates to help learn and adjust to new schemes and terminology.
Even though this is Rinehart’s first season in San Diego, he is the only offensive lineman with experience in Offensive Line Coach Joe D’Alessandris and Assistant Offensive Line Coach Andrew Dees’ system. D’Alessandris and Dees have coached Rinehart in Buffalo the last three seasons, and he was part of a successful unit that dominated. Although he appeared in only seven games in 2012 due to injury, he was an integral part of the 2011 offensive line that allowed a league-low 23 sacks (third-fewest in team history) and the team’s 4.9 average yards per rush was fifth-best in the league and the best in the AFC.
“They asked me a lot, especially at first when we were getting started in the offseason,” he said. “They asked about the mentality Joe had and what to expect out of him. And they asked me about the different techniques and whatnot, so I was happy to help.”
Good news for Chargers fans is that his fellow linemen aren’t asking him as much as they are all on the same page.
“I feel like we came together pretty quickly in the OTA’s and such, so I feel pretty good about where we are,” he said. “It’s continued through training camp. I had an advantage when we started but now we’re all coming together with everything. We talk about the blocks and where we are going to go, so it’s been good. We’ve already installed a lot of the stuff we’re going to do and I think we’re all happy with where we’re at.”
An example of how cohesive the unit is becoming is head coach Mike McCoy singling them out on numerous days for the blocking they’ve provided in the run game. That being said, Rinehart isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“That’s nice to hear, but usually after you hear the praise the next day you’ll hear the criticism,” he said. “So as a group we have to make sure we keep doing what we’re doing and not settle.”
The biggest adjustment Rinehart has had to make is getting used to one man, Hardwick, making all the calls at the line of scrimmage instead of various offensive linemen making the calls.
“Just being out there with Nick, he’s a great communicator with how he leads the line,” he said. “I’m coming from a place where everybody was making calls, but here it’s based off him. So it’s good having him out there.”
Be sure to visit Chargers Park during open training camp practices or FanFest to watch Rinehart and the offensive line in action. Click here for more information.
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