But instead of heading to the same right tackle spot that he’d manned over his first six NFL seasons, he found himself at his new home – right guard.
With the Chargers investing the number 11 overall pick in this year’s draft to take
“I was nervous this morning, but I got some reps in today and I feel good about it,” he said after the team’s first OTA, which marked his first practice at guard. “I’m ready to get back out there tomorrow. I’m trying to see some of the techniques the guard uses in the middle. That is the main difference. You’re not on the outside but in the middle so you feel a little closed off. But it’s comforting at the same time to know you only go so far.”
Also comforting is the fact both his head coach and quarterback have faith he will succeed at guard.
“He’s perfectly fine,” said Mike McCoy. “We talked to all the guys up front, and it doesn’t matter what five are up there. You want the best five combination to play, and he’s a seasoned vet. He just wants the opportunity like everyone else out there to show he’s one of those five guys. He’ll be great to have with D.J. outside of him because he’ll be communicating a lot and telling him a lot of things. So D.J. is very fortunate to have a veteran next to him.”
“As I’ve said before, he, besides Nick (Hardwick) knows the ins and outs of that offensive line, he knows it better than anybody,” he said. “I feel like he’ll adjust. It’s going to be different for him, from a mental standpoint it won’t be any problem. It’s going to be different just because it’s a different area and taking on different types of rushers and different double-team fits, so from that standpoint I’m sure it’s going to be an adjustment for him, but he won’t have any problem knowing what to do. I think it’ll be a good spot for him.”
Right now, Hardwick is the only holdover from last season playing the same position he did in 2012 along the offensive line. As a result, Clary said he will lean on his good friend for support and advice on how to play an interior position.
“He’s been helping me out,” said Clary. “I had question on how to fit on a double team, and about the difference in level, because I was worried on how to fit in with him and not knock him off the block. So I asked him questions about footwork and technique, and he’s a great team leader so he’s obviously willing to help.”
While he will be soaking up any knowledge Hardwick has to pass along, Clary in turn will do the same for Fluker whenever the rookie asks for his advice.
“I hope he leans on me and asks me questions,” he said. “I’ve started quite a few games out there, so I hope he’s willing to ask questions. I’m looking forward to communicating and helping him out.”
With training camp two months away, Clary has plenty of time to learn the nuances of his new position. He’s quite confident that when opening day comes on September 9th he will feel comfortable in his new role playing right guard.
“I’ll be ready,” he said. “You’d be a fool not to believe in yourself in this game. You’ve got to have faith in yourself. I trust (the system), and I’ll do my best and work as hard as I can.”