“Oh I’m ready,” he said Monday. “I’m so ready. I can’t wait to hit somebody else. I’m so tired of hitting those guys out here. We’ve been beating on each other for almost two weeks so it’s time to do it to someone else. I’m really fired up for Thursday. It’s going to be a great time. I’ve got a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm and I’m just counting down the hours. It’s going to be fun.”
The Chargers signed the massive 6-foot-9, 330-pounder early on in free agency and since then, Dunlap has dedicated himself to mastering the Chargers offensive system. Overall, he is pleased with the way the offensive line is growing together as he says it’s night and day compared to how they were when they first took the field together during offseason workouts.
“The guys up front are great,” he said. “Nick (Hardwick) and all them are great teammates and we’re really coming together as a unit. We’ve come a long way even going back to mini camp and OTA’s. Just watching film from us then to how we are now it’s a big difference. Guys see things the same way now. Personally I know more about how Nick makes his calls. We know how to work together and we’re gelling as a group.”
On more than one occasion, head coach Mike McCoy has praised the line for the job they are doing, particularly in the run game. Still, Dunlap is quick to turn around and credit the coaching staff for their successes.
“That’s all the coaches,” he says. “They put us through those shoots in the drills we go through. We’re working hard and grinding during individual (period) before we even get to the team parts of practice. We’re pounding on each other because we’re big, physical guys up front and that’s the mentality we’re going to have. We’ll knock guys off the ball and open up those holes for the running backs. And we’ve got a great group of backs in Ryan (Mathews), Ronnie (Brown), Danny (Woodhead) and even those young guys. We’ve got a whole stable full of guys. We know if we give them holes they will make a play. And that makes life easier for everybody.”
When he’s not paving the way on the ground, Dunlap is tasked with protecting
“Flat out, he’s a great quarterback,” he said. “He makes you want to block for him being how dedicated, talented and good he is at his job. He’s definitely an elite quarterback in this league, and I’m just trying to do my part to allow him to show his skills off.”
There is still a long way to go before the Chargers kick off opening night vs. the Houston Texans, but on Monday, Dunlap was penciled in as the starting left tackle when the first depth chart of the season was announced. Over his career, he has played every position up front except for center. Even though he’s willing to man those other spots should he be needed there, right now he is concentrating solely on the left tackle position.
“I’m always going to keep myself versatile,” he said. “That’s part of what’s kept me in the league this long. But my main focus right now is left tackle. If I do have to move over to the right side or the guard, I’ll focus on that then. But right now my focus is on left tackle.”
To watch Dunlap and the rest of the offensive line in person, come on out to the preseason opener Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks. Click here for tickets.
Also, if you are attending the game, please review the new NFL public safety policy limiting the size and type of bags that may be brought into the stadium.