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Training Camp Preview: Offensive Line

Posted Jul 18, 2014

Get ready for training camp with a preview of the Chargers offensive line.

From now until the start of training camp, we’ll preview each position for the San Diego Chargers.  We continue with a breakdown of the offensive line.  The Bolts currently have seven tackles on their roster: D.J. Fluker, King Dunlap, Mike Harris, Willie Smith, Kenny Wiggins, Nick Becton and Jeremiah Sirles; six guards: Chad Rinehart, Jeromey Clary, Johnnie Troutman, Chris Watt, Craig Watts and D.J. Johnson;  and two centers: Nick Hardwick and Rich Ohrnberger.

Fluker – A hulking cornerstone of the offensive line, the future is bright for the 2013 first round draft choice who won the hearts of teammates, coaches and fans with his impressive play and passionate personality.  The 6-6, 339-pound right tackle earned all-rookie honors and was elected by teammates as one of the team’s co-most inspirational players. Fluker took on the monumental task of playing left tackle in five games with three starts, and it was a position he hadn’t played since high school.  Fluker earned Pepsi Next Rookie of the Week honors in a Week 7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars when he first took snaps protecting the blindside.


Dunlap – One of the biggest figures in the game, the 6-9, 339-pound Dunlap was one of the best free agent signings of the 2013 offseason.  He appeared in and started 11 games, all at left tackle, and was a stabilizing force during the Chargers’ five-game winning streak. Dunlap figures to form a solid bookend tandem at tackle with Fluker.


Harris –
The swing tackle was felled by injury in a Week 5 loss to the Oakland Raiders and was forced to the Reserve-Injured list.  Originally signed by the Bolts as an undrafted free agent in 2012, he figures to see time at both left and right tackle.


Smith – A four-year veteran out of East Carolina, the 6-5, 310-pounder was signed down the stretch of the 2013 season.  He appeared in one game for the Chargers, and for his career has suited up in 14 games with 10 starts.


Wiggins – After spending training camp with the San Francisco 49ers, Wiggins was signed to the Chargers practice squad on Sep. 2.  He bounced back and forth between the active roster and practice squad for remainder of the season.


Sirles – Massive 6-6, 310-pound Cornhusker was an Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten selection as a senior a year ago.

 

Rinehart – General Manager Tom Telesco made it a priority to re-sign key free agents in March, and he did just that by reaching an agreement to bring Rinehart back into the fold.  The six year veteran appeared in 11 games with 10 starts.  Despite battling an injury midway through the season, he still performed admirably and was a key cog in the offensive line’s success.


Clary – An extremely popular figure within the walls of Chargers Park, Clary kicked inside to guard in 2013 after appearing as a tackle for his entire career. He performed admirably, and coaches and teammates lauded him when he moved to his old right tackle spot for three games when injuries shuffled the deck.


Troutman – After missing the entire 2012 campaign with a pectoral injury, Troutman saw the first action of his career in 2013.  In his first true season, the 6-4, 330-pounder appeared in 14 games and started nine of them.  Troutman also started in the Divisional Round against the Denver Broncos after Clary suffered an injury.


Watt – The Chargers invested their third round pick on the burly guard out of Notre Dame.  The 6-2, 311-pounder started 27 of the 50 games he played in with the Fighting Irish, compiling a string of 24 consecutive starts.  In 12 of his starting assignments, the offense accounted for at least 200 yards on the ground. Watt has also seen time this offseason working at center.


Watts- Watts took advantage of his invite to rookie minicamp, as shortly after it concluded the Bolts signed him to the active roster.   The 6-4, 334-pounder dominated at tiny West Texas A&M and looks to continue his momentum come training camp.


Johnson – A 6-4, 295-pound mauler, the Baton Rouge native joins the Bolts following a standout career at New Mexico.

 

Hardwick – The anchor of the offensive line, the popular Hardwick has proven essential to the team’s success over the years.  He is fresh of a season in which he saw the most snaps of any lineman, and has started 66 straight regular season games and 135 for his career.  Hardwick is one of the most cerebral players in the game, and as such is responsible for calling out blocking schemes up front.

 

Ohrnberger – Known for keeping it loose in the locker room and for a yeomen like attitude on the field, Ohrnberger proved to be a valuable reserve for the Chargers in 2012.  That was never more apparent than in the Bolts Wild Card win over the Cincinnati Bengals when the offense didn’t miss a beat after he came in for an injured Hardwick. 

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