For all of his offensive ‘genius,’ Turner should leave the prognosticating to soothsayers. The fact is, for all the self-destruction the team did to itself this season – see the games vs. Houston, Tennessee and Washington – this Chargers team could very easily be securely locked into the playoffs at 10-4 or 9-6 heading into this weekend’s regular season finale under first-year coach Mike McCoy. And despite whatever happens vs. the Chiefs this Sunday, there is no question the Bolts are moving in the right direction under GM Tom Telesco.
Heading into the NFL Draft last April, the Chargers biggest concern was building an offensive line that could keep quarterback Philip Rivers healthy throughout the season. Handcuffed by the salary cap, Telesco and Co. brought in the likes of King Dunlap, Chad Rinehart and Rich Ohrnberger – all free agents signed to solidify a line the gave up some 49 sacks last season. Telesco then selected the best run blocking lineman in the draft, Alabama’s D.J. Fluker, who will likely make the NFL’s all-rookie team and could get a few votes for rookie of the year based on his performance at both tackle positions this year.
Through 15 games the Chargers have allowed the third-fewest sacks this season (27) and the third-fewest yards lost as a result of those sacks (140). Injuries forced the team to start six different combinations of linemen through 15 games, while playing a total of 16 different combinations up front at various times this season. And despite the starting five linemen playing the entire game as a unit just six times this season, the team has gained more than 100 yards on the ground in 11 of 15 games including six of the last seven.