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D.J. Fluker (76) could develop into a good pass blocker as well as dominating run blocker.
One of the biggest weaknesses from the 2012 San Diego Chargers team was the offensive line. The unit allowed 49 sacks in 2012 and another 21 quarterback hits.
The lack of protection caused Philip Rivers to feel pressure even if it was not there, leading the entire offense to struggle.
Through three preseason games, San Diego quarterbacks have been sacked nine times.
That is the same amount allowed by the Broncos, Falcons and Rams, teams that have reportedly better offensive lines. The nine sacks are tied for the tenth-most in the preseason.
The line has opened up holes for running backs, though. San Diego has averaged 3.7 yards per carry. That is the same as the 49ers, which has arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.
Rookie D.J. Fluker looks to be exactly as advertised: a masher in the run game and a work in progress in pass protection. Once Fluker gets his hands on a defender, that player is essentially deleted from the play, whether it is a pass play or a run play.
His trouble is moving his size-22 feet swiftly on pass protection. Still, Fluker has not been an absolute liability in protection like some thought he would be.
The line looks to be better than last year’s unit and should get better during the regular season.
King Dunlap is an upgrade to the left tackles from a year ago, but he is not an elite blocker.
Following the victory over the Cardinals, however, head coach Mike McCoy praised Dunlap and the entire offensive line.
Still, there is a good chance San Diego will use a high draft pick on an offensive lineman come next April.