KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 25: LaDainian Tomlinson #21 and Brandyn Dombrowski #62 of the San Diego Chargers watches the warms up before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 25, 2009 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Most Chargers fans don't know his name. If told, few could correctly spell it.
Given what he could mean to the team's success this season, that will soon change.
One week away into training camp, Brandyn Dombrowski is penciled in as the Chargers' first-string left tackle. If the season started today, it would fall on the former San Diego State Aztec's shoulders to protect quarterback Philip Rivers' blind side.
It's been a job Marcus McNeill has handled the past four years – and handled well. But with every day the season approaches and a new contract isn't reached between the Chargers and McNeill, the Pro Bowler's holdout continues and Dombrowski's relevance rises.
So far, Dombrowski has taken advantage of the increased repetitions in practice. Helping matters, he is back to playing his natural position. As a rookie last year, he filled in at right guard and right tackle for an injury-impacted unit.
On Friday, at a press conference at Chargers Park, head coach Norv Turner noted Dombrowski's improvement and described him as having an “outstanding” training camp.
The vote of confidence came after Dombrowski allowed outside linebacker Larry English to sack Philip Rivers twice in a Monday practice session.
“(Dombrowski's) a big, strong physical player, and that helps more in pass protection than you think,” Turner said. “If it's a finesse situation, when we're out here in shells sometimes he doesn't look as good as some of the other guys, but when it's full pads and it's full speed and he can use his best skills, he knows how to use them."
Before long, Dombrowski's name will get its due.
Dombrowski will be talked about. Dombrowski will be watched. Dombrowski will be judged.
When the time comes to grade him, use a curve.
McNeill is one of the top tackles in the league. His absence will hurt the Chargers.
Dombrowski's job is to make sure it doesn't blindside them.