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Whose Line Is It, Anyway?

Chargers Offensive Front Undergoes More Changes

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers yells out the signals from the line during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 15, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Chargers defeated the eagles 33-30. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

    Way back in training camp, the Chargers were playing their offensive linemen in multiple positions. Guys played on both sides of the line. Some jumped between tackle and guard. It seemed a tad unorthodox at the time.

    "The question was always asked, Why is this guy playing here?" said McCoy on Thursday, after the Chargers had to place swing tackle Mike Harris on Reserve-Injured. "Well, I hate to say it, this is one of those years."

    Every year, every team is hit with injuries. Usually, one position group is affected more than others. For the second straight year, the Chargers are dealing with adversity on the offensive front.

    "We're always going to try to play the best five," says McCoy. "It's going to change from week-to-week with injuries and we've gotta move guys around."

    Around, in, out, up and down. It's pretty much all happened through the first five games.

    "Something that's important to us here is position flexibility," says McCoy. "Of all players, not just the offensive line. When you have guys that are smart and know what to do and understand the system, you know, when you have a situation like we've had to this point in time, early in the season, you can move guys around and still have success."

    Flexibility is fantastic, but the Chargers linemen have had to be Tibetan Yoga Masters. The season started with King Dunlap, Chad Rinehart, Nick Hardwick, Jeromey Clary and D.J. Fluker left-to-right.

    Fluker suffered a concussion against the Eagles, so Mike Harris stepped in against the Titans.

    Then Dunlap and Rinehart and Clary were hurt in Tennessee, so Harris moved to left tackle, Johnnie Troutman next to him at guard, with Rich Ohrnberger at right guard and Fluker back at tackle against the Cowboys. Nick Becton and Stephen Schilling were added for depth.

    Ohrnberger hurt his groin and was out against Oakland, so Clary was back at guard against the Raiders. Harris was hurt and lost for the season in Oakland, so rookie Mike Remmers was signed off the Buccaneers practice squad.

    Against the Colts, Dunlap will be back at left tackle, but Rinehart is out and Fluker is questionable. So, the starting combination could be Dunlap, Troutman, Hardwick, Ohrnberger, and Clary moving back to his old tackle spot. Or, something completely different.

    Through it all, Rivers has only been sacked eight times. Among regular starting quarterbacks, only Robert Griffin III and Peyton Manning have gone down fewer occasions.

    "It's a credit to the players and the coaches to understand the plans and buying in to what's supposed to get done," said McCoy.

    All I can say is thank goodness for Nick Hardwick. If he remains the rock in the middle, and the patchwork line continues to play as well as it has, Nick should go to another Pro Bowl.