Pickin’ Bolts: Should Chargers Bring Back Vasquez After Fluker Injury?

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

In last Friday’s preseason game, the Chargers lost Guard Donavon Clark to a season-ending ACL tear. They also lost TE Jeff Cumberland to a season-ending Achilles tear. Then on Monday, Guard D.J. Fluker left the field in a walking boot. We don’t know yet how serious Fluker’s injury is and/or how long it will sideline him. But if he’s gone for any extended period of time, the Chargers newfound OL depth will have dwindled dramatically before the games even start counting. And it could be argued that the Chargers’ lack of OL depth was their number 1 problem last season.

The Chargers OL starters and bench (prior to these injuries) looked like this:

Starters:

Left Tackle: King Dunlap
Left Guard: Orlando Franklin
Center: Matt Slauson
Right Guard: D.J. Fluker (Injury status unknown/pending MRI)
Right Tackle: Joe Barksdale

Reserves:

Guard/Center: Max Tuerk
Guard: Donavon Clark (IR)
Guard/Tackle: Kenny Wiggins
Guard/Tackle: Chris Hairston

The Chargers have other offensive linemen, but this would be the expected players on the 53 man roster.

It is interesting to note that former Chargers’ Guard, Louis Vasquez is still an unsigned free agent. According to notes on Vasquez’ Rotoworld.com page he struggled in Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme. Zone blocking schemes typically work better with smaller, more nimble lineman (290-310 lbs.) where Vasquez is listed at 335 lbs. Vasquez is built more for a power-blocking scheme.

Vasquez may be open to a “prove it” contract to show that he’s still the quality blocker who was an All Pro in 2013. While he’s had a few nagging injuries he’s only missed 10 games in his 7 year career (all 10 games missed were in his first 4 years with San Diego). He has not missed a game in his last 4 years.

Vasquez would be an over-qualified backup if Fluker’s injury is insignificant, but if it is serious Vasquez would be a capable starting quality replacement rather than an overmatched backup. If Fluker’s injury will keep him out of significant action, the Chargers would be smart to sign their former 3rd round draft pick. The Chargers could do a lot worse than Vasquez whether he would start or back up.

Thanks for reading.

@PickinBolts

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Peter Friberg
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