The Chargers biggest hurdle on Sunday might be finding eight healthy offensive linemen to dress for the game.
Orlando Franklin, (ankle), King Dunlap (concussion) and center Chris Watt (groin) did not practice all week and Franklin was officially ruled out versus the Cleveland Browns.
Dunlap and Watt are officially listed as doubtful and it’s hard to imagine that either will be available come Sunday. D.J. Fluker was limited Thursday and Friday and his status is questionable as he continues to recover from the ankle injury he suffered in week one versus the Dallas Cowboys.
That leaves the million dollar question: who protects the $100 million dollar quarterback?
Chris Hairston, a career left tackle at Clemson, has worked at left tackle this week in the absence of Dunlap and that’s where he draws his most experience. Trevor Robinson’s best position is center and the expectation is he will start there on Sunday. Even if Watt is available to play on Sunday, he’d likely move to left guard for this very reason, he would have more NFL experience at guard than any other player on the roster except for Fluker, who is at right guard.
So if Watt is unable to play, what are the Chargers options?
J.D. Walton is a career center. Rookie Tyreek Burwell, just signed off the Chargers practice, is a former college tight end turned offensive tackle. Tackle Kenny Wiggins, who the team re-signed two weeks ago, has played in exactly two NFL games, last week versus the Vikings and the 2014 season finale in Kansas City.
By my own count, the Chargers currently have six somewhat healthy offensive linemen that are expected to play on Sunday. No doubt further moves are coming before Sunday, and that could include promoting guard Craig Watt, Michael Huey and or Michael Ola from the practice squad.
Is this a must-win game for the 1-2 San Diego Chargers?