Last Sunday, San Diego Chargers first-round draft pick and starting right tackle, DJ Fluker, was inactive due to the effects of a concussion he suffered during practice. On Wednesday, Fluker was the healthiest of all the Chargers offensive linemen. He was the only starter to take part in the team's first practice to get ready to face the Dallas Cowboys this coming weekend. It is not a situation that bodes well for San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who must face a Cowboys defense that thrives on getting after the quarterback.
Along the offensive front the Chargers face a rash of injuries. This week it is starting left tackle King Dunlap who is suffering the effects of a concussion. Unless he can pass the NFL mandated protocol for head injuries, he will miss action this week and the Bolts will enter the match up against the Cowboys with Mike Harris protecting Rivers' blind side. That alone should be enough to cause consternation for the San Diego signal caller; after all, the backup tackle will find himself lined up opposite Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware.
Moving inside, the situation does not get any better for the Chargers. Center Nick Hardwick is dealing with shin splints while both guards have problems of their own. Right guard Jeromey Clary is dealing with the effects of a sore clavicle and his counterpart on the other side, Chad Reinhart, is hampered by a bout with turf toe. While head coach Mike McCoy thinks that there is a possibility that both Hardwick and Clary will be available on Sunday afternoon, neither man will be at 100%. It also seems to indicate that journeyman Rich Orrnberger will get the start in place of Reinhart.
"Hopefully, some guys can improve and be well by Sunday," Rivers said. "But if not, we'll go. We've been through it before and I have confidence in the guys that would be called on.
"A few of the guys that are going to be called on are veterans — they have played a bunch of games. So we'll be fine. You certainly hate to have guys injured in those spots, but guys are going to have to step up and go." - Philip Rivers
Obviously, at this point, Rivers has no idea which five of his teammates will stand between him and the Dallas pass rushing onslaught, and according to his coach, he may have to wait a while before he finds out.
"There might be some game-day decisions we have to make," - Mike McCoy
What Rivers does know for certain is that the Cowboys are the second leading team in terms of sacking the quarterback this season and that they are licking their chops in anticipation of getting after a guy who was sacked 49 times in 2012. Rod Marinelli's "rushmen" have little concern with who they will go up against. It is a case where, as Rivers stated, "Dallas doesn't care" about his problems.