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Competition to be fierce on Los Angeles Chargers' revamped offensive line

By The Sports Xchange
Competition to be fierce on Los Angeles Chargers' revamped offensive line
Oakland Raiders' Denico Autry (96) sacks Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers (17) for a safety and Raiders' Kahlil Mack (52) joins in the celebration in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chargers revamped its offensive line in the hopes of keeping Rivers upright in 2017. File photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

SAN DIEGO -- The line is in motion and that's a good thing for the Los Angeles Chargers.

It's the offensive line, in particular, which is getting so much attention in the team's last set of offseason workouts. And, the final sessions to be held in San Diego, as the team relocates to Los Angeles.

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It once seemed the only item to compete with stadium talk with the locals was what to do with the line. Quarterback Philip Rivers was on his back too often and running back Melvin Gordon found lanes too seldom.

So general manager Tom Telesco went to work -- again -- in trying to patch up something that wasn't holy.

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Telesco declined to continue with right guard D.J. Fluker, a former first-round pick, and King Dunlap, an injury prone left tackle.

So he burned two high draft chips on guards Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney. The result is an offensive line in flux, but if it gets it out of its funk, what's to lose?

Center Matt Slauson has slid over to left guard. Spencer Pulley, an undrafted free agent who opened eyes last year in spot play, is at center.

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"Spencer has been really solid," Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said after Tuesday OTA session. "I've been pleased with his consentincy."

Feeney is at guard, or is that Lamp? Or both?

Joe Barksdale mans right tackle, but he's not above being pushed. Kenny Wiggins is another guard, but he'll have to fight, too. Max Tuerk, a mending center, is in the mix in year two but has to show something fast.

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The Chargers are still figuring out which big body to fill which large gap and that's what the offseason is for.

But don't be surprised if it's a line with at least one, if not two, rookie starters. The Chargers were thrilled in getting Lamp and Feeney, two of the better linemen on most anyone's draft board.

"It's his techniques and fundamentals," Lynn said about Feeney. "A lot of his game he had in college has helped him a lot ... it has just carried over. He walked on campus ahead of some of the other rookies."

No matter the line's makeup, put your marker on Slauson. He will be on it in some capacity, as teammates gravitate to his leadership and coaches love his production.

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Lynn embraces a spirited position competition and he's got one with his wide-open offensive line.

"When we get in training camp and get the pads on," Lynn said, "that is the true evaluation at that position."

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