Chargers need more depth on the offensive line

The San Diego Chargers made increasing their depth on the offensive line a priority so far this offseason. So far, the team has signed two linemen and one of those, Mike Goff, has already been penciled in as a starter at right guard – a position Phil Bogle manned most of last season. But Bogle isn't worried.

Phil Bogle says he can't worry about the team making personnel moves that could take playing time away from him. He remains dedicated to himself and what he can do to make himself better.

"You can't really worry about that kind of stuff," says Bogle. "That is part of the business and is going to happen regardless. I am just worried about myself right now."

One thing is certain; there will be a different lineman next to Bogle any time he suits up to play in 2004. It was a common theme in 2003 and one that made life difficult.

"It's rough because you would love to have that guy next to you that you are comfortable with and you know is going to be there. When it changes every week it is kind of hard, but you just have to adjust."

Adjusting is the newest theme this offseason. Bogle may be the starting left tackle at the present time, a position he has not ever played, with Leander Jordan also in the mix.

The Chargers are in the process of adjusting their whole offensive line, bringing in players with solid pasts and less question marks.

But one theme remains and will need to be worked out this offseason:

Communication. Without communication the line will falter. While they did well in run blocking, the pass protection was lethal – to the quarterbacks.

"Communication is one thing, but when you get used to someone being there you can make certain calls that he will know exactly what you are talking about," said Bogle

In other words, continuity.

The line needs not only to communicate but to also stay together through the course of the offseason and into the regular season. Injuries have decimated the strides the team thought it made though the past two offseasons. Injuries have brought the Chargers perceived depth to its knees.

And now the Bolts hope they are on their way to compensating for such times.

They signed Mike Goff and added Jordan. They have plans to sign more. The idea is to have enough depth with quality linemen who have had a chance to start in the league as backups. If injuries befell the line, the backups will come in and provide the dam.

Was their any hint when he met with the coaches at the end of the season?

"They told me I did a real good job and did exactly what they asked me to do. In looking at the circumstances, coming in my first year and playing as much as I did."

Bogle has an offseason to reflect on the changes and get in playing shape. He admitted to having a tired body at the tail end of '03.

"I felt my body getting a little tired," Bogle said. "I have never played more than nine, ten games. I definitely felt the wear on my body. The mental part is going to be real important when we get back with the team. From a physical standpoint, just leg strength and endurance."

The only constant right now on the line figures to be Jason Ball. Cory Raymer was released and signed with Washington this offseason.

Bogle can see how that would be a plus.

"Our centers are the ones that kept the line together," Bogle said in reference to 2003. "Cory Raymer and Jason Ball were the two guys that kept us playing as a unit."

Raymer is gone and the Chargers are making do. The line is already vastly different than it was last season and it figures to continue shaping up through free agency and the draft.

Bogle is ready for the challenges ahead.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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