Right side, left side doesn’t matter to Chargers lineman
SAN DIEGO (AP) Chargers lineman D.J. Fluker took the podium, but not before taking some advice.
”Hey Fluke,” Chargers guard Orlando Franklin yelled. ”Give me a shout out.”
The Chargers started their second week of full-squad OTAs on Monday and it was Fluker’s turn to address the media.
”I’ve been working on my foot work, my hand work and being able to finish blocks,” Fluker said. ”That is what the offseason is about and it’s been pretty good so far.”
Fluker looks pretty good, shedding a few pounds by running two miles a day and following a healthy diet. He’s even got a chef, but what’s cooking regarding the upcoming season?
When the Chargers signed Franklin – he’s played guard and tackle – this offseason, speculation grew that Fluker was on the move. Not off the Chargers, but from his right tackle spot.
After being challenged by speed rushers last year, some thought the 6-foot-5, 339-pound Fluker was better suited for inside. He got some work at guard and Franklin took snaps at right tackle during the drills.
But don’t read too much into that.
”We move them around all the time,” coach Mike McCoy said.
Bring it on, Fluker said.
”To me, whatever the team needs me to do, right side, left side, right guard, it doesn’t matter to me,” he said. ”Just be a team player.”
Up for returning punts?
”I will to make the team, man,” he said, with his signature chuckle. ”It’s all about making the 53-man roster.”
What did Fluker make of last season? After a stellar rookie year, the former first-round pick seemed to give ground in 2014.
”I try not to think about last year, but it wasn’t my best,” Fluker said. ”I know I can do better.
”Everyone has their little second-year sophomore slump. Usually after the first year nobody really knows you and they are trying to figure you out. But after the second year they know what you do, tendencies; they study you a lot harder the second year. But this year I’m working my tail off to get better and that is my main issue: get better and play better.”
How well the Chargers’ revamped offensive line performs is a key. Center Nick Hardwick and right guard Jeromey Clary retired and their replacements have to get up to speed quickly.
The Chargers will also ask their line to run-block better, especially with rookie Melvin Gordon in the backfield.
But currently Fluker is focused on eating right, getting his work in and keeping Franklin off his back.
”Big Frank, now that guy is a character,” Fluker said. ”He is out there cracking jokes and we’re getting used to his personality a little bit. But he’s a great guy, always willing to work and get better.”
Just like Fluker.
”There is always room for improvement,” Fluker said. ”I haven’t arrived yet.”
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