Did The Chargers Make A Mistake By Not Keeping Olshansky?

With an already suspect run defense, the San Diego Chargers' woes are only compounded by the fact that they have lost both Jamal Williams and Ryon Bingham for the year. The Chargers now find themselves in a nightmare situation, desperately depleted along the defensive line. They drafted DT Vaughn Martin with the idea that he would benefit from further development and blossom down the road, and traded for DT Travis Johnson hoping he could fit in as a starting 5-tech until that time. But two weeks into the season, the Chargers are more banged up than ever and are scrambling to find bodies. Word on the street is that the Bolts are bringing in 33 year old free agent Alfonso Boone, who has never played in the 3-4... and their search might not end there. At this point, the question deserves to be asked: Did the Chargers make a mistake by not signing Igor Olshansky a contract extension when they had a chance?

Olshansky, swiftly signed as a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys (four years, $18 million), expressed his desire to stay in San Diego, but at the same time was vocal about his disappointment that the Chargers made no offers to him. Under new Chargers Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera, Olshansky saw his playing time tapper off significantly:

"I’m not blaming anyone," says Olshansky. "I don’t know what the reason is. But it was definitely something. In [the playoff game against the Steelers] I had 5 tackles, Jamal Williams had 5 tackles. That was the most important game of the season. No one else was really that productive. Why would you cut a productive player’s playing time?"

Not one to cause trouble in the locker room, Olshansky bit his tongue and kept grinding, hoping that his hard work on the practice field and in the weight room would be recognized:

"It’s a tricky thing, dealing with coaches and knowing your role," explains Olshansky. "I had to know my role on the team. I didn’t want to make any problems for anybody. I didn’t want to make problems for myself and be a distraction. So I quickly realized my role on the team; if we call your number, you get out there and play your ass off. If we don’t, you sit on the sideline until you are called up again. So that’s basically the role I played this year. When they called me I went out there and played my butt off. And when they didn’t, I sat quietly on the sidelines, jumping around, stretching, and making sure I stayed warm."

It's tough to really quantify a defensive lineman's value to a team, especially in a 3-man front where defensive lineman don't generally put up big numbers. But without those stout bodies up front keeping the linebackers free to make plays outside, the Chargers are going to become soft up the middle and will continue to allow chunks of yardage on the ground. As the year goes on, it'll be interesting to see how the team responds to the strain that injuries have placed on them.

September 20, 2009

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Anonymous said... Sep 21, 2009, 11:16:00 AM

Twenty-twenty hindsight says an obvious YES after this rash of injuries, but I think the real answer in the long run is NO; because of where Olshansky was drafted and for what purpose. He was originally brought in to be groomed to replace Jamal Williams, but it soon became apparent he couldn't anchor that spot like Williams had (who could?), so he was moved to the outside. There, his lack of top foot speed was an apparent liability.
That was coupled with a sense of disappointment in his output after having been a high-2nd round (#36 overall) pick AND the fact that Charger's brass was looking for a Defensive Team "fall-guy" (having already annoited Castillo big buck$), and Igor had to go.
Personally, I think they may have let the wrong end go; but I'm glad that Igor has landed on his feet in Dallas and landed a big payday as well. But none of that has any bearing on the Chargers situation today.
Today, they need to get Cesaire healthy immediately, for find someone (33-year-old Boone doesn't look like the answer) off the waiver wires right away! Hey, Big Mean Dudes; unemployment is way up..., the Chargers are hiring!! Inquire at Charger Park..., no waiting.

Rob Zepeda said... Sep 21, 2009, 11:24:00 AM

@ anon above:

I think Igor may have been unwilling to gain the necessary weight in order to be that anchor 3-4 nose type. He was very health conscious and kept in tremendous shape. While he certainly may have possess the power needed at nose, I wonder if he would have been willing to gain 30 more lbs of girth...

Anonymous said... Sep 21, 2009, 11:47:00 AM

Mr. Zepeda - you make a good point, but I don't think it was so much an unwillingness to gain weight by Igor as it was body type differences. The equal displacement of weight on Igor's frame compared to Jamal's will never quite match; Jamal is bottom-heavy, and that made him an excellent "anchor" and an ideal candidate for the "nose" position in a 3 - 4. Early on in Igor's rookie year, it was quickly obvious that he could be undercut (taken off his feet) relatively easily, thereby negating his considerable upper-body strength. Personally, I think another 30-lbs of girth might have slowed him a bit more while still leaving him relatively "top heavy" and vulnerable. I'm guessing that Charger management thought that too, or they wouldn't have let him walk.
But I liked Igor pretty much, and I wish I had the programing available to see how he's doing in Dallas. Do you know?
Bottom line, we could still use him THIS Monday morning, for sure.

Anonymous said... Sep 21, 2009, 9:06:00 PM

No, Teams ran right through Igor last year and he became expendable. In years past he was much more of a cog on the line. Not sure why his play dropped off last year.

Most teams will suffer when plagued by injury at a position. Even with 4 defensive lineman out and two offensive lineman out, the chargers showed poise getting back in the game. The 1st half was a nightmare as we couldnt stop the run and our offense was sputtering. 2nd half we did much better against the run and Rivers unleashed an awesome aerial attack.

I saw some improved play out of Vaughn Martin and Nwagbuo. Two early to tell but saw initial signs. The Ski's had a good 2nd half too.

Bennett - 4 carries??

Floyd & Jackson looked awesome and watch out for Legedu.

Anonymous said... Sep 21, 2009, 9:07:00 PM

...any one want to trade a big gnarly NT for Buster?

Anonymous said... Sep 22, 2009, 3:34:00 AM

There's only one question left for Buster, "Paper or plastic?" The poor guy hasn't even suited up the last two games (injured, again, and nobody cares anymore but his mother). The play of Lededu and Floyed have made Davis a distant afterthought, and his trade value may be even lower than his durability rating; although from what I saw last night Miami is obviously in need of ANY receiver who will take a step after a catch. Unfortunately, that trade would be for a draft choice, and no help in the here-and-now. So instead, Martin and Nwagbuo are going to hold down the fort, and the coaches will have to prove they are worth their salaries too. It's crunch time in Chargerville folks, but don't panic. Manage the clock instead, and let everyone play.
Go Bolts!!!

Anonymous said... Sep 22, 2009, 3:35:00 AM

Good Lord..., that's Legedu and Floyd. Sorry.

Anonymous said... Sep 22, 2009, 7:50:00 PM

this articles a joke olshansky is a waste of a big body he couldnt man the nose even if he added weight. the guy cant ball at least it didnt seem that way when he was getting pancaked with one hand. not a igor fan and dont think he would have helped regardless

Anonymous said... Sep 23, 2009, 8:55:00 PM

Olshansky was a bumm who played around with lineman, instead of getting out of blocks and "pressuring" the other teams!

Anonymous said... Oct 1, 2009, 9:21:00 PM

9/30 Adrian Grady (DT) practice squad deletion.
Prescott Burgess (LB) practice squad addition.

So should we pick up NE's sloppy seconds...

Not this time but the point is who is stacked at D-line but needs room for other players due to significant injuries at another position.

But, truthfully I am surprised by the play of Nwagbuo, Boone, and Martin.

Dont forget the Ski's.

Now let's take on the Steelers.

It's showtime baby. Whether you are a believer, an optimist, or a skeptic, it is time to see what we can do against a solid team. Against the reigning Super Bowl Champion.

Go F.... Bolts, Go!

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