Chargers Take A Bad Offseason Gamble

Throughout the offseason and heading towards the 2010 NFL Draft, it was clear to us that the Chargers had serious needs at two critical positions; Wide Receiver and Offensive Tackle. In our opinion, those two needs fell just behind Running Back and Defensive Tackle and were clearly positions that needed to be addressed. A big reason why we listed Offensive Tackle and Wide Receiver as needs was the fact that Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson were approaching the last season on their contracts and the team had little to no depth behind them. Fast forward to today, and the Chargers find themselves a much worse team in 2010 than in 2009.


The Chargers had plenty of opportunities to resign their young star players in McNeill and Jackson, and yet decided to execute the RFA tender option. This backfired on them, as it appears likely both players will sit out a significant portion of the 2010 regular season.

As we've mentioned many times in this Chargers blog, we felt signing Vincent Jackson was a top priority for the team and could likely have been signed to a deal lower than his talent level would command due to the off-field issues of DUI arrests. The Chargers dropped the ball here and Philip Rivers will be without his number one receiver for a majority of the upcoming season.


Knowing the contracts of Jackson and McNeill were due to expire next year, one would think the Chargers would be concerned by the lack of quality depth at their positions. Apparently not, because the Chargers failed to draft a wide receiver or offensive tackle. Instead, the team spent two quality draft selections on what could be viewed as luxury picks at inside linebacker and safety. The Chargers had young, solid players inside at linebacker and drafting one in the third round was unnecessary. Now this is not a jab towards Donald Butler who I expect to be a good player, but rather a criticism of the front office who don't seem to have their priorities in order. As for the rookie safety Darrell Stuckey, he too seems like a player with a bright future but the Chargers have a bunch of safeties on the roster as it is. Had Kevin Ellison not been caught with an illegal amount of Vicodin he would have probably been the starter this year. As it was, he was a vast improvement over Clinton Hart and would at the very least been serviceable this season.

With both the inside linebacker position and the safety position, those are two areas in which the rest of the defense can cover for any deficiencies. Having playmakers there isn't as important as having playmakers at wide receiver and left tackle. There's a reason why wide receivers and left tackles are two of the highest paid positions in the NFL.


Are the Chargers satisfied with the depth they have behind Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill? Do they hope to convince the fans that the team will be just fine without their two young Pro Bowlers and will not miss a beat? Former first-round pick Buster Davis will be lucky to earn the #3 Wide Receiver position, let alone compete for the #1. And while recent free agent signee Tra Thomas looks like a good pickup on paper, how much does this guy have left in the tank? And had they not signed Thomas, who would have played in McNeill's place? Is the team honestly confident they made the right moves this offseason? Personally, I have my doubts. I'll continue to support my team through thick and thin, but I am allowed an opinion and in my view, the team mishandled their offseason and took some huge gambles, not to mention trading up to the 12th selection in the first round at the expense of some quality draft picks/players.


What's your take on the how the front office has approached this offseason? Do you still feel confident this Chargers team is Championship-caliber? Or do you think they lost too many star players to be able to bounce back this year? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

June 22, 2010

Join our team:


Rob Zepeda said... Jun 22, 2010, 1:10:00 PM

By the way, sorry for the rant...I didn't really have a plan when putting this post together, it was kinda born out of frustration!

Anonymous said... Jun 22, 2010, 1:31:00 PM

Releasing, yet another proven young player. Ellison like Gatrell, Dobins , Cromarti, Michael Turner was proven and youn. The list goes on and on. Chargers 13-3 record was in part to experience of #56, #31(Crow), #83(VJ), and #73 all of whom will not be there for the 2010 season. This is very displeasing as a SD fan. The front office new this is my way or the high approach really stinks. How can they expect loyalty and trust from their players when a team that shows no loyalty / respect for great players and stellar performers? Prior to off season there was an article that polled NFL players on which team they would like to play for and SD was one of two front running teams. This is not the case anymore.

If AJ and Spanos don't clean up their act I will forfeit my season tickets next year and never attend another Charger Game until they quit their jobs. I've been a ticket holder for the past four seasons and see this off season changes as taking a ride to a bridge that leads to no where.

Lighting 72

The fans need to be heard!!!!!!!! sign VJ releasing Ellison was a mistake. You need to support your players the way they support our team. Go Chargers.

edgar_california said... Jun 22, 2010, 5:36:00 PM

agreed this is outrages for chargers fans. ellison was great to have as a debth player as well as ian scott. WR wasnt really a big issue to adress in the draft buster davis looks to be healthy and ready, naanaee is pretty good and floyd is a great jump ball guy. tackle would have been a great thing to draft.

Anonymous said... Jun 22, 2010, 6:14:00 PM

Wow lets not hit the panic button yet we got what we needed from our draft and free agent signings the reciever(s) Ajirotutu out of Fresno and Williams out of tulane were toted as being 5th-7th rd talent which is where A.J in all likely hood would have drafted them. While Buster hasn't been healthy for a full year, when he is, he as shown promise. As far as the line goes the they were hitting major strides, with free agents signings of Boyd, and Richmond we've got some bodies to work with. Tra Thomas will be around as a vetrean presence and a brian to pick he was signed more for his intangibles than his physical prowess. And Look at the weapons that Rivers will have, he will still have Gates and Mcmichaels at TE both will be major endzone threats, Matthews is a stud RB and Sproles will provide a 1-2 punch that will be a headache for defenses, Nannee is a star waiting to shine this will be a major year for him, Malcom can strech the field and Buster will be a solid contributor. Our Fullbacks are getting better and Tolbert is gonna be clutch. On Defense Cam Thomas was viewed as a Top 5 if not 3 NT his major drawback was he took plays off but in his defense he hardly left the field in college with Rivera having a deep rotation and the development of Vaughn Martin the Defense is gonna be ready to bust some heads, Jammer Vasher, Cason, and Strickland are gonna be good tandems at CB plus they will tackle, Weddle is a stud Gregory is stepping up and Stuckley will be a ball hawk and our LBs Cooper, English, Burnett, Siler, Applewhite, are gonna be solid and Merriman if he gets in will be hungry almost as hungry as Rivers and Gates

Anonymous said... Jun 22, 2010, 7:48:00 PM

Sorry, but the whole hardball thing with VJ and MM just reeks of the past. Granted the situations are different, but I still can't shake the feeling of deja vu when Gene Klein, with all of his hardball tactics with JJ and Fred Dean probably cost us a couple of Superbowl titles. Hey, some people just aren't capable of bending their beliefs whatever the consequences. The Chargers held the upper hand then as they do now, but to what ends? It really comes down to do they really want to win. Sorry, but that's it in a nutshell.

Jeff Williams said... Jun 22, 2010, 8:05:00 PM

Rob, no need to apologize. While I'm not going to call Ellison a great player, he was depth at a weak position. He really wasn't better than Oliver or Spiller?

Don't even get me started on McNeill. Our O-line already had it's issues, and our depth is weak.

Maybe AJ thinks the team needs a bigger challenge?

Anonymous said... Jun 22, 2010, 8:58:00 PM

i don't understand why a.j. locked up some players (tucker, castillo, to name a couple) early and not others like jackson and mcneill. obviously he has a master plan and none of us know all the intricacies and details behind all these moves...overall, i like what a.j. has done with our roster but there's definitely been some headscratchers as well. you can't easily replace the game experience and talent that jackson and mcneil bring to the table...especially with free agent rookies or waiver wire vets, no matter how good they look in camp.

Ed said... Jun 22, 2010, 11:12:00 PM

I can't believe some of you guys. Even the person who wrote this article. (1)Ellison is addicted to the pain killer, if not why didn't he have a prescription? So we are suppose to close are eyes at this? I think not.(2)V.Jackson,Another addict.But since it alcohol we should accept it. Why didn't he go to rehab? Because he doesn't believe he has a problem. He can't see it,he just a bomb ready to blow up.(3)McNeil, proably the hardest decision.Well he is not to smart, he let $3mil go right by.Plus s fan pointed out on another blog that he did good on pass protction, but the running plays to his side were not very successful. If u think of giving up your season tickets is a sign of loyality, I am pretty sure a true Charger fan will be willing to pick them up. You guys are amazing. You have the right to your opinoin,but true Charger Fans don't ever jump ship!!! Your comments speak for themselves. Just don't jump on the wagon later on. Okay!! There are too many bandwagon fans in San Diego, I don't want to see you get lost.

AznChrisSD said... Jun 23, 2010, 4:26:00 AM

I believe Rivers will take us to the big game EVENTUALLY, but for now all we can do is wait. and also MERRIMAN you better come through this year, and AJ sign his ass next season please

Carl said... Jun 23, 2010, 12:32:00 PM

Legadoo Nannee and Malcom Floyd are better than you give them credit for. Rivers helped make Jackson look good. Buster lives close to me, and I see he running all the time. He is pushing it hard. The guy had serious injuries for two years...just like Charlie Joiner in his first two years, as you have read. Chargers should have offered more for a 1 year tender, but not blaming Chargers for no long term contracts, especially with Jackson. VERY good chance of no football in 2011. Throwing money at players (Haynesworth) doesn't do a lot of good and limits flexibility (53 players have to get paid and be happy about it). The skill level difference between great players and good players doesn't warrant it, except in rare cases, and the case of the QB since that role is so pivotal and there is only one guy on the field in that position during the game. Vincent Jackson is good, but he is no Jerry Rice or Randy Moss in his prime. I feel better about the Chargers chances this year than I have in the last two, even though the AFC west will be tougher. The Raiders will be much improved this year.

Anonymous said... Jun 23, 2010, 1:03:00 PM

Charger's management typifies Einstein's definition of insanity as continuing to do the same thing over and over and over again while expecting different outcomes. Insanity.

Trade AJ (why not? He's contracted property), retire Spanos and bring in management and policies that are not egocentric and that are supportive to players and the community.

Anonymous said... Jun 23, 2010, 1:03:00 PM

all i have to say is to great players now and in the future, should consider signing these guys. go boltz!! AJ needs to get evaulated. it's smart from a business perspective becuase we still don't know about football in '11, but honestly without signing McNeil and Action Jackson we are putting a lot of pressure on the kid we just drafted at RB Mathews. Stupid move.

Anonymous said... Jun 23, 2010, 1:10:00 PM

just wanna leave someting for carl...i've been watching vincent play since the beggining... he is a pro. of course he is kno randy moss or jerry rice because he is younger and has a lot more time in this league, but he is a monster and most importantly a match-up problem. he is 6'5 and runs like he is 5'10. this guy is a work horse and watch phillips numbers drop without this kid

Rob Zepeda said... Jun 23, 2010, 1:32:00 PM

No having Vincent Jackson is going to put additional pressure on Antonio Gates, which will in turn put more pressure on the running game. If teams don't fear our vertical game, they'll stack the box and force us to keep everything underneath.

Anonymous said... Jun 23, 2010, 1:42:00 PM

first: m80 is capable of being a legit #1 receiver. and maybe nanee, davis or one of the rookies can be a quality #2 WR.

second: tra thomas is good enough for one-two seasons. mcneill wasnt exactly an allpro the last year, dont forget that.

third: the only thing that bothers me is that if the players dont get it, some wealthy owner gets it.

fourth: the team is better WITH them, but not doomed WITHOUT them.

feihlination said... Jun 23, 2010, 4:30:00 PM

I have been a chargers fan since 1970 and have seen some really bad moves. what is going on now remind me of the 79 80 and 81 chargers the years the charger should have won atleast 2 superbowls easy. We have the talent but ownership didn't want to play the players and refuse to make any changes for the better of the team. Do my eloved charges have an answer for jackson and mcneil being gone? I dont think so. will LT come back to bite us? will our CB's be able to cover? will 56 be ready to turn out the light on quarterback? I love my chargers there is just to main questions.

Anonymous said... Jun 23, 2010, 5:29:00 PM

Rivers will have these to throw to: Floyd, Naanee, Davis, Gates, McMichaels, Sproles, Matthews, and Tolbert - 8 capable receivers if spread around and used creatively. Matthews will also provide more of a running game if Turner doesn't continue with his "run up the middle over and over" strategy. Also, tight ends and running backs can provide help for the tackles. So, maybe the Chargers are not enterly doomed.

SD republican said... Jun 23, 2010, 5:53:00 PM

I think they did what they had too they have alot of ufa needing to be signed in the next two yrs. and you cant let the inmates run the prison. weed out the trouble makers and let them kick their feet and cry like your child does. I hope you believe in a good spanking once in a while!!! If not I wouldnt want to be around your child either.You can teach a hamster to run routes,but to run a offence and throw a acurate pass under pressure you need a PR. And if you match VJ #'s up with others in his league he is being paid on target.And PH gets the ball out fast and helps MM look good. Payton & Brees both have average LT because they r good and fast like PR.

Anonymous said... Jun 24, 2010, 1:26:00 AM

for a minute i thought i was crazy. Never been a ban wagon jumper. Leting front office know I will forfeit my tixs ...I want relay how stupid the GM is in not signing VJ. He's hungry for a sb title. look at his plays. I've seen flaws that LT showed in not going all out it became job security for him not knowing in football there is no job security. The guy who bloged insanity was on the money/target. My point is clear and if you follow my blogs you see all i want is simple for the Chargers to keep their young proven players. Crow' Michael Turner, Gatrell Johnson and even Junior Seau My favorite charger of all time should not have been given the hi road'

Lighting 72...GM needs to be a bit more political and quit putting his foot in his mouth.

Im putting Charger management on notice. The guy who works for them and bloged earlier can eat my shorts. I'm here and im real. Im not fake and ain't going to stay silent when I see GM make curcial mistakes. Just follow my blogs and see what I say. Cromarti should not have been traded. WTF. I'm not the smartest guy either just a passionate bolt fan. UAB AJ.

Lighting 72

Anonymous said... Jun 24, 2010, 5:19:00 AM

i agree no more tickets for me.. Ive been a charger fan 20+ yrs after this B.S i dont know if i can deal with anymore heartbreak.. I should have left with drew.. Aj is full of sh*t.. If these guys dont play this season Im moving on.. Good luck with winning a superbowl with overpaid average players. except a few.. there are those who earn there keep.. an those who deserve alot more...

JTTRI said... Jun 24, 2010, 3:43:00 PM

We will be fine, don't worry.

Rob Zepeda said... Jun 24, 2010, 10:51:00 PM

I think something that alot of people are forgetting is that even if Vincent Jackson DOES decide to play at some point this season, he is still subject to a suspension of at least a couple of games. With that in mind, VJ may not play at all this season if he can't accrue 6-games (He'll need six games to qualify for a played season).

arnie said... Jun 28, 2010, 1:05:00 PM

first. lets address this addict thing. if the league were to get rid of all the players who have, or had addiction problems, almost a quarter of the players would be out of a job. if you threw in the fellons and arrests. make it a third to almost half would be gone.
the point being everyone deserves a second chance. these are young men, that have been catered to all their lives, because of their talent. and now receive more money than they've ever seen. they're going to make poor decisions, and throw in the pressure of maintaining that performance, more risky decisions are around the corner.
despite all that players like Tank johnson, Adam Jones, and Michael Vick are playing again in the league. why? like the players, management and coaches say, "at the end of the day it's a business." and in this business performance matters. so "issues" are more frequently overlooked, than we think. it's the one's that get caught, that receive the fines and suspensions.

peace out

arnie said... Jun 28, 2010, 1:19:00 PM

Now back to the topic.
Aj has always taken this hardball approach. i don't know why. he can find talent anywhere, and i guess that makes him believe everyone is replaceable. there is some truth to that, however experience isn't. i don't mean playing a position, but playing time on a team, in a system, building chemistry with your teammates. with VJ and MM not playing, we are starting over at positions that took years to build up. so instead of hitting the upper stratus sphere, we are left with question marks and "back to the drawing board.

teams that win championships. or even make consistant appearances in championship games follow a formula. they build through the draft, "AND RETAIN GOOD PLAYERS". AJ is a star of the former, it's later that i question, and i'm starting to wonder why if that's the reason we aren't where we want to be?

peace out

Anonymous said... Jul 13, 2010, 1:46:00 AM

teams that win championships. or even make consistant appearances in championship games follow a formula. they build through the draft, "AND RETAIN GOOD PLAYERS".

Couldnt have said it better myself!! Im getting rather sick of this bullshit releasing the talent for new "talent" and all we say every year is, "theres always next year" fuck that.

Post a Comment

What's your take? Registration is not required but we encourage you guys to at least use some sort of screen name to help identify one another in discussions. Use Name/URL If You Don't Sign In Please!


Newer Post Older Post Home Page

This Week's Popular Posts


  Pro Football Talk

  USA Today

  San Diego Union - Tribune

  Yahoo! Sports

  ESPN - AFC West

  FOX Sports