Eddie Pappani, AKA "The Oracle", of the Chargers pregame show on Rock 105.3 is back with his thoughts on the Charger's offseason activities and what is in store for the Bolts in 2010. So without further ado...
Jeff: For years now Chargers fans have complained that there was no excitement in the Chargers offseason. Well, you can’t say this recent offseason was boring! What do you make of the roster shake-up in 2010?
Eddie: I'm not sure what to think. I am sad to see guys like LT and Kassim Osgood go. They were leaders of this team and will be missed. But maybe it needed to happen to shake things up a bit. This is now Phillip Rivers team. We'll see if he can lead them past the hump. Drafting Ryan Matthews is exciting. I am anxious to see what the rookie can bring. As for the hold outs, Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill and Shawne Merriman, that is just disappointing. I wish they were in camp. We will need them. I am still holding out hope that at least one of them will sign before the season starts.
Jeff: At the end of last season, what did you see as the team’s biggest offseason need? Do you think they addressed that need well?
Eddie: I think the biggest offseason need was some toughness on defense. The defense was not doing a great job of stopping the run and at times would let the opposing team run up and down the field on them. I don't really feel like they did anything to fix that. We are still going into the season with basically the same team. I liked some of the draft picks they made. Cam Thomas and Donald Butler could help. Although Butler just went down with an injury that will cost him the season. Ouch. But overall, I think the team is very similar to last year's on defense. Not having Merriman in there is not good either. He puts pressure on the QB. Larry English will need to step up and fill that role now. We will see.
Jeff: As you already alluded to, the headline receiving the most attention leading up to training camp was the absence of Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill, and to a lesser extent Shawne Merriman. What is your take on the situation with the Charger's restricted free agents, and how do you see it ending for each player?
Eddie: Like I said before, it is disappointing. I know there is a business side to all this, but I hate it. I want to see these guys play. I wish they could figure it out. McNeill is the one guy I think will sign sooner rather than later. We have to have our starting LT. It's a must. VJ is probably not coming in anytime soon. He seems to be getting bad advice. If you have run into all this trouble with the law and don't have the best reputation, you should probably sign your tender and keep you nose clean and then try to get a long term deal. Just my opinion. Merriman, who knows. I think he would rather be acting than playing football. It's a odd situation. He doesn't really want to be here, the Chargers really don't want him, so now what? Does he just sit? Seems weird to me. Work out a sign and trade or something. He has value. What a waste. I guess the team has to go in thinking like these guys got injured. Other guys have to step up.
Jeff: AJ Smith has taken a lot of heat for his handling of the Jackson/McNeill/Merriman situations. Are you an AJ critic or an AJ fan?
Eddie: I am in the middle. AJ has done things that I don't agree with. But he is also trying to do what is best for the team. He can't let the players try and run this ship. He has to be in control. I understand that.
Jeff: On the positive side of things, the Bolts have an awesome new running back with a ton of potential, and another year of experience under their belts. Who on this team is poised for a break-out year?
Eddie: Malcolm Floyd. He has to. He is now the number 1 WR. He has to play like it. Notice I didn't say Buster Davis. He is made of glass. He won't make it out of training camp. If McNeill doesn't sign, than Brandon Dombrowski could be the guy. He is gonna be the LT and needs to play big. He played very well filling in last year. But LT is a whole new world. I hope he is ready. I also think Nathan Vasher will beat out Antoine Cason for the starting CB spot. He is a wily veteran.
Jeff: You mentioned Dombrowski as the likely replacement if McNeill remains out. I've made it well known that I'm not comfortable with guys like Dombrowski and Clary starting as the bookends for this offensive line. Are you hearing any rumblings of possible moves to strengthen the offensive line, or any other positions for that matter, like an additional receiver, or LB depth with Butler out?
Eddie: I have not heard anything. Of course there can be waiver wire moves, but who knows. I think they are comfortable with the line. They did sign Tra Thomas, but he is injured too. James Holt is gonna replace Butler. The one good thing about the team is they are deep. They have a lot of guys that can play. They just need to play at a high level. Yet to be seen.
Jeff: What would you say is the strongest piece to this Chargers puzzle?
Eddie: Rivers. He is solid. He will have another big year. He has to. Too many other pieces are questionable.
Jeff: So which piece concerns you the most?
Eddie: The defense. I look at every aspect of the defense and am worried. The line needs to play much better than they did last season. The linebackers should be one of our strengths, but they did not tackle very well last year. And the secondary is a huge question mark. Besides Jammer, I have no idea what to expect.
Jeff: Is it too early for a prediction on the season?
Eddie: Either way we will definitely meet up again before the season. Yeah, the only thing I can say is thank God we play in the AFC West. We should win that walking away. After that, not sure yet.
Jeff: Oh, one more thing. I caught “The Show’s” commercial for King Stahlman Bail Bonds. Nicely done! Did you happen to see any Chargers players taking advantage of their services, or are we going to be OK in that department this year?
Eddie: Let's hope. Unless Hank Bauer and I go on a drinking bender if the team does poorly. Then you could see both of us in lock up together. That would be something.
Eddie "The Oracle" Pappani is co-host of the Chargers pregame show on Rock 105.3, which broadcasts this Saturday when the Chargers face the Chicago Bears in their first preseason game. Eddie is also the producer of "The Show", found weekday mornings on Rock 105.3.
Labels: NFL Offseason 2010
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