Which Chargers Holdout Is Of Most Concern?

Of all the debatable topics with the Bolts this preseason, perhaps the one that fans would rather not address is the most pressing issue of all. With the looming holdouts of both left tackle Marcus McNeill and wide receiver Vincent Jackson, which of these two star players will be missed the most from the Chargers starting eleven on offense?

On the surface, this question may appear to have a relatively easy answer as just how big can the loss of one offensive lineman really be to an entire unit. That question gets substantially more complicated when you take into account the fact that the offensive lineman in question is 6’7” 336lbs. and protects the team’s near $100 million quarterback’s blindside. McNeill’s steady play was one of the bright spots on an offensive line that was devastated by injuries and upheaval in 2009. His potential replacements in veteran Tra Thomas, versatile second year player Brandyn Dombrowski, and second year project Tyronne Green don’t really have the consistency that a team with Super Bowl aspirations would hope for as the season quickly approaches.

Clearly V Jack and Philip Rivers developed quite a rapport last season with Jackson’s emergence as the go-to receiver in crucial situations for the Bolts offense. Receivers come and go in the NFL however as has been demonstrated time after time with a breakout year immediately followed by a descent into oblivion for many in seasons past. Fortunately for San Diego, Rivers is excellent at picking out the open receiver rather than keying on one player in particular which allows him to spread the ball around to a bevy of different players. The organization feels that they have more than enough capable players in house to make up for Jackson’s holdout during the coming year and it appears on paper that they are correct.

Whether it be Malcom Floyd who is expected to take on the number one receiving role or Legedu Naanee who has a wealth of potential to become a dynamic playmaker in the Bolts offense, San Diego has no shortage of candidates to become Rivers’ go-to man this year. Of course the squad still has the all-world tight end Antonio Gates as a terrific safety valve for Rivers to utilize in hot route situations when staring down the barrel of the blitz so his presence will help to neutralize the absence of Jackson as well once the season gets underway. The Chargers other two tight ends in Kris Wilson and Randy McMichael will each offer something to the team’s offensive attack as well giving more versatility to go from a running to passing formation in the blink of an eye.

Fans have to be excited about the all-around game of undrafted free agent pick up Jeremy Williams who looks like a valuable option both at receiver and as a return man for the team this season. His ability to climb that ladder to make catches combined with his willingness make difficult grabs over the middle of the field will be a true asset to the team as the season progresses. He could also emerge as the team's slot receiver should Buster Davis fail to seize the opportunity this year.

What the Chargers have to hope will be the biggest aid in offsetting Jackson’s absence is the new-found presence of a running game with rookie Ryan Mathews toting the rock this year. Mathews did nothing in the first preseason game but build the hype for what he may do when the regular season rolls around as he bowled over would-be tacklers and showed outstanding open field speed. That added dimension will be a huge addition to an offensive attack that at times last year became one dimensional due to an ineffective ground game.

All in all, it seems like the absence of McNeill is of much more concern than Jackson not being with the team this season. If Rivers doesn’t have time to survey the field and pick out an open target then it won’t matter who is running pass patterns. In a perfect world the two sides would come to a compromise, but if that were anywhere on the horizon one would think that some indications would have been by now at least. This stalemate could very well last the entire season and the Bolts just have to hope that Dombrowski, Green, or Thomas are up to the task of protecting Rivers’ blindside.


So what do the fans think, which holdout is going to hurt the Bolts more, Vincent Jackson or Marcus McNeill? Can Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, and company hold down the fort while Jackson is out or will the Bolts offense sputter? Will Philip Rivers survive the season without his blindside protector on the field or will Brandyn Dombrowski falter? Weigh in with your comments below!

August 18, 2010

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Mr.Page said... Aug 18, 2010, 2:04:00 PM

Personaly I am more concerned about "McStud". Yeah Jackson is a guy
that would be great to have as a target...I like his game but there
is no room for his antics. If we really want to go to the Bowl can we get this guy on board? I question his maturity after last years blow-up on game day. Rivers is the key,everything we do revolves around him,if you ask me and ya did so deal...
The value of the left tackle is undeniable in this league. Wide outs have a lot to contribute as well and hunger gives Legadue has leg up on you Jackson so be smart...

floyd clark said... Aug 18, 2010, 2:49:00 PM

trade the drunk for a left tackle

Joe said... Aug 18, 2010, 9:38:00 PM

McNeill is more important than Jackson. Sure, Jackson is one of Rivers' favorite targets, but Rivers still has this guy to throw to. You may have heard of him. His name is Antonio Gates, and if he keeps up his career averages for few more seasons, he will be the best receiving tight end of all time in terms of career receptions, yards, touchdowns, and yards per reception (the latter being far and away the best ever). Throw in Floyd, and SD still has a serious receiving corps. If you project Floyd's numbers over a full season and give him as many targets as VJ, his stats are almost identical to VJ's. If Ryan Mathews can restore the running game, that will only help the passing game, making Vincent Jackson's absence even less important.

McNeill, on the other hand, protects Rivers' blindside. If Rivers goes down, the Chargers are done. Volek is one of the best backups in the NFL, but he is not a starter. On top of that, McNeill plays a huge part in the running game. Jackson is an above average blocker in the running game, but he's nothing special in that area. Pro-Bowl LTs don't grow on trees, and missing McNeill will hurt both aspects of the offense.

Anonymous said... Aug 19, 2010, 2:18:00 PM

Chargers should have signed both players to Long Term Contracts.

Lighting 72

Anonymous said... Aug 21, 2010, 2:03:00 PM

i wouldnt say that mcneill is a GREAT run blocker. maybe the guy who steps in is better there and hopefully good enough in pass protection.


Anonymous said... Aug 21, 2010, 2:05:00 PM

and what is it with VJ being important for the run game? i mean he is a wideout. maybe one out of 20 times will a WR-block make a real difference on the outcome of a run.

Anonymous said... Aug 22, 2010, 2:36:00 AM

no doubt VJ..top 5 receiver and on the rise...

Anonymous said... Aug 22, 2010, 8:57:00 AM

The fact that the Chargers are allowing VJ talk to other teams & not McNeil makes it clear who is more important to them. Chargers even tried to renegotiate with McNeal's contract earlier. I luv VJ but have u heard his demands? a 5-year deal for about over 10 million per year & 30 million gaurunteed, this seems high for a guy that jus had 2 DUIs & suspended the 1st 3 games of the season. McNeal is one of our best linemen & never had as much off-field issues as VJ did. I'm a realist & kno this isn't the Chargers year srry "( but I honestly think we can get back into Contending nxt year. We brought Ryan Mathews to revamp our run game & we can bring out a new young WR to help our passing game like AJ Green, Julio Jones, or Terrance Toliver. I luv VJ but, if u ask me we keep McNeal & trade VJ "(

arnie said... Aug 23, 2010, 10:21:00 AM

from the top.
VJ; what he brings to the field is a lot more that pass catcher. he's proven he can stretch the field and make catches in triple coverage. that leaves everybody underneath in man or wide open. why? with VJ teams have to game plan for him. after all that is what norv wanted, to stretch the field, make room for the underneath stuff and the run game. without him, teams will play the run double gates and force the PR to make a new star at wideout.
with that said......
MM; stretching the field becomes more difficult without this guy. you'll need to protect PR longer to let the play develop. if the plan is to bring an extra TE of RB to help block, that is defeating the whole purpose of stretching the field and opening up the running lanes. teams know we had one of the worst run offenses in 09, and on more than a few occasions mathews had to bounce outside to make any gains, in preseason. my point being if we had MM we could move Dumbrowski to RT and have Green back up MM. freeing up the TE and RB to do other things in the passing game and moving those safeties and LB off, to cover the middle.

if it's either, or? then i say MM is more valuable to the team. he keeps PR upright, to make those throws down the field. and the line doesn't need extra help in pass protection.

peace out

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