It has been a season in flux for the San Diego Chargers roster in 2010. Not only has the team been forced to deal with injuries to the offensive line and linebacker core, but the Chargers just signed their fifth longer snapper of the season when Mike Windt joined the club this week.
But over the last 48 hours things have gotten really interesting.
The first news to come down involved Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeill. After a lengthy hold out that had been kept relatively quiet – outside of the Twitter universe – McNeill decided seemingly out of nowhere to report to the Chargers and sign his reduced tender. It was a move that made both sides look foolish, but eased the minds of many fans that were tired of watching Philip Rivers get blindsided when Brandon Dombrowski got beat by an experienced rusher.
At the time there was speculation that McNeill came back because he and the Chargers had the framework of a deal in place, but until late Monday, nothing was known for sure.
While it will take time for McNeill to regain his form after not seeing live action in nearly nine months, he will be an immediate upgrade on the offensive line and help give depth to a quickly depleting squad.
Next, the Chargers announced a roster move that would send Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman to the Minor Injury Designation list where he would remain until he was healthy enough to cut. This move is covered in NFL red tape, but it basically marked the end of Merriman’s tenure in San Diego.
Merriman’s story is one of disappointment for Charger fans. After three straight Pro Bowl seasons to begin his career, Merriman has failed to play more than a few productive games in the last three seasons.
He was always at odds with the front office throughout his time in San Diego. After Merriman decided to wait to get knee surgery until after the first week of the 2008 season, his relationship with the Chargers was permanently soured. Merriman never got the long-term contract he asked for and the Chargers refused to commit to a player they viewed as a liability on and off the field.
The great fear now that San Diego must be in is that Merriman will return to his previous level and make general manager AJ Smith look like a fool for giving up on him like has happened with Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie – just to name a few.
The final, and most shocking, roster move for the Chargers in the last few days involved a report from ESPN that Vincent Jackson would report to the team on October 30.
Jackson has been a source of headaches and heartache for the Chargers front office and San Diegans alike. His holdout has dominated both local and national news scenes since early training camp, and when Smith decided to play hardball, Jackson and his agent took a firm stand.
But after being thrown around in trade talks for the last few months, Jackson is scheduled to return to the Chargers for the last 6 games of the season. He will likely take an immediate spot in the team’s rotation of receivers, but between Antonio Gates’ amazing performance thus far and the chemistry being created between Malcolm Floyd and Rivers, Jackson’s days as the number one target in San Diego are likely over.
It has been both an interesting and exciting few days on the Charger football scene. The loss of Merriman should have little effect on the team while the additions of McNeill and Jackson should help lead yet another late charge to the playoffs. It remains to be scene how much it will show that McNeill and Jackson have not played in nearly nine months, but at this point, the Chargers are looking for any help they can get.
What are your thoughts on the recent roster moves? Is this team now on pace to make the playoffs?
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