Chargers In The News: Adding Veteran Leadership On Defense

The Chargers ended the first day of free agency with the addition of more veteran leadership on defense, signing former 49er Takeo Spikes to a three-year deal. Spikes, known for being a leader on the field and in the clubhouse, had 81 solo tackles for San Francisco last season while playing under new Chargers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, easily his best season as a 49er.

If Spikes can continue playing at a high level, the Chargers run defense and tackling should be much improved. Along with new safety Bob Sanders, Spikes presence should make everyone around him better.

Clary Returns

While the Chargers defense is rebuilt, their offense will have a very 2010 feel to it with the resigning of right tackle Jeromey Clary, as well as the return of backup tightend Randy McMichael.

The often-criticized Clary had arguably his best season in 2010, and there is a lot to be said for continuity in this league if you’re already playing well as a unit. Still, I never thought the Chargers ran the ball as well with Clary in the starting lineup (and without Mike Goff lined up beside him). But after a year like 2010, it was fairly obvious that right tackle was the least of the Chargers worries.

Other Charger Signings

As was previously mentioned, Randy McMichael resigned with the Chargers, giving the team some veteran depth if starter Antonio Gates is injured again this season. McMichael played well behind Gates last year, and his signing means the Bolts have one less player who will need a crash-course in the ways of Norv Turner’s offense in this abbreviated offseason.

The Chargers also signed a number of undrafted free agents to fill various gaps in training camp. Most notably, these players include Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien, defensive end Mike Blanc from Auburn, and five wide receivers who could compete for a roster spot in the event that the Chargers lose Malcolm Floyd.

Future Ex-Chargers?

With the signing of Jeromey Clary, it is assumed that the Chargers’ priorities turn to the resigning of ILB Kevin Burnett and S Eric Weddle. Discussions with agents for both players are ongoing, but it is anyone’s guess whether or not the team will be willing to outbid the competition for their services. Also, the focus on Weddle and Burnett means that players like Floyd, Darren Sproles, Stephen Cooper, and Brandon Siler may have the opportunity to find more lucrative contracts with other teams.

With Vincent Jackson likely remaining a Charger for just one more year, I don’t understand how the team could let a player like Floyd walk away from the team. He may never be VJ, but he’s the closest thing to a number-one wide receiver that they have beyond Jackson.


On a personal note, I want to briefly honor my uncle, Donald Williams, a life-long San Diego sports fan who passed-away last week. He was the kind of guy who was liked by all, and those who knew him will never forget his love for his family, his friends, and his Padres and Chargers. Cheering on the Chargers this year won’t be the same without him.


Former Chargers who may be wearing a new uniform next year include their starting wide receiver and safety, both inside linebackers, and top kick-returner. Who are you most afraid of losing, and how will the Chargers handle the losses of any of these key players? Sound off below and share your back-up plans with us!

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July 26, 2011

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