Meet Your New Chargers

AJ Smith is possessed...or he was kidnapped and replaced with an imposter...or maybe he just realized the Chargers haven't been that good. Whatever the reason is, the Chargers finally made significant moves in the free agent market. Will that be enough to put our Bolts back into Super Bowl contention? Meet the new players who may or may not make that difference.

Robert Meachem: Based on his career with the New Orleans Saints, it's difficult to surmise if the Chargers signed their new number-one wide receiver in Meachem, or if they found someone just good enough to be in the mix. It seems that Meachem has always had the potential to be great, but has yet to consistently live up to expectations. He couldn't be "The Man" in New Orleans; can he finally break out in San Diego?

Eddie Royal: Royal has wide receiver potential, but has largely made his mark as a punt returner. Because of a combination of poor special teams play in 2010 and a lack of a true return specialist in 2011, AJ knew the team had to find some talent to fill that role. In comes Royal, the former Bronco who might surprise some people with a QB like Philip Rivers throwing to him...that's if he can find his way into the wide receiver rotation.

Le'Ron McClain: I love McClain as a fullback. He's a decent blocker, and before he left Baltimore he proved he could carry the ball for more than 1-yard at a time (in fact, this guy ran for over 900-yards in 2008). While I love McClain, I don't fully understand this move. All I've ever heard about Norv Turner's offense is that fullbacks are not important. That's why Jacob Hester has filled that fullback role for the last couple of years- it was a position that didn't really matter. Did Turner suddenly change the way he views the running game? Is McClain being seen as more of a ball-carrying short-yardage kind of guy? Should be interesting to see how the offense unfolds with McClain in the mix.

Jarret Johnson: Johnson was quoted as saying he has been mentioned so often as one of the most underrated players in the NFL, there is no way he could still be underrated. However you rate him, Johnson is a solid defender who will make this defense a lot better. His pass rush stats aren't going to impress anyone, but he kills it in most every other facet of the game. And don't be surprised if he gets a few more sacks this year in a redefined role with the Bolts.

Charlie Whitehurst: Clipboard Jesus us back! I don't think anyone will ever again see Whitehurst as a starting QB in the NFL, so let's all hope that the Chargers' offensive line is that much better this year. Don't be surprised to see the Chargers draft a QB they actually keep this year.

Atari Bigby: Low risk, low reward...Bigby has some experience, and can't be worse than last year's strong safety. You have to assume that AJ will go safety with one of the first two picks. And my money is on AJ giving up too much to move up in the second and grab Harrison Smith.

Demorrio Williams: Consider this a special teams addition with a lot of upside. I think Williams could add something positive to the inside linebacker rotation, including experience that can only help youngsters Donald Butler and Jonas Mouton.

I left free agent players resigned by the Chargers off the list, but signing guys like Nick Hardwick and Jared Gaither were as important as bringing in some new blood. It sounds like the Chargers are currently focused on finding a backup running back- that, or holding out hope that Mike Tolbert will find his way back to San Diego- while also focusing on retaining role players like Jacob Hester and Tommy Harris.

How do you like the Chargers' free agent haul? Sound off in the comments section below!

Follow me on Twitter: @JSWilliams75

March 19, 2012

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Cjlocke89 said... Mar 19, 2012, 8:15:00 AM

Decent review, except your downright silly comment about fullbacks not being used in Turner's offense. Call LT and Lorenzo Neal, they'll disagree.

RaiderHater said... Mar 19, 2012, 8:37:00 AM

Jeff, did someone piss in your Wheaties today?!  I am one of the first to say AJ has sucked big time for awhile, but I like all his choices so far.  We have reloaded the Team in many positions with solid players, most are marked improvements over whomever they replaced.  And VJ being gone has allowed us to get two for one (sorta) in dollars spent.  Tampa paid ridiculous money for him, we gained on that deal no doubt.  think about the fact we have more weapons to run around the field and for Rivers to find.  No just...uh Gates in the middle, maybe Floyd or VJ deep and uhhh nope that's our game plan. Now we have some players who have respectable speed for the deep, still have Floyd for the "high" ball, and a mix of guys who can catch slants and mid-field balls all day!  Combine that with a more diversified running game and WTF!  We still need another true RB, maybe Tolbert gets back here but I doubt it.  There are some RB's still around so that will come.  We really still need the QB eating animal, we don't yet have that person and a actual strong safety.  This is week 2 and I am sure AJ is watching the wire as the prices start to soften up.  So far AJ has restored a little faith in his abilities....Norv however has A FREAKING LOT to do to restore any faith to me.  If he would open up the playbook and quit being so predicable, Norv your career is on the line you got nothing to lose so go for creative, mix it up some, let Rivers call some plays on the fly.  I hope this week is half as exciting as last week was, each day was like opening a present!  The draft will be exciting for sure, but again it is rare you draft a player, give them camp then put them in as a starter in the NFL and they are major impact players...RARE!  This is the NFL not college so my hopes are players we gain get to learn some on the job and develop for the future...AJ needs to stay the coarse he has been on and work the open markets.  And Payton, really $90M for a guy his age and potential injuries?  He is a great QB, but not that kinda $$$ great.

JYBaritone said... Mar 19, 2012, 9:38:00 AM

Tolbert just went to the Panthers

Lupe cabeza said... Mar 19, 2012, 10:41:00 AM

Thats Right HAHA

RaiderHater said... Mar 19, 2012, 10:49:00 AM


Jeff Williams said... Mar 19, 2012, 11:15:00 AM

Wow, I didn't think that was negative...just realistic.  Meachem isn't VJ- it's going to take a group effort to replace him.  But overall I like this free agent class a lot. 

Jeff Williams said... Mar 19, 2012, 11:17:00 AM

Perhaps I'm the only one who remembers Neal being underutilized when Turner took back the offense.  Are you comparing LT/Neal in 2007 to LT/Neal prior to 2007?  There's no comparison- if you call LT and Neal, they would 100% agree.

ChargersWa said... Mar 19, 2012, 11:40:00 AM

I Think we should be going after Kamerion Wimbley the man who sacked Phillip 4 times the last time we played the Raiders. Shaun and Kamerion on the edges thats trouble for everyone!

gupgup said... Mar 19, 2012, 11:46:00 AM

Wimbley! WTF  No way

gupgup said... Mar 19, 2012, 11:51:00 AM

Resign Garay and go after Bush!

Metal Bolt said... Mar 19, 2012, 4:48:00 PM

 I agree 100% with both, I am not sure why no one is talking about Bush. He gets 5 or 6 yards on almost every carry. Garay is a given.

Pete Spinning said... Mar 19, 2012, 7:12:00 PM

I have all the respect for everyone on here, but... Naw dog... it was negative.

Pete Spinning said... Mar 19, 2012, 7:47:00 PM

Right? We knew this Peyton thing was coming! That's why Philip called him out ahead of time (such a good move!).

Pete Spinning said... Mar 19, 2012, 7:50:00 PM

He was a madman last year, and the bright spot of a dreary Dolphins season. Had Sporano kept his job, it would have been because of Bush. Didn't even think about him... funny. Not a lot of exposure, I guess. Maybe Kim Kardashian made him run faster after the big dumparoo... lol!

Pete Spinning said... Mar 19, 2012, 7:55:00 PM

Cliff Avril got the franchise tag from the Lions, and is CLEARLY miffed that he can't get a long-term contract. He even threatened to hold out, which was kind of a bluff. But, he IS on the market! He intercepted Rivers for a pick six last season, in that dreadful playoff-implication game! If you can't beat em', sign em!
It would cost us two first round picks, so it is a pretty high price to pay... but, I feel like addressing pass rush issues in the draft is somewhat ludicrous right now... we have an immediate need.. Sure, you MIGHT get someone who could step up now, but what if they aren't ready? (which is most likely the case). If we can't get pressure on Cassell, Manning, and Palmer... LIKE TODAY.. then we are going to have the same problem with our CB's this year. I know Avril is a lot of money... 10 million a year I think... but, with the receivers we have added, signing a MONSTER pass rusher would be an adequate response to losing V-Jax... after all, we needed a pass rusher more than we needed an overpaid DIVA receiver. Floyd will thrive without VJ, watch! Can you imagine if we had Avril, Barnes, and Philips, while sticking JJ in for the run? S-C-A-R-Y! I know Avril plays a 4-3, but he wouldn't be the first to convert succesfully, if he worked out! I hope that's where AJ cracks open his wallet. Avril ain't so good against the run, but that's why we have JJ, right?
I am going to be fairly disappointed if we try to draft a pass rusher, unless he comes out swingin', and ready to play with the big boys. Draft a strong safety, now that we have some depth with Bigby (not perfect, but he could spell a rookie). Or, draft a cornerback, and start thinking about Jammer being strong safety. Landry was never going to be a Charger, and is off the market, anyway (Thank God). Also, sign Garay already. Not a stellar year last year... but, I like his committment to Charger hairstyles.. he's gotta get points for that, right? ? At least he shows he wants to be a Bolt (not like VJ).
And I know it sounds crazy.. but, what about LT coming back? Dude deserves to retire a Bolt, and wasn't TOO bad in New York last year. I can see the crowd getting "Charged Up" with thunderous roars when he steps back on the field. I know peeps are gonna make fun of me for that one, but I am an old softie when it comes to that shiz. And, we could probably get him cheap, and would only need him as a 3rd down back, and special plays. He's still got it!

arnie said... Mar 20, 2012, 1:58:00 PM

" ...i do need a fullback in my system..." Norv Turner.
his words, not mine.

Fbhansen said... Mar 20, 2012, 7:53:00 PM

arnie said in on one of the other threads here and I agree...everyone out there put the kool-aid down! Tell me how AJ has changed at all. We lose a pro bowler and replace him with some other teams number 2 at a low cost. That's the way we got into this mess in the first place. Take a look at how the niners did this off season (okay big time fail on the Peyton sweep stakes aside) they took the number one defensive unit and retained all their number 1's (starters). They could have taken the AJ approach and let say a Carlos Rogers (pro bowl CB) go and replace him with some other teams number 2 but what would that accomplish. It would mean the new players would all have to go through a learning curve and adjustment period resulting in the team getting off to a slow start. Wait a minute doesn't that happen every year with this team...?

I'm looking at it this way both Denver and San Diego were 8-8 last year and one team went out and got the biggest free agent available while the other continued to lose their number 1's and replaced them with number 2's. So now comes the point in time where people on the Kool-aid all say well VJ (and others) left for the big bucks that we couldn't match. True but the problem I have is we had opportunity to sign them for less and never heard once that an offer had been tendered and declined. In other words AJ puts the player in a position to let other teams bid for their services and at that point it's simply too late because the value is lost and salary inflated. That doesn't have to happen but it does under AJ and part of the reason I've tried to stay off the Charger blogs this off season. After spending years (back to the Air Coryell era) of being a fan I simply can't drink the kool-aid and won't spend a dime on this team until I see real change.

Now we are banking on the draft to improve our defense...doesn't that usually take a couple of years to see the player come into his own and contribute especially since we aren't picking in the top ten. Okay off my soap box and I'm sure those gulping the kool-aid will chime in on how this team has stolen this or that player from another team (really?) but to me there's been no difference in AJ and how he does his business so I don't have a lot of hope for the up coming season!

Pete Spinning said... Mar 21, 2012, 11:06:00 AM

What's all this Kool-Aid everyone keeps talking about? I WANT SOME! Slammin' Strawberry Kiwi is my personal favorite! Although Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade is a close second : )

Fbhansen said... Mar 21, 2012, 4:50:00 PM

If you don't know what it is you are probably on it! LOL JK But where's the big name stars we hoped to see come to SD and help get us over the hump? If we were to rebuild why have the same two people who took the cadillac and turned it into a 3 cylinder slug running the show? Problem isn't poor Norv and Mr. Egotistical AJ it's ownership! How can Dean Spineless sit by and watch this happen year over year (the team has gotten less and less out of the GM and team on the field) and keep him around. Only one reason I know and that's because the Spanos family is still getting fans to come to games and buy their don't do it!

Or try some tasty Kool-Aid that's being served up by the sports writers and team officials in town trying to get us to believe this team will overachieve and somehow do what we haven't done in two years and win the division...forget about the fact the team that won it last year improved and we are relying on other teams number 2's to become our number 1's and the fact our defensive help will have to come from college kids trying to catch on. I for one will not spend a dime on this team...

RaiderHater said... Mar 22, 2012, 1:17:00 PM

 Wow Pete, you were wrong...FBhansen is still alive!!! And still filled with piss and vinegar (or is it Kool-Aid)?!  He throws some good logic, but I like the add ons thus far and VJ will be a mere commoner in 2012.  I would still like to see an impact defensive player or 3...I need a SS, and CB and some fool on the line that likes the taste of QB blood (but not the way the Saints get it)!  I don't get the LT back stuff....yeah nice if he could retire a Bolt, but come on spend the money for the Now!  If you could have him back for next to nothing, fine we can use him sparingly so he can retire healthy.  But that is such a low thought compared to the needs we have today.  Spanos is going to remain to owner for awhile...AJ may or may not make it until his contract is Norv we gotta worry about because he is the day to day coach (huh odd use of that word) that makes sure we can win.  I will watch, wait and see as the free agency is still open and the draft is not yet here.  This has been a spinning wheel of moves this year so who really knows how it shakes down until the first games.  I will not suddenly "give up" on the Bolts...I have said many times before, I am, I think,  legally crazy by definition...just because I am a Bolts fan so with that I can't be held accountable for my actions:)

Fbhansen said... Mar 23, 2012, 8:17:00 AM

I hear you RaiderHater and I too was one who said if nothing else win our last game against the Raiders even "if" it meant Norv and AJ returned...then we got Spanos saying how things would change and as soon as the heat is off AJ is back to his old self. Where are the improvements on Defense? All I know is playing good defense and winning the turn over game wins games and championships...while I don't think Rivers will ever equal the gifts he gave our opponents last year I don't think we improved on the defense and again AJ is snubbing the top tier FA's. Okay some of it could be to get the most of the $ available but come on now it's time to give the fans something to get excited about. Like the pick up of Royal, great move answers a couple of needs like returner and slot guy similar to a wes welker but why haven't we seen the same thing on the defensive side. Or the pick up of Mechem good move but I'd rather use those $ for the defense and pickup a receiver in the draft. Why? Because we need a ton of defensive help and even though VJ was a huge loss we have another Vincent who IMHO is as good of an option as Mechem!

Jpro103 said... Mar 25, 2012, 2:48:00 PM


IMO the reason AJ went with Meachem instead of relying on the draft for a reciever is they take so long to develop...even the really good ones. I too have mixed feelings on this years FA season. I was really hoping for a solid pass rusher but there was not a whole lot available for reasonable$$, so I guess I can understand to some extent.

I am hoping for Upshaw or Mercilus in the first but we'll see (love the Mercilus name imlpication lol)

There is also the possibility that English comes back strong, I did see some promise from him his first year, lets hope he can remain healthy for the year. I also hope Mouton proves out as well as Butler did but that's a stretch.

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