Three things in life are guaranteed: death, taxes, and NFL roster cuts. The San Diego Chargers made some surprising moves in trimming their roster down to 53 players on Friday and now they may look to shuffle the cards a bit more given the players cut by other teams around the league. There are still some thin areas on the Bolts current roster configuration so let’s take a deeper look at where they may need to focus some attention before the season kicks off.
Head Coach Norv Turner admitted that the club’s roster is not yet a finished product following the cuts. He said: "The biggest thing is putting together a roster that can give us the opportunity to play at the highest possible level on opening day. I'm sure that, over the next couple of weeks, we will look at players and there will be possible additions or changes to the roster."
While he did also add: "We feel good with where we're at and starting the season with these guys," it may be a bit too early to actually believe that. Two positions in particular stick out as possible deficiencies for one reason or another and it would be wise for the team to consider solidifying those spots while there is still talent available.
The team let go of three players here in DeAndre Presley, Arthur Hobbs and Greg Gatson, all of whom were not expected to make the final roster in the first place. The only trouble is that the Bolts have just four corners on their active roster and three of those players are currently nursing injuries.
Only Antoine Cason has been healthy for the bulk of camp as Quentin Jammer, Shareece Wright, and Marcus Gilchrist have all missed significant time. Gilchrist has been gone for the majority of camp and each player has been troubled by the same nagging type of hamstring injury that could linger into the regular season.
In a league dominated by high-flying aerial attacks on offense, being short on defensive backs is not ideal so the Chargers should consider their options. Many have linked them to former player Drayton Florence who was cut by the Denver Broncos, but that move doesn’t make much sense for a team who ditched Florence once upon a time for not playing up to his potential.
A more interesting fit could be Minnesota Vikings’ casualty Chris Carr who signed a free agent deal after playing a solid season for the Baltimore Ravens, but really struggled throughout camp. Carr began his career with the Oakland Raiders and Chargers fans are familiar with his work there. He may not be an immediate starter, but adding him for depth purposes would make a lot of sense in a pass-happy NFL.
It seems as if this area has been listed as a concern forever, but the Bolts did themselves no favors to solidify the position by releasing veterans Mario Henderson and Anthony Davis. Given Jared Gaither’s uncertain status with his enigmatic back injury, the team has to look into adding another body to protect quarterback Philip Rivers.
The Bolts do have undrafted rookie Michael Harris playing adequately in Gaither’s absence, but there is another Harris who would make a nice addition. The Broncos cut the former Notre Dame tackle Ryan Harris and now he is in search of a new home. Even though he hasn’t lived up to the third round draft status he had coming into the league, Harris still offers a capable backup with enough skill to keep Rivers off of his back in the coming year.
Trai Essex was let go by the Pittsburgh Steelers and given the Bolts thin look along the entire offensive line, adding him would make the most sense. He is a versatile player capable of playing on the edge, but also fully competent in mauling inside at guard if called upon. Adding him would bring the experience of two Super Bowl championships and plenty of career ups and downs. That way if anyone along the entire line goes down due to injury, the Chargers will always have a body ready to step in and not lose much in terms of skill.
There are many reasons to believe that one or more of these moves could happen soon as the roster is not yet ready for primetime. Coach Turner said: "You could say that about a lot of teams. We'll just see what happens. We have great depth in some areas, and that's by design. But there are other areas where we need depth."
Just by looking at the depth chart we can infer that offensive tackle and cornerback are two areas where the team desperately needs to add depth. Now it’s time to just sit back and see if they move the correct pieces in assembling this 53-man puzzle before week one.
Now it’s your turn! What do you think about the Chargers roster as it is currently assembled? Are you worried about the team being thin at corner? Would Chris Carr or Drayton Florence make sense in the Bolts’ organization? How about offensive tackle; could adding Ryan Harris or Trai Essex be the move the Chargers make before week one? Do you see this team as a contender in its current form or do they need to pull the right strings in order to see those types of results? Please post your thoughts in the comments section below!
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