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Chargers' offseason report: Poised for a ...

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Kwak, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Kwak

    Kwak ....

    May 25, 2006

    Chargers' offseason report: Poised for a Super Bowl run

    Posted: April 1, 2009

    Despite their struggles in the regular season, G.M. A.J. Smith mostly stood pat with San Diego Chargers' roster. San Diego has won three consecutive AFC West titles and made a couple deep playoff runs. This year could be their last shot to get to a Super Bowl before Smith has to think more long-term about the future.

    Best free-agent move

    Click here to find out more!
    Things have been pretty quiet in San Diego in terms of free-agent moves, and that might be a good thing for the Chargers. Coming off a year in which ex-Chargers RB Michael Turner signed a big free-agent deal in Atlanta and subsequently helped turn around a franchise, it would have been easy for Smith to succumb to public pressure.

    San Diego could have been burned twice and signed free-agent RB Darren Sproles to a long-term deal. But Smith stuck to his guns and used the "franchise tag" to retain him at a price that would allow him to keep Sproles and also give him the opportunity to negotiate a new deal with LaDainian Tomlinson and keep both players on the roster.

    Smith proved successful. On a team that has reached the AFC championship game and the divisional round of the playoffs the past two years and wasn't going to see a lot of roster turnover this offseason, Smith kept two of his better playmakers and gives his team a chance to make another run at a Super Bowl.

    Smith says Sproles is best suited to a role as a change-of-pace back and explosive return man and doesn't feel he has the size or durability to handle a feature back role. We believe Smith is right. Tomlinson will be supremely motivate in '09 to prove he still is an elite NFL back.

    Worst free-agent move

    DE Igor Olshansky never was a guy who put up spectacular statistics, but he was a key cog in the San Diego defense. Strong as an ox, he is 26 years old and plays with a mean streak. He's a physical player who had the strength to crash to the inside, which occupied blockers and helped free up pass-rushing OLBs Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips.

    San Diego fans might be excited about the return of Merriman, but even "Lights Out" knows that unless the team can plug in a player comparable to Olshansky in front of him, a return to form will be tough to come by.

    To-do list

    There isn't a lot left to do. Offensively, the Chargers need to upgrade the right side of the offensive line and could use another receiver with some speed. WR Chris Chambers disappeared at times last season, and though WR Vincent Jackson finally has begun to show his full ability on the field, troubles off the field are a bit of a concern. WR Craig Davis was a first-round pick two years ago and needs to establish himself after spending most of '08 on injured reserve.

    On defense, the Chargers improved their depth with the signing of LB Kevin Burnett, who can play inside or outside, and if CB Antonio Cromartie can return to form after playing hurt throughout '08, San Diego is set in the secondary.

    They just need to find a replacement for Olshansky. DE Jacques Cesaire has experience in the system but lacks Olshansky's size and strength.

    Draft priorities

    # Defensive end: Olshansky is in Dallas now, and the Chargers need another big, strong end who can play the run and crash the inside gaps on passing downs, creating pass rush opportunities for the outside linebackers. LSU's Tyson Jackson fits the 3-4 mold and could be there for the Chargers at pick No. 16.

    # Right tackle: RT Jeromey Clary has been the starter since '07 but shouldn't be a starter because of his lack of strength and athleticism. The right side of the line is the only weakness on offense, and with G Mike Goff leaving via free agency the Chargers need to address it early in the draft.

    # Safety: FS Eric Weddle was productive in '08, but SS Clinton Hart saw his playing time cut as the season progressed. San Diego would love to replace Hart, but there isn't a viable alternative on the roster. Expect Smith to look for a young, versatile safety to groom.

    # Running back: The Chargers don't want to pay Tomlinson beyond this year and don't want to commit to Sproles long term, either. In short, they must look for Tomlinson's successor as the feature back.
  2. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

    Aug 12, 2006
    The Chargers don't want to commit to Sproles long term?. If Cro gets his act together the secondary is set?.

    Who writes this stuff?.....................
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    The statement about the secondary sounds like Trumpy. :lol:
  4. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

    Sep 4, 2006
    This is an interesting statement, and helps explain a lot of people's belief that it'll be an RB at #16.
  5. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2006
    Alot of this article does not make sense. If we didn't want to pay Tomlinson beyond this year, why did we restructure his contract? The way the contract was restructured, we would take a bigger cap hit next season if we dump Tomlinson. Why would they structure the contract that way if they were expecting to dump LT after this year when they are going to need all the cap room they can get next season?

    Just because they have not agreed to a long-term contract with Sproles does not mean they don't want to commit to him long-term.

    At one point in his time here, I would have agreed about replacing Igor. But he was not very good the last two years and it was always the same excuse--injuries. I don't see Cesaire as being that big of a downgrade, though we certainly need to look for a better starter long-term.
  6. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    totally agree

    we need an upgrade there whether he was here or not
  7. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

    Oct 3, 2006
    I agree with Def. End and Tackle to look for.

    If Tomlinson is motivated and healthy enough to put good numbers on the board, the management and the fans will
    like to have him stay. So no RB at # 16 , please.
  8. fan4ever

    fan4ever BoltTalker

    Dec 29, 2008
    Allot of agreement here for DL, OL, SS. RB?? That's just nut ball. I wish the draft was over so we can get on with the season.

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