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Draft preview: The offense

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by wrbanwal, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    http://www.chargers.com/news/article-1/draft-preview-the-offense/d14d5f79-396e-4c3f-bf41-f7bd26f93207

    With the NFL Draft just two weeks away, Chargers.com takes a position-by-position look at the team’s offense and what areas may be addressed.

    Two weeks prior to the NFL Draft, the Chargers have nine picks which they’ll use to improve the roster. The way things currently stand, the Bolts have a selection in every round except the second, and they have three picks in the fourth round.

    In 2008, the Chargers finished second in the NFL in points per game (27.4) and 11th in total offense. Ten starters are scheduled to return in 2009, but General Manager A.J. Smith will certainly look to improve the team’s depth on the offensive side of the ball and create some competition. Here’s a look at the current state of the offense with an eye toward which areas may be addressed.

    Quarterback

    The Chargers can make a strong case for having the best quarterback group in the NFL. They have a star starter in Philip Rivers, an experienced backup in Billy Volek as well as a strong-armed, athletic signal caller in Charlie Whitehurst who continues to learn the ropes and wait his turn.

    Rivers took every offensive snap last fall and turned in one of the best seasons ever by a Chargers quarterback. He broke Dan Fouts’ team record for touchdown passes and led the NFL in passer rating. Volek wasn’t called to action, but he proved in the 2007 playoffs that he’s capable of delivering when needed. The coaching staff remains high on Whitehurst, who enters his fourth year in 2009.

    In his February “State of the Chargers” press conference, Smith didn’t rule out drafting a quarterback, but with the current status of the position, it doesn’t look like it’s an area that will be targeted early.

    Running back

    LaDainian Tomlinson signed a new three-year contract in March and Darren Sproles was designated as the club’s franchise player. Michael Bennett joined the team late in the season and pitched in during the postseason.

    Smith always plans with an eye to the future, and the Chargers are in a position where they can take the best player available without necessarily trying to fill an immediate need. Thus, a running back isn’t out of the question in spite of the outstanding talent currently in place. Will it be with the 16th pick? Who knows. That’s what makes this time of year so much fun.

    At fullback, a pair of rookies split the action last year. Mike Tolbert started the first half of the season before an injury set him back, then the opportunity was grabbed and handled by Jacob Hester, the team’s 2008 third-round pick.

    Billy Latsko was added to the roster late in the year and will compete for time as well.

    Never heard of him...

    :icon_shrug::icon_shrug::icon_shrug:

    The Chargers are in good shape at fullback but could always add an extra lead blocker, especially one with special teams value.

    Wide receiver

    The Chargers finished seventh in the NFL in passing offense last season, thanks in part to Rivers’ play and in part to impressive production from the receivers. Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers return as starters, although both players have contracts that are currently set to expire after 2009.

    Malcom Floyd is a restricted free agent and was given a “second-round tender” by the Chargers which means a team would have to surrender a second-round choice if they signed Floyd. Buster Davis is feeling strong after undergoing an operation to repair a lingering groin issue. His fellow 2007 draft class member Legedu Naanee played a huge role on special teams last season and can help the offense. Smith confirmed last month that Kassim Osgood is on the trading block.

    With veterans and youngsters filling out the depth chart, wide receiver isn’t the team’s most pressing need but it is an area that could be targeted. Again, special teams value could play in here as well.

    Tight end

    Antonio Gates had another Pro Bowl year and remains in the prime of his career. Brandon Manumaleuna had another somewhat quiet yet productive season in 2008 and is back. The team signed Kris Wilson prior to Week 1, and although he didn’t see game action until late in the year, the Chargers like his versatility and value on special teams. Scott Chandler’s second NFL campaign was over before it got started as he suffered a toe injury in the preseason that landed him on injured reserve, but the team’s 2007 fourth-round pick is a big, athletic target.

    The Chargers will likely only carry three tight ends on their 53-man roster, so with four in the fold, it isn’t a position that needs much attention.

    Offensive line

    Four of the team’s five starters are back and healthy. Marcus McNeill, Kris Dielman, Nick Hardwick and Jeromey Clary are all back and enter training camp atop the depth chart. The team has a vacancy at right guard, and Kynan Forney, Scott Mruczkowski and 2008 draft pick Corey Clark will battle for the spot.

    When asked about draft needs, Smith regularly answers “always offensive line.” Veterans Mike Goff, who is now with Kansas City, and Jeremy Newberry won’t be back, leaving the Chargers with some holes behind the starters. Clark can play both guard and tackle, and veteran L.J. Shelton is reliable as a reserve at four positions.
     
  2. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

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    If L.J. Shelton was so damn 'reliable', I suspect he would have seen a hell of a lot more game action last season.
     
  3. foober

    foober BoltTalker

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    The only thing the chargers offense needs is a good guard/o-tackle. Basically a stud o-lineman. The chargers offense very probably has more weapons on it than any team probably in the history of the game. They just need the o-line to be more solid.

    For the chargers to win it all they need to improve the defense. To make it solid. Need a better d-end/d-tackle to take over IGORs spot. A player that needs to be double teamed. Which will open up a huge can of worms for offenses allowing other chargers players to make plays. Basically the defense needs another merriman so that offensive line blocking just can't handle what the chargers front d-7 throws at them.
     
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  4. Osmekaman

    Osmekaman BoltTalker

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    That's quite a statement considering the history of our team alone.
    You're entitled to your opinion but i'd prefer to wait until VJ turns into an elite WR and 1 of the other WR's steps up to provide a consistant threat.
    Now, if Crabtree falls to 16.........
     
  5. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

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    The needs on defense are deeper than offense.
    With that personell it too depends on good playbook actions.
     

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