San Diego Chargers: 3 Veterans with Their Starting Jobs Under Threat

Padraig O' Halloran @@PodgeOHCorrespondent IApril 10, 2012

San Diego Chargers: 3 Veterans with Their Starting Jobs Under Threat

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    Heading into the 2012 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers have a number of positions up for grabs on both offense and defense.

    On offense, San Diego could use some help on the offensive line. The retirement of Kris Dielman has opened up a starting job at left guard, and right tackle is another position that may be looked at improving.

    On defense, the draft strategy is simple: Find some pass rushers. The Chargers could definitely use some added help in rushing the passer and will also be looking to add some depth to the secondary.

    But which veterans should feel nervous about losing their starting jobs? Let’s find out.

Jeromey Clary

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    Since getting drafted in Round 6 of the 2006 Draft, Clary has started 64 games at right tackle. He signed a four-year, $20 million contract extension at the beginning of last season and so his future with the team appears to be secure. As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend!”

    Clary has been just about average throughout his career and he is your prototypical solid right tackle. The problem with that is it leaves room for improvement and at 28 years old, I think he’s finished improving. Clary will remain a solid right tackle for the rest of his career and that may not be good enough for the Chargers' offense.

    Clary should be worried if players like Jonathan Martin or Cordy Glenn are still available when the Chargers are on the clock in Round 1.

Quentin Jammer

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    Over the past few seasons, it’s been pretty clear that Jammer is on the decline. The 32-year-old veteran is heading into his 10th season in the NFL, and it’s obvious that his career is winding down. Jammer missed just one game last year and for the first time since his Rookie season in 2002, he failed to record an interception.

    If I’m being completely honest, Jammer probably would have already been replaced if the Chargers had any better alternatives. Antoine Cason is still improving but isn’t yet ready to be the team’s number one cornerback, and last year’s rookie pair of Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright have both showed promise but neither are ready to start.

    If Janoris Jenkins or Dre Kirkpatrick are available when the Chargers pick at 18, Jammer could see the team weigh up their options and put their need to find a pass-rusher on hold.

Shaun Phillips

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    Phillips is coming off a disappointing season in which he had a career-low 3.5 sacks. At 30-years-old, the former Pro Bowler may be coming toward the end of his career and will be competing with newly signed Jarret Johnson and last season's sack leader Antwan Barnes for playing time this season.

    The main reason that Phillips should be worried about losing his starting job is the lack of burst he showed last season. He looked surprisingly slow at times and struggled to show the same type of acceleration he once had. The Chargers will be looking to bring in a pass-rusher in this year's draft; that's a certainty. The question is what round will they decide to take one in.

    If the Chargers decide to bring in a player like Nick Perry in the first round, Shaun Phillips may find his days as a starter on the Chargers defense are numbered.

Who Else Is Under Pressure?

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    Those are just a few of the players who should be worried about losing their starting jobs next season, but there are plenty of other examples.

    Former first-round pick Larry English is coming into this season with just seven career sacks to his name. That type of production just isn't good enough after three seasons in the NFL, and English is facing a make or break year with the team.

    Perhaps the man under most pressure this season is Head Coach Norv Turner, but I think it's been that way for a few years so he's probably used to it by now.

    As always, feel free to have your say in the comment section.

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