Before the opening week of the regular season, every NFL team must cut their rosters from 90 to 53. For coach Mike McCoy and general manger Tom Telesco, it doesn't look like it will be easy to do.
Multiple positions, whether it be injuries or recent additions, need defining. The Chargers are still searching for their starting strong safety, and a few decisions will be made concerning the wide receiver depth. There will be surprising cuts before September, including a few known names.
As tough as it will be to cut 37 players and establish a roster of 53, it will be done. Let's look at five players who are at risk of being released very soon.
Richard Goodman is very close to being released by the Chargers. The only job he has is to return kickoffs, which he's actually pretty good at. The only problem is there are other guys on the roster who can be return men. Rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen is perfectly capable of doing so, and Danny Woodhead has experience as well.
Goody has never been a receiver for the Chargers. Yes, it's technically his position, but with only one catch in three years, it's hardly debatable. San Diego had a kick returner by the name of Darren Sproles for many years. Sproles was, and still is, one of the best in the league. When he left for New Orleans, the Chargers needed a guy who could make big plays on returns. Richard Goodman assumed the role.
In three years, Goodman has only taken it to the house one time. Every once in a while, it will look like he's about to break away for a touchdown, but then he trips over his own feet because he's running too fast. I've seen this happen a bunch of times over the past few years.
If the Chargers have an extra spot available on the 53-man roster, Goodman will most likely be kept. Don't count on San Diego making it a priority to keep him.
Reuniting with former offensive coordinator Mike McCoy may not be enough to keep Eddie Royal in San Diego. Like Richard Goodman, the addition of Keenan Allen may spell the end for Royal. The speedy receiver had his best years in Denver under McCoy, which is the reason the Chargers signed him.
Here's the gist: The Chargers will not be cutting Robert Meachem, based on salary issues. They would lose money by cutting him, so as of now, No. 12 is staying. If it wasn't for that, there would be no concern or possibility of Royal being cut.
I personally think the Chargers need to and will keep Eddie Royal. The first reason is health concerns. Danario Alexander has struggled to stay healthy over the course of his career, and the same goes for Malcom Floyd. Vincent Brown has already missed five straight practices after sitting out the entire 2012 season with a broken ankle, and Keenan Allen has weak knees. The second reason is the explosiveness he brings to McCoy's offense. Vincent Brown should not be a slot receiver; he's better on the outside. Eddie Royal is the slot receiver and needs to be kept.
Well, this is an obvious one.
If it weren't for Melvin Ingram's injury, I would strongly feel this would be Larry English's last training camp. Not only is Melvin Ingram hurt, but Jarret Johnson has also missed almost the entire training camp with an undisclosed injury.
That opens the door for Larry English.
The former first-round pick has never panned out for the Chargers, so maybe this is the year. If Jarret Johnson's injury is more serious than it's being made out to be, English is needed more than ever. At the same time, English has some competition to deal with. Thomas Keiser has a legitimate chance at making the roster and taking playing time away from English, while fifth-round draft pick Tourek Williams can also contribute on the outside.
Larry English is facing the biggest season of his career.
It seems the Chargers will use a rotation in the backfield this season. Ryan Mathews will lead the charge with Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown subbing in. Woodhead and Brown are excellent pass-catchers and will be used frequently in Mike McCoy's offense. There hasn't been a jolt of explosiveness in the backfield since the loss of Darren Sproles. The Chargers feel Woodhead is the answer to that problem.
There is only enough work in San Diego's backfield for those three backs: Mathews, Woodhead and Brown. Seventh-round draft pick Edwin Baker will most likely not make the final 53-man roster but should be added to the practice squad.
Andrew Gachkar was drafted by the Chargers in 2011. In his first two seasons, he recorded 38 tackles and one sack. He's a player who's been on the roster for depth but never looked to be a starter or consistent producer.
Donald Butler and Manti Te'o will start at inside linebacker, but the backup positions are still up in the air. Bront Bird is looking to make a name for himself in 2013, according to Adam Zuvanich of the Odessa American. D.J. Smith was signed this offseason after being released by the Packers. He's still recovering from a torn ACL from last season, which explains why he's behind Andrew Gachkar in the first depth chart of the season.
It's a tossup whether or not Gachkar will be kept. If D.J. Smith returns to full strength and plays better in the preseason than Gachkar, the Chargers will have no reason to keep him.