San Diego Chargers Team Roster: Report Card Grades for Every Position
The San Diego Chargers trimmed their roster to the final 53-man limit by last Saturday's league-wide deadline. Fans can now judge, position by position, if their team got it right in making its final cuts.
The Chargers released a host of undrafted rookies and young players, but veterans Robert Meachem and Max Starks failed to avoid the last wave of cuts.
Now that the roster is set for the 2013 season, let's see how San Diego stacks up.
Philip Rivers was 20-of-33 in three preseason starts with three turnovers (2 INTs, 1 fumble).
The interception he threw against Chicago occurred when his receiver tripped on his route while his interception against Arizona was the result of a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage. Bears defensive end Shea McClellin forced the fumble when he hit Rivers on his blind side for a sack.
Rivers demonstrated in the preseason that he can still be an accurate passer, but turnovers are still a problem even when they aren't entirely his fault.
The depth behind Rivers combined for five interceptions and four fumbles in the preseason.
Ryan Mathews had a nearly perfect preseason before he fumbled against the Cardinals. Fortunately for him, it resulted in a Chargers' touchdown in what might be the wackiest play remembered from this preseason.
Mathews averaged 4.7 yards a carry and scored once against Arizona. The biggest surprise here is Fozzy Whitaker, who managed to escape being cut.
Whitaker led the team in rushing during the preseason with 155 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The depth is there for Mathews, but he should still see plenty of snaps.
San Diego receivers were dropping like flies in training camp. Danario Alexander was lost for the season, Malcom Floyd suffered a knee strain and Eddie Royal was taken to the hospital in an ambulance from the practice field.
The Chargers were lucky to have enough receivers just make it to the start of the regular season, let alone play well. If Floyd's strain doesn't become a lingering injury, he'll probably end up being Philip Rivers' top target.
Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen will be an interesting duo to keep an eye on, as both are relatively young and have performed well in camp and in the preseason. Allen made some mistakes with tripping on routes and muffed punts, but he still caught six passes and had the longest punt return for the Chargers of 44 yards.
Ladarius Green led San Diego in receiving during the preseason with 13 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Antonio Gates wasn't far behind with seven catches of his own.
John Phillips, the Chargers' blocking tight end, showed off some soft hands with two catches for 21 yards. Overall, this tight ends unit provides the offense with a nice mix of receiving threats and run-blocking.
Max Starks was not who we thought he was. The former left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers could not protect the Chargers' quarterbacks during the preseason and was let go in the final wave of cuts.
King Dunlap capitalized on the increased amount of first-team snaps in training camp and eventually won the gig as starting left tackle. Second-year player Mike Harris was apparently a better backup than Starks.
D.J. Fluker will handle the right tackle spot and, hopefully, become a franchise player who the Chargers can count on for a long time.
Chad Rinehart was the second free-agent offensive lineman to win a starting job next to King Dunlap. He and Jeromey Clary will start at guard for San Diego with Johnnie Troutman as the backup.
Troutman, who missed his entire rookie season with a pectoral injury, didn't do enough to win a starting job, but he ends up making the team by the skin of his teeth.
Nick Hardwick will anchor the offensive line at center, but the release of former 2012 draft pick David Molk comes as a bit of a shock.
The Chargers opted to keep Rich Ohrnberger to back up Hardwick instead of Molk, who was thought to become a starter in San Diego some day. Seems like the team wanted to keep the more experienced player.
Cam Thomas will see a lot of snaps this season after serving as an alternate last season with Antonio Garay and Aubrayo Franklin.
Undrafted free agent Kwame Geathers will also rotate in with Thomas as part of John Pagano's defense. San Diego is thin at defensive tackle but Thomas is an exciting young player to watch in his fourth year.
Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes will have breakout seasons on defense for the Chargers after Shaun Phillips, Liuget and Reyes tallied the most sacks in 2012.
Super Bowl champ and fifth-year pro Jarius Wynn will round out San Diego's depth at defensive end.
|5||Melvin Ingram (PUP)|
The Chargers have veteran experience starting at outside linebacker in Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. Larry English and sixth-round draft choice Tourek Williams fill out the depth.
Keep an eye on the progress of Melvin Ingram, who was placed on the PUP list instead of season-ending IR. Could Ingram have a possible comeback midway through the season?
San Diego's inside linebackers are young, but exceptionally talented, beginning with defensive leader Donald Butler. Second-round draft pick Manti Te'o will be a player in the national spotlight.
D.J. Smith, a former starter in Green Bay, will be a sleeper pickup for the Chargers who could possibly see time on defense in addition to special teams.
Richard Marshall was a last-minute pickup during the preseason, but his seven years of experience are a welcomed addition to the secondary.
We already know Eric Weddle will start in the defensive backfield, but three players are still bidding for the spot next to him.
Marcus Gilchrist and Darrell Stuckey have seen the most playing time at strong safety during training camp, but Brandon Taylor and Jahleel Addae haven't been far behind.
Gilchrist has the most experience, having played in all 16 games in the secondary last season.
|Long Snapper||Mike Windt|
San Diego suffered quite a scare in its preseason finale against the San Francisco 49ers after Mike Scifres was wincing in pain following a blocked punt. Scifres was able to continue the game, but the protection has been so sloppy, you have to worry about his health.
Nick Novak was 4-of-5 in field-goal attempts made in the preseason. He'll continue to nail his opportunities in the post-Nate Kaeding era.