5 San Diego Chargers Veterans Who Could Be Camp Casualties
By the end of training camp, the San Diego Chargers will need to be at the 53-man limit, which will require cutting loose a handful of veterans.
Competition at Chargers Park has yielded plenty of position battles up and down the depth chart, and by the start of the regular season, the coaching staff will have weeded out the players they don't see fitting in with the roster moving forward.
The following veterans are facing some serious competition at their respective positions, and while letting them go may be hard, it's a necessary move in order to get under the 53-man limit and maintain balance within the roster.
Crezdon Butler is enduring his first training camp with San Diego after being signed two weeks into the 2013 season.
An injury to Shareece Wright allowed Butler to see some playing time in Week 3, when he was infamously beat by rookie wideout Justin Hunter for the game-winning touchdown. He did, however, redeem himself with a forced fumble the following week that sealed a victory against Dallas.
So far in camp, Butler has made his fair share of plays on the ball, but competition from from his younger teammates Steve Williams and Jason Verrett is threatening his spot on the final roster.
News of Larry English's release has hinted at the fact that Dwight Freeney is well on his way to being ready for the start of the regular season, which could force the Chargers to keep their number at outside linebacker to a maximum of five.
Thomas Keiser and Tourek Williams are on the bubble at that position, and both performed admirably with extended playing time last season. Williams, the younger of the two, may be the better option to develop long term but Keiser's 4.5 sacks last year won't be forgotten when the final verdict comes down.
Competition within the receiving corps has started heating up at camp. CFL standout Dontrelle Inman (Inman's TD grab) and seventh-round draft pick Tevin Reese (Reese's TD grab) have dazzled crowds at Chargers Park with some big catches.
For a veteran like Seyi Ajirotutu, that can't be good for his status on the roster. He may contribute more, given his strengths as a special teamer, but more options in the passing game could be difficult to pass up.
The one scenario that could end up saving Ajirotutu is if Vincent Brown's injury is worse than we've been told. Brown has missed five straight practices with an injured calf according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.
When Brandon Ghee originally signed with San Diego in March, his chances of filling out a roster spot in the secondary were fairly good given its struggles last season.
Since then, the Chargers have added enough depth at corner that Ghee may find himself as one of the odd ones out by the end of training camp. Brandon Flowers was signed in free agency, Jason Verrett was taken in the draft and Richard Marshall re-signed with the team.
Ghee's injury history could also be playing against him in regard to making the final roster. He's played just 23 games in three seasons and has yet to prove himself as a durable player in the NFL.
John Phillips suffered a second ACL tear to his right knee last season—he suffered the same injury in 2010 and missed the entire season—and was placed on IR late in the year.
The emergence of Ladarius Green could mean a difficult decision as to whether Phillips is worth keeping around for one more season. The Chargers also have alternative, younger, cheaper options for a blocking tight end in players such as Jacob Byrne and Ryan Otten.
If the plan for 2014 is to push for more two-tight end action with Green and Antonio Gates to stretch the field, then it might be in the team's best interest to keep just one tight end as a blocking specialist.