The Linebackers of San Diego: RFA's and the Rest of the Bunch
I have a perfect solution to our problems at safety. The Chargers need to convert to a 3-5 defense. For those of you not familiar with this formation, there is usually a backer called the Rover, who switches from linebacker to safety.
With all of the talent on our roster, this formation could work out perfectly. San Diego had an awesome linebacking corp led by Shawne Merriman. People know the popular starters, but the guys deeper on the depth chart are the ones that catch my eyes.
Darry Beckwith played and started in 11 games. He was named one of eight finalists for the 2008 Butkus Award, which goes to the top linebacker in college football. He was named second-team All-SEC by the Associated Press.
He missed two games (Auburn and Mississippi State) with an injury suffered in the second quarter against North Texas. He had eight tackles in back-to-back games against Troy and Ole Miss. Darry had six tackles, including one for a two-yards loss vs. Alabama.
Although he isn't the best pass-rusher on the team, he makes up for it with great instincts. Look for him to pass Wilhelm on the depth chart.
James Holt may come to you as a surprise, but I see him getting crucial playing time. Holt, who is an underrated athlete, recorded more sacks than our first round pick Larry English.
Holt has played with his hand on the ground and has lined up in the secondary. He is a great player. Watch this guy make the team and develop into a star linebacker.
Kevin Burnett has never started in an NFL game, but that hasn't stopped him from giving it his all on special teams. Burnett led the Cowboys in tackles twice.
With the likely trade of special teams standout Kassim Osgood, Burnett will be an awesome player to lead the unit. I don't see him starting, but he will make a stab at it.
I have yet to see him anchor a defense at middle linebacker; nevertheless, I'm rooting for this guy to be a stud.
Tucker was one of five nominees for the Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week award in Week 17. He recorded three tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and a touchdown in the Chargers' 30–17 win over the Oakland Raiders.
Tucker was awarded the Week 17 AFC defensive player of the week for his performance against the Oakland Raiders.
On August 25, 2008, it was announced that the Chargers re-signed Tucker for five years at a reported $14 million.
Why don't we give this guy more playing time? He's a beast.
Tim Dobbins was the surprise of 2008. With 57 tackles, Dobbins far surpassed expectations. He shouldn't have split time with WHINEhelm.
This guy is a great player when it comes to playing the ball. Just watch him play; you'll see what I mean. He is a possible starter next to Cooper.
English will be a fun guy to watch. Ron Rivera has already said that English, Merriman, and Phillips will all be on the field at the same time. Talk about a deadly trio.
If Merriman doesn't perform like he did before his injury, English will be an excellent replacement. I think that San Diego should try him out at DE, personally.
This guy makes me sick. His upside was supposed to be pass coverage; I'll tell you one thing, Philip Rivers would be a better in coverage.
When he did bad, he would wine. When he did good, he thought that he was a superstar. To me, an attitude like that isn't deserving of a starting job.
You may disagree with me, but he is the one of the two players on our roster I could live without. The other is Buster Davis.
Because of the steroid possession, Cooper's draft stock plummeted and he went undrafted. San Diego took a chance on him and signed Cooper as an undrafted free agent in 2003.
Many expected Cooper to make the team including his former teammate Chad Hayes who told Tom Shanahan, "That didn’t surprise anybody...He’s the most dedicated guy I’ve played with. Everybody in Maine saw Coop’s passion for the game."
His passion certainly followed him to the next level. Many consider him the leader of this defense, and I think he deserves that title. Long live the Coop!
Talk about a guy that never stops. Merriman is a "love-hate" kind of guy. If you have him on your team, you'll love him. If you don't have him on your team, then, you guessed it, you'll hate him.
If he picks up where he left off, he will be in the Hall of Fame, no doubt. If you've ever wanted to know what it feels like to be hit by a bus, give this guy a call.
A star at Orlando's Evans High School, Siler chose the Florida Gators over the Tennessee Volunteers and the Maryland Terrapins. His impact came early, as he started six games as a freshman for Florida.
His play during his junior season in 2006 helped the Gators win the Southeastern Conference and National Championship during the 2006 season. He earned All-SEC honors from the AP. Siler is known for his great work-ethic, energy, and leadership abilities on the field.
Siler was drafted by the Chargers 240th overall in the last round of the 2007 NFL Draft. However most "draft gurus" suspected him to be a third or fourth round prospect.
Brandon Siler earned a spot on the Chargers roster, and in 2007, he contributed highly on special teams, gathering the second highest amount of special teams tackles.
In 2008 he continued his great special teams play and received more time on defense. This time was magnified with the recent four game suspension of Stephen Cooper.
Phillips is a great linebacker. Don't get me wrong, but he isn't a great linebacker on his own. He gets his share of sacks due to everyone keying in on Merriman.
Just look at last years stats without Merriman. The numbers say it all. Nevertheless, he is a pretty legit linebacker.