Chargers Cesaire and Bingham Filling the Void at Defensive End

William RisserCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2009

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 25: Jacques Cesaire #74 of the San Diego Chargers is congratulated by teammates Shaun Phillips #95 and Shawne Merriman #56 after sacking Quarterback Kyle Boller #7 of the Baltimore Ravens en route to the Chargers's 32-14 win during their NFL Game at Qualcomm Stadium November 25, 2007 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

When Igor Olshansky signed a four-year, $18-million deal with the Dallas Cowboys this March it opened a highly prized starting spot on the Chargers' defensive line. But those competing to line-up with Jamal Williams and Luis Castillo in San Diego know it will be done by committee.

A free agent wasn't signed to fill the spot. The promotion was earned from within.

Now, Jacques Cesaire has been tapped to be the starter after six years in the league. The 6'2" 295-pounder out of Southern Connecticut State, who had 21 tackles and two sacks last season, knows little will change despite the title of starter.

Both he and Ryon Bingham have been rotating in for each other with the Chargers their entire NFL career. Things aren't going to be all that different this year and that is fine with them.

The right defensive end position has been a three headed monster with the Chargers for years now. All three players had similar production and kept everyone fresh. A successful formula that looks to continue this season.

Cesaire, who will be 29 this month, has played in every game over the past five seasons, amassing 10 sacks and 145 tackles in that time. Maybe not as flashy as some of the other Chargers defenders, but a sound defender who knows the game.

Bingham, 28, has also proved durable having played in every game for the Bolts over the past three seasons. He finished with 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks in '08, numbers that should rise with increased playing time.

The five year pro out of Nebraska will be the first off the sidelines when Cesaire or Castillo need a break. And at 6'3", 303 lbs., the former champion wrestler is a formidable physical presence.

Both players are good against the run and pass, a fact that highlights their versatility. The ability of the Chargers to maintain a high level of play no matter who is in on any particular play is a luxury not many teams have.

The Chargers sport even more impressive depth at end with the addition of 6'4", 327 lb., rookie Vaughn Martin. The fourth round draft choice out of Western Ontario will be able to learn a ton from the veterans surrounding him.

Martin, 22, won't see a lot of time, particularly early on, but his ability to play nose guard might get him some extra snaps spelling the 33 year old Williams in the middle. 

Cesaire has been out of practice for the past few days with a calf injury giving extra reps to Bingham and Martin. The extra work is paying off too. Martin reportedly showed improved footwork and technique in this past weekend's Fan Fest at Quallcomm Stadium. 

I plan to head over to the "Q" on Wednesday night to see the open practice being held. And finally, football is back in San Diego this Saturday when the Seahawks come to town for the opening pre-season game.