It's never fun, but someone has to cut down the San Diego Chargers roster to 53...and I will be that man!
Every year hundreds of players get cut right before the season starts, sending them packing to the practice squad or back home. By this afternoon (August 30th), teams must have their rosters down to 80 players and by September 3rd, teams must have their rosters cut down to 53.
Usually this occurs in intervals, but the NFL has allowed teams to keep more players on their roster for a greater amount of time due to the shortened offseason.
Here is a look at who is going to be cut and who is going to make the team at some key positions on the Chargers' roster.
Who's in: Mike Tolbert, Ryan Mathews, Jordan Todman, Jacob Hester
Who's out: Issac Odim, Curtis Brinkley, Frank Summers, Shawnbrey McNeal, Rodgers Dean
Analysis: It looks as though Todman is going to be the replacement for Darren Sproles.
Although Todman does not have the lateral quickness that Sproles has, he more than makes up for it with his hard-nose running in between the tackles. Sproles, though quick and agile, got ruined when he ran in between the tackles because of his weight alone.
I am going to miss the guy, but I am happy to have Todman as his replacement.
Fantasy analysis: Keep an eye on Todman and Tolbert. If (and when) Mathews sits out a couple games with sore legs, both these guys could rise to the occasion with big games.
Who's in: Philip Rivers, Billy Volek
Who's out: Scott Tolzien
Analysis: With a franchise quarterback like Philip Rivers, there is little need to keep three quarterbacks on the roster.
Although Scott Tolzien has shown flashes in camp and preseason games of being a viable backup, the Chargers have so many other needs in terms of depth on the roster (wide receiver, linebacker) that they can't afford to keep him.
I have a feeling that once he gets demoted to the Chargers' practice squad, a team is going to come along and pick him up. If we had known that he would be this good, I doubt the Chargers would have re-signed Volek.
Fantasy analysis: Philip Rivers is the man, but if he gets hurt, Billy Volek will become a top-10 option.
Who's in: Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown, Patrick Crayton, Seyi Ajirotutu, Richard Goodman
Who's out: Brian Walters, Kelly Washington, Laurent Robinson, Vidal Hazelton, Cameron Kenney, Travon Patterson
Analysis: Everyone seems to be on the Brian Walters fan-wagon.
Although he continues to make big plays on offense and had that 103-yard kickoff return, I just do not see any room for him on the Chargers roster.
Here is why:
1. Richard Goodman is possibly the fastest person on the roster and has made a couple of big open-field tackles on special teams. The Chargers are looking for a player like this (a special teams speed demon) over a slot receiver. They have Vincent Brown and Patrick Crayton for that.
2. Seyi Ajirotutu showed that he could be a viable option if injuries happen to occur. He showed up big in a couple games last year (specifically the Houston game) and proved that Rivers could rely on him if the time comes.
3. Brian Walters is a generous 6'0", and while he has great hands, he does not posses great lateral or straight-line quickness.
I actually see Laurent Robinson (the offseason pickup from the Rams) making the roster before Walters.
Fantasy analysis: Look for Malcom Floyd to have a big year.
Teams are going to key over the top with a safety on Vincent Jackson all game long. This will leave Floyd to have some big plays this year given his ability to make highlight reel catches and beat cornerbacks deep.
Also, don't forget Patrick Crayton, who is going to be the number one option underneath (except for Antonio Gates, of course).
Who's in: Antwan Barnes, Kevin Bentley, Donald Butler, Larry English, Darryl Gamble, Travis LaBoy, Jonas Mouton, Shaun Phillips, Takeo Spikes.
Who's out: Bront Bird, Stephen Cooper, Andrew Gachkar, Jeremy Leman, Kion Wilson
Analysis: Coming into camp, Darryl Gamble was an unknown, but after three strong preseason games (12 tackles, one sack, three tackles for losses, one fumble recovery, one touchdown) it looks as though he will make the team. Gamble will get playing time on special teams and will serve as an insurance policy for all the injury concerns that the Chargers have at outside linebacker.
Stephen Cooper's spot will be taken by Kevin Bentley (who was brought over from the Texans) after he inevitably goes on the IR with a torn bicep.
Fantasy analysis: Although the Chargers were No. 1 in total defense last year, their totals did not reflect on the fantasy sheet. This year, with added pass-rusher Travis LaBoy and a healthy Larry English, look for the Chargers to drive up those point totals with a lot more sacks and forced fumbles.
Who's in: Jeromey Clary, Kris Dielman, Brandyn Dombrowski, Tyronne Green, Nick Hardwick, Marcus McNeill, Scott Mruczkowski, Louis Vasquez.
Who's out: Colin Baxter, Hutch Eckerson, Michael Huey, Ryan Otterson, Steve Schilling, Bo Thran, Eric Young
Analysis: This is simple. The Chargers brought back the same eight offensive lineman for one reason and that reason wasn't so they could magically cut one.
The Chargers are the only team in the NFL to bring back the same exact offensive line. If that is not a good sign of things to come than I don't know what is.
Who's In: Luis Castillo, Jacques Cesaire, Antonio Garay, Carl Ihenacho, Corey Liuget, Vaughn Martin, Ogemdi Nwagbuo, Cam Thomas
Who's Out: Mike Blanc, Charlie Bryant, Damik Scafe
Analysis: Some more obvious picks. Charger fans should be really excited about Corey Liuget. Finally a first-round pick is performing in his rookie season.
Antoine Cason had a decent rookie campaign, but the type of explosiveness that Liuget is showing has only been rivaled by Antonio Garay this preseason.
Liuget is Legit!
If Luis Castillo can't shake his injury-prone seasons of late, look for Vaughn Martin to get a lot of playing time. The man has three sacks this preseason (tied for first in the NFL).
Fantasy analysis: They need to give these big men some love in fantasy football. Am I wrong?!