San Diego Chargers: 3 Players Who Deserve More Playing Time

Alex Ramirez@@alexramirez127Correspondent IOctober 28, 2011

San Diego Chargers: 3 Players Who Deserve More Playing Time

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    The San Diego Chargers are loaded with talent, don't you agree? A.J. Smith can draft the talent, but for some strange reason, he doesn't, at least lately, give that talent playing time. The new players need to get experience to become better. Players can't just get better from just watching; they need to play.

    With the recent struggles in San Diego, is it now time to switch things up? Well, if so, here are three players who deserve to start.

Donald Butler

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    Many of you may not know this guy. If you watched last week's game, you do. For Donald Butler, this year is really his rookie season, after being injured all of last year. He's playing inside linebacker alongside veteran Takeo Spikes. Learning beside him has made Butler a smart player.

    In the game last week against the Jets, Donald Butler showed everybody his talent. He started the game just right for the Chargers, after stripping the ball from tight end Dustin Keller and returning it for a touchdown. He didn't stop there; he ended the game with nine total tackles.

    Butler is a defensive playmaker, and he's a smart player. He's the type of guy you want on your defense. He's been getting the opportunity as of late, and he's definitely producing. Norv Turner should keep running with Butler on defense.

Marcus Gilchrist

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    This one is a complete given. Marcus Gilchrist has done everything he's been asked to do and more. Having him as a third cornerback shows the Chargers' depth at the position. It reminds me of the year when Antonio Cromartie broke out, and the Chargers had Antoine Cason playing at a high level at the third cornerback spot as well.

    This season has been tough for San Diego's secondary. They've played against wide receivers Wes Welker, Dwyane Bowe, Plaxico Burress, Brandon Marshall and Brandon Lloyd. The Chargers have had their hands full. Cornerback Quentin Jammer has been the most consistent player on the defense in the last five years and is still playing at a career-high level.

    When Jammer got injured this year, and Gilchrist was asked to step up and fill his position, he did exactly that. He made the right plays every time the ball was thrown his way. Gilchrist was called for one pass interference call, but the play could've gone either way.

    Many have speculated that San Diego needs to move Quentin Jammer to safety and Gilchrist to cornerback. Others have just said that Gilchrist should start over Cason.

    Whatever the case is, Marcus Gilchrist should get more playing time at cornerback.

Ryan Mathews

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    Were you surprised about this one? I wouldn't be.

    Just because you're noted as the "starter," doesn't mean that you get the most playing time. Mathews has shown his elusive talent and is having a completely better year than his rookie season. He is 10th in the league in rushing yards. That includes him having his bye week and a couple of injuries.

    When the Chargers get into their oppenent's territory, Ryan Mathews is being substituted for Mike Tolbert. I can see Tolbert playing on the goal line, but from the twenty, really? Tolbert is prone to fumbling the football, and Ryan Mathews has proven he can fight for extra yards. Every big run Mike Tolbert has, Ryan Mathews can do as well. He's just not getting the opportunity to do so.

    Let's think back. When the Chargers had LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner, they weren't splitting the carries 50/50. Why should Ryan Mathews have to do that now? I'm not saying that he's as good as LT, but he has the potential to become like him, if only he's given the chance.

    This is pretty much an overstated subject. Analysts, Chargers fans and fantasy owners of Mathews will agree that he should be the every down back, and Norv Turner should allow him to develop in San Diego.