San Diego Chargers Roster 2012: Latest News, Cuts, Preseason Predictions

Marcelo Villa@@_marcelovillaFeatured Columnist IIIAugust 3, 2012

San Diego Chargers Roster 2012: Latest News, Cuts, Preseason Predictions

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    After the second wave of cuts has passed, the San Diego Chargers' roster has begun to take shape for the start of the regular season. As always, it was hard to see some players go, but business is business.

    Now that the Chargers are technically down to 53 players, we can start stacking up against the competition and figure how the Bolts will fare in 2012. So far, everything has looked good dur9ing the preseason with exception to the two major injuries suffered by Ryan Mathews and  Vincent Brown. But don't lose faith yet Charger fans.

    Keep track of all your San Diego Chargers news up until the start of the regular season right here.

Aug. 31 Cuts

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    DE Jacques Cesaire

    If there was one cut that fans hated to see, it had to be that of nine-year veteran Jacques Cesaire. Cesaire began his career as a Charger back in 2003 as an undrafted free agent, and he's been the veteran presence on San Diego's D-line ever since.

    Sadly, Cesaire was one of the very last cuts made, much to the disappointment of his teammates. But, like any veteran, Cesaire accepted the news like a true gentleman of the game.

    It is what it is. It's a business. It's always a business first. All the vets told me that when I first came here. Whatever happens, happens. That's all I can say now." (via Michael Gelhken of U-T San Diego)

    Cesaire was likely waived because of his age and the impending youth movement taking place on defense, but this crafty veteran could still make plays from the edge. No word yet on whether he'll land elsewhere, but his experience certainly does him justice as a worthy addition to any defense.

    RB Jacob Hester

    Yet another tough cut by San Diego on Friday. Jacob Hester began his career with the Chargers back in 2008 as a third-round draft pick, filling the role of backup RB, fullback and special teamer. Last season, Hester was a positive influence in the locker room and a special teams captain.

    Hester's dismissal is somewhat of a head-scratcher considering the loss of Ryan Mathews, but the addition of veterans like Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle, who are true running backs, likely caused him to be expendable.

    Though he was considered family and one of the most well-liked members of the organization, Hester finds himself a free agent. The buzz on a new home for Hester hasn't kicked up yet, but Boston Globe staff writer Greg A. Bedard pointed out that the New England Patriots could benefit from the services of a veteran fullback like Hester.

    K Nick Novak

    Nick Novak could have easily taken the kicking job from Nate Kaeding, but spotty accuracy in the preseason did him in. Kaeding looked good after coming back from a season-ending ACL injury, and it's apparent that the Chargers felt he was the better choice over Novak.

    Novak proved last season that he can help a team on short notice, so I'd expect him to be sitting near the phone this season in case someone goes down.

    OT Anthony Davis and OT Mario Henderson

    Veteran offensive linemen Mario Henderson and Anthony Davis figured to have a shot at making the roster with news of Jared Gaither's back problems, but the Chargers thought otherwise. Both cuts leave San Diego with a lone backup in rookie Michael Harris.

    QB Jarrett Lee

    No room for three quarterbacks on this roster. The rookie out of LSU looked so-so in the preseason, but Charlie Whitehurst stole the show, earning himself the right to be Philip Rivers' backup.

    RB Edwin Baker

    Even though Edwin Baker was the last of San Diego's picks in this year's drafts, we knew it wouldn't guarantee him a spot on the roster behind the bevvy of backs on the depth chart. Baker led the team in rushing during the preseason but judging from how the entire running backs unit performed, that really isn't saying much.

    C Colin Baxter

    Colin Baxter spent most of training camp battling rookie David Molk for the reserve center job, and apparently we know who won that battle. Molk came into San Diego with quite the college reputation at Michigan, and he must have proved that to get the nod over Baxter.

    LB Bront Bird

    Bront Bird, an avid performer on special teams, had a great preseason on defense, but he doesn't fit the bill of a guy who could come in and fill a hole at linebacker at any given moment, especially with the bigger names ahead of him.

    DT Charlie Bryant, DE Logan Harrell and DE Damik Scafe

    More casualties on the D-line similar to Cesaire. Talented guys like Antonio Garay, Kendall Reyes and Cam Thomas made the decision to release Charlie Bryant, Logan Harrell and Damik Scafe an easy one.

    OLB Ricky Elmore and OLB Darryl Gamble

    Similar situation to what happened to Bird. Both Ricky Elmore and Darryl Gamble are good special team guys, but expendable when it comes to every down linebackers.

    CB Gregory Gatson, CB Arthur Hobbs and CB De'Andre Presley

    Something tells me that the Chargers are pretty happy with Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright as their reserves, especially after the game Wright had against the Dallas Cowboys in the preseason. Gregory Gatson and Arthur Hobbs just couldn't compete with that.

    P Robert Malone

    No real big surprise here. Robert Malone had no chance of beating one of the best punters in the league.

    OG Stephen Schilling

    The Chargers are keeping rookie OG Johnnie Troutman some way or another so they had to make room for him by releasing Stephen Schilling.

    TE Kory Sperry

    Kory Sperry just barely missed the cut on offense. The margin between him and the rest of the reserve tight ends was razor thin. For now, it looks like the Chargers will keep four tight ends.

    WR Mike Willie

    Very close cut here at wide receiver. Willie had glimpses of potential here and there in camp and during the preseason, but the Chargers seem to know who they want at wideout.

Aug. 28 Cuts

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    WR Roscoe Parrish

    Veteran receiver Roscoe Parrish was in a tight position battle with Micheal Spurlock. Both men have loads of experience in the return game, but a decision would eventually come down to just one of them making the team.

    Parrish produced just three punt returns and made two receptions during the preseason. Spurlock clearly outplayed his competitor, catching eight balls for 116 yards while returning three punts and two kickoffs.

    Don't feel bad for Parrish though. The eight-year veteran has reportedly reached a deal with the rival Oakland Raiders.

    WR Jason Barnes

    Rookie wideout Jason Barnes was a longshot to make the team considering his mediocre career at South Carolina. He had no receptions for the preseason, making him an easy consideration for the first cut.

    So far, there is no news regarding Barnes possibly getting an opportunity with another team.

    WR Phillip Payne

    Like Barnes, former UNLV receiver Phillip Payne rarely played and sat toward the bottom of an overcrowded depth chart. Payne caught two passes for 20 yards.

    Payne's name has not been mentioned with other teams as well.

    WR Taylor Embree

    Taylor Embree was a standout receiver at UCLA, but it wasn't enough to win a roster spot with San Diego. Embree caught three passes for 74 yards.

    Embree is a talented receiver, and while his name hasn't been linked to any teams yet, I wouldn't be surprised if he could land a spot on a practice squad somewhere.

    DT Eddie Brown

    Former Texas A&M defensive lineman Eddie Brown recorded no stats during San Diego's preseason thus far. His chances of making the team were slim with all the depth on the defensive line.

    Brown has received no offers to play elsewhere so far.

    LS Nick Guess

    No surprise here. Nick Guess was competing for a job that already belongs to three-year man Mike Windt.

    Not a big market for long snappers in the NFL, so Guess will likely get no takers this season.

    RB Michael Hayes

    Rookie running back Michael Hayes was turning heads in training camp, but that fad died in the preseason. Hayes had six carries for ten yards. Fellow rookie Edwin Baker got most of the workload.

    No news on Hayes getting another shot with someone else, but this guy has skills.

    TE Brad Taylor

    Brad Taylor had no receptions during the preseason, and the target was on his back with such a close battle between the tight ends unit. The Chargers already have their hands full deciding between Randy McMichael and Dante Rosario.

    No word on Taylor's future with another team.

    OT Phil Trautwein

    Phil Trautwein has been bouncing around the NFL since 2009, but he hasn't been able to secure a long term spot anywhere. The offensive line may be a little banged up, but there was enough depth to let Trautwein go.

    Trautwein could find a home on a practice squad because of his experience, but there's no guarantee on that.

    DT Garret Brown

    Garret Brown made headlines by testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, and his four-game suspension isn't something the Chargers were interested in waiting out.

    Brown and the Chargers reached an injury settlement.

    OT Michael Toudouze

    Michael Toudouze may be a veteran, but that didn't guarantee him a home with the Chargers. A late signing, Toudouze rarely got playing time, and became expendable with enough depth on the offensive line.

    Toudouze also reached an injury settlement with the Chargers.

Latest Roster Moves

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    08/31/12: The San Diego Chargers released DE Jacques Cesaire, RB Jacob Hester, OT Mario Henderson, OT Anthony Davis.

    08/31/12: The San Diego Chargers waived RB Edwin Baker, WR Mike Willie, QB Jarrett Lee, TE Kory Sperry, OG Stephen Schilling, OC Colin Baxter, DT Charlie Bryant, DE Damik Scafe, DE Logan Harrell, LB Bront Bird, LB Ricky Elmore, LB Darryl Gamble, CB Arthur Hobbs, CB Gregory Gatson, CB De'Andre Presley, P Robert Malone.

    08/31/12: The San Diego Chargers placed DB Sean Cattouse on Injured Reserve.

    08/27/12: The San Diego Chargers placed OG Johnnie Troutman on the Non-Football Injury list and OT Brandyn Dombrowski on the Non-Football Illness list.

    08/27/12: The San Diego Chargers reached injury settlements with DT Garret Brown and OT Michael Toudouze.

    08/27/12: The San Diego Chargers waived WR Roscoe Parrish, WR Jason Barnes, WR Phillip Payne, WR Taylor Embree, DT Eddie Brown, LS Nick Guess, RB Michael Hayes, TE Brad Taylor and OT Phil Trautwein.

    08/21/2012: The San Diego Chargers waived OT Cordell Bell.

    08/11/12: The San Diego Chargers released QB Kevin O'Connell. O'Connell did not play in San Diego's preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers.

    08/08/12: The San Diego Chargers waived TE Patrick Doyle and OT John Cullen. Both players were released to make room for the signings of OT Anthony Davis and OT Michael Toudouze.

    08/08/12: The San Diego Chargers signed OT Anthony Davis and OT Michael Toudouze to one-year contracts.

    7/30/2012: The San Diego Chargers signed QB Kevin O'Connell to a one-year contract. O'Connell was signed to replace recently retired QB Kyle Boller.

    7/28/2012: QB Kyle Boller has retired. Boller retired one day after signing with the San Diego Chargers.

    7/27/2012: The San Diego Chargers agreed to terms on a one-year contract with QB Kyle Boller. Boller was signed to compensate for the temporary loss of QB Charlie Whitehurst, who will miss two to three weeks with a sore left MCL.

    7/27/2012: The San Diego Chargers have waived ILB Josh Linam. Linam was released to make room for the signing of QB Kyle Boller.

Full Team Roster and Projected Depth Chart

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    QB (2): Philip Rivers, Charlie Whitehurst

    RB (4): Ryan Mathews, Jackie Battle, Ronnie Brown, Curtis Brinkley

    FB (1): Le'Ron McClain

    WR (5): Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown, Richard Goodman

    TE (4): Antonio Gates, Randy McMichael, Dante Rosario, Ladarius Green

    OT (4): Jared Gaither, Jeromey Clary, Brandyn Dombrowski*, Mike Harris

    OG (4): Louis Vasquez, Tyronne Green, Rex Hadnot, Johnnie Troutman*

    C (2): Nick Hardwick, David Molk

    DT (2): Aubrayo Franklin, Cam Thomas

    DE (4): Antonio Garay, Corey Liuget, Vaughn Martin, Kendall Reyes

    OLB (5): Shaun Phillips, Jarret Johnson, Antwan Barnes, Melvin Ingram, Larry English

    ILB (5): Takeo Spikes, Donald Butler, Demorrio Williams, Jonas Mouton, Andrew Gachkar

    CB (4): Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason, Marcus Gilchrist, Shareece Wright

    FS (2): Eric Weddle, Darrell Stuckey

    SS (2): Atari Bigby, Brandon Taylor

    P (1): Mike Scifres

    K (1): Nate Kaeding

    LS (1): Mike Windt

    * Indicates PUP List *

Last 5 In

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    TE Randy McMichael has two younger players gunning for his job at the moment. Aside from his above-average blocking, McMichael presents the Chargers with little to no offense.

    RB Ronnie Brown may seem like a big signing at first glance, but the former 2005 first-round draft pick has yet to repeat the success he had with the Miami Dolphins. RB is a deep position for the Chargers this season, and Brown has a lot to prove after coming off the worst season of his career.

    RB Jackie Battle is a late addition to San Diego's RB depth, and while his size and veteran experience make him an ideal fit, he still has to outshine the younger RBs vying for a roster spot.

    WR Michael Spurlock already beat out Roscoe Parrish, his biggest competition, past the first wave of cuts. Because of his return skills and play in the preseason, he should barely make the team.

    OLB Larry English hasn't come close to living up to his expectations as a former first-round draft pick, and time is running out for him to prove his worth to the Chargers. This season may be a fresh start for English, but there is little room for error.

Last 5 Out

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    DE Jacques Cesaire was released on 08/31/12. Cesaire, a nine-year veteran and longtime Charger, was released in the final wave of cuts, likely because of the youth movement on defense.

    RB Jacob Hester was released on 08/31/12. Hester, a third-round pick of the Chargers in 2008, was released in the final wave of cuts because of an overcrowded running backs unit.

    WR Roscoe Parrish was waived on 08/27/12. Parrish, an eight-year vteran, was set to make a comeback with the Chargers after suffering injury plagued seasons in Buffalo, but he was unable to win a roster spot at wide receiver or as a return specialist.

    K Nick Novak was released on 08/31/12. Novak came on in relief for Nate Kaeding last season, providing some above average accuracy in 2011, but the return of a healthy Kaeding this season put his chances of making the team to an end.

    RB Edwin Baker was waived on 08/31/12. The rookie out of Michigan State was unable to collect a roster spot after being drafted by San Diego last April in the seventh round. A wealth of veteran additions at running back didn't help his cause.


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    QBs on roster: Philip Rivers, Charlie Whitehurst

    Projected starter: Philip Rivers

    Offseason additions: Charlie Whitehurst, Jarrett Lee, Kyle Boller, Kevin O'Connell

    Roster cuts: Kyle Boller (retired), Kevin O'Connell, Jarrett Lee

    Projected final roster: Philip Rivers, Charlie Whitehurst

    Philip Rivers had a rocky preseason, to say the least, but I think it's safe to say that four interceptions isn't anything to worry about. Right?

    Charlie Whitehurst, on the other hand, looked like a star, throwing for two touchdowns and 267 yards. No, there isn't reason to believe that there's a quarterback controversy going on, but fans can rest assured that the Chargers have a solid backup in Whitehurst just in case.

Running Backs

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    RBs on roster: Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle, Curtis Brinkley, Le'Ron McClain

    Projected Starters: Ryan Mathews, Le'Ron McClain

    Offseason additions: Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle, Michael Hayes, Edwin Baker, Le'Ron McClain, Marah Mohamed

    Roster cuts: Marah Mohamed, Michael Hayes, Edwin Baker, Jacob Hester

    Projected final roster: Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle, Curtis Brinkley, Le'Ron McClain

    Now that we're over the news of Ryan Mathews' broken clavicle and his impending return sometime near the beginning of the regular season, it's time to look toward the present at what we have right now. No, the running backs unit didn't play as well as we had hoped during the preseason in Mathews' absence, but at least everyone is healthy and ready to go for Week 1.

    The release of Jacob Hester came as a bit of a surprise considering his leadership in the locker room, but maybe Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle can fill that void. They're veterans too you know.

Wide Receivers

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    WRs on roster: Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown, Richard Goodman, Micheal Spurlock

    Projected starters: Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem

    Offseason additions: Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Roscoe Parrish, Micheal Spurlock, Taylor Embree, Jason Barnes, Phillip Payne, Mike Willie, Hubert Anyiam, Paul Cox

    Roster cuts: Hubert Anyiam, Paul Cox, Roscoe Parrish, Taylor Embree, Jason Barnes, Phillip Payne, Mike Willie

    Projected final roster: Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown, Richard Goodman

    The wide receivers unit took a huge first cut. Four players were let go to cut down to the 75-man limit. Most notable was Roscoe Parrish.

    Parrish, a veteran, was coming off a season ending injury last year, and he was extremely motivated to come back strong. Unfortunately, he was let go in the first wave of cuts but landed in Oakland with the Raiders.

    After the second wave of cuts, the Chargers were forced to let go of rookie Mike Willie, who made strides here and there during the preseason. Now that we've got a better understanding of who will make the cut at wide receiver, the most important thing right now is to keep these guys healthy. Vincent Brown is already out with a broken ankle, and the Chargers can't afford to lose anyone else.

Tight Ends

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    TEs on roster: Antonio Gates, Randy McMichael, Dante Rosario, Ladarius Green

    Projected Starters: Antonio Gates, Randy McMichael

    Offseason additions: Dante Rosario, Ladarius Green, Patrick Doyle, Brad Taylor

    Roster cuts: Patrick Doyle, Brad Taylor, Kory Sperry

    Projected final roster: Antonio Gates, Randy McMichael, Ladarius Green

    First of all, the good news is that Antonio Gates has been looking like his former self in training thus far. As teammate Eric Weddle put it, "He’s going to be the best tight end in the NFL this year" (via ESPN's Bill Williamson).

    The only question is, who will play alternate to Gates in San Diego's offense?

    Randy McMichael has done a fairly adequate job in year's past getting Gates his rest, and he's done especially well creating holes in the run game. But don't expect very much from the 33-year-old in the passing game.

    The Chargers drafted Ladarius Green in the fourth round out of Louisiana-Lafayette to begin the grooming process for Gates' successor, but Green's progress will take some time.

    Dante Rosario managed to hold off Kory Sperry after the second wave of cuts, so maybe the Chargers will keep four tight ends on the roster.

Offensive Tackles

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    OTs on roster: Jared Gaither, Jeromey Clary, Brandyn Dombrowski, Michael Harris

    Projected starters: Jared Gaither, Jeromey Clary

    Offseason additions: Jared Gaither (re-signed), Brandyn Dombrowski (re-signed), Mario Henderson, Cordell Bell, Charles Burton, Michael Harris, Phil Trautwein, Taylor Dever, John Cullen, Anthony Davis, Michael Toudouze

    Roster cuts: Charles Burton, Taylor Dever, Kris Dielman (retired), Tra Thomas (retired), John Cullen, Cordell Bell, Phil Trautwein, Anthony Davis, Michael Toudouze, Anthony Davis, Mario Henderson

    Projected final roster: Jared Gaither, Jeromey Clary, Brandyn Dombrowski

    Jared Gaither's back injury is definitely a huge concern, and to make matters worse, San Diego cut two more experienced offensive tackles—Mario Henderson and Anthony Davis. That leaves rookie Michael Harris as the only reserve tackle that's healthy enough to provide backup. We're going to have to wait on Brandyn Dombrowski, who was placed on the Non-Football Illness list.

    Hopefully, Gaither can be ready for the season-opener like he says he'll be and the line can stay healthy. Philip Rivers can't afford to lose protection up front.

Offensive Guards

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    OGs on roster: Louis Vasquez, Tyronne Green, Rex Hadnot, Johnnie Troutman

    Projected starters: Louis Vasquez, Tyronne Green

    Offseason additions: Rex Hadnot, Johnnie Troutman

    Roster cuts: Stephen Schilling

    Projected final roster: Louis Vasquez, Tyronne Green, Rex Hadnot, Johnnie Troutman

    Kris Dielman's retirement left a gaping hole at left guard, but the Chargers feel as though Tyronne Green is more than able to fill in. Less than a week into training camp, U-T San Diego's Kevin Acee reported that coach Norv Turner made the decision to give Green the starting job over veteran Rex Hadnot.

    If Green does struggle early, then Hadnot becomes readily available to step in and produce. As for fifth-round draft choice Johnnie Troutman, the Chargers feel as though they got a steal in the Penn State product (via U-T San Diego):

    "Come October, we're going to get a guy who probably should have been drafted a lot earlier if he'd been healthy," said offensive coordinator Hal Hunter. 

    Troutman will miss all of camp and the first six games of the regular season due to a pectoral injury, but he could factor into the mix at left guard if Green fails.


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    OCs on roster: Nick Hardwick, David Molk

    Projected starter: Nick Hardwick

    Offseason additions: David Molk

    Roster cuts: Colin Baxter

    Projected final roster: Nick Hardwick, David Molk

    That's it folks. David Molk is your new reserve center for the Chargers. Molk and Colin Baxter competed intensely for the role of Nick Hardwick's backup this preseason, and the release of Baxter made the decision official on Friday.

    Molk will learn a lot from watching one of the best in the game do his thing, and that experience will prepare the young rookie for the day he takes the reins when Hardwick finally does retire.

Defensive Ends

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    DEs on the roster: Corey Liuget, Vaughn Martin, Kendall Reyes

    Projected starters: Corey Liuget, Vaughn Martin

    Offseason additions: Luis Castillo, Kendall Reyes, Logan Harrell

    Roster cuts: Luis Castillo, Jacques Cesaire, Logan Harrell, Damik Scafe

    Projected final roster: Corey Liuget, Vaughn Martin, Kendall Reyes

    What a shock it was to see that veteran D-lineman Jacques Cesaire was released on Friday. The guy spent nine years in San Diego after signing as an undrafted free agent out of a small school on the east coast. For nine years he played his heart out on San Diego's line, doing whatever he could to make a contribution on defense. He may not have been the greatest player ever, but true fans will sorely miss the longtime Charger.

    Shifting to 2012, I guess we'll have to wait and see if youth was the way to go on the D-line. All these guys are very young, but they have all the skills to make things happen on defense.

Defensive Tackles

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    DTs on roster: Antonio Garay, Cam Thomas, Aubrayo Franklin

    Projected starter: Antonio Garay

    Offseason additions: Aubrayo Franklin,Eddie Brown, Garrett Brown

    Roster cuts: Eddie Brown, Garrett Brown, Charlie Bryant

    Projected final roster: Antonio Garay, Cam Thomas, Aubrayo Franklin

    The Chargers were very fortunate to re-sign Antonio Garay in the offseason because his presence would have been sorely missed if he had gone elsewhere. The recent signing of Aubrayo Franklin adds some much-needed depth to go along with Cam Thomas. 

    North County Times writer Scott Bair reported that Garay will be utilized as a floater on the defensive line, and he believes that the addition of Franklin forces veteran defensive end Jacques Cesaire on the roster bubble. Bair definitely called it, as Cesaire was released on Friday.

    Shifting Garay along the line is a nice change from past seasons, and it should prove successful in San Diego's 3-4 defense. Expect to see Franklin and Thomas get a lot of work in despite being backups.

Outside Linebackers

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    OLBs on roster: Antwan Barnes, Larry English, Melvin Ingram, Jarret Johnson, Shaun Phillips

    Projected starters: Shaun Phillips, Jarret Johnson

    Offseason additions: Melvin Ingram, Jarret Johnson

    Roster cuts: Ricky Elmore

    Projected final roster: Antwan Barnes, Larry English, Ricky Elmore, Melvin Ingram, Jarret Johnson, Shaun Phillips

    OLB is sure to be one of the defense's most improved areas this season. The additions of former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson and first-round draft choice Melvin Ingram are instant upgrades.

    With so many talented players suited for different situations, defensive coordinator John Pagano will have his hands full shuffling San Diego's OLBs. Scott Bair of the North County Times highlighted the high expectations for the linebackers and what each player will contribute.

    Right off the back, Johnson provides the Chargers with a stout defender in the run game as well as veteran leadership. Ingram, one of the draft's top pass-rushers, should fit well coming off the edge on third down, and don't forget about Antwan Barnes, who led the team in sacks last season with 11.

    As for Larry English, we'll have to wait and see. The 26-year-old is finally healthy, but the North County Times is reporting that the Chargers may be losing their patience with English.

Middle Linebackers

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    MLBs on roster: Donald Butler, Andrew Gachkar, Jonas Mouton, Takeo Spikes, Demorrio Williams

    Projected starters: Takeo Spikes, Donald Butler

    Offseason additions:Josh Linam, Demorrio Williams

    Roster cuts: Josh Linam, Bront Bird, Darryl Gamble

    Projected final roster: Takeo Spikes, Donald Butler, Demorrio Williams, Jonas Mouton

    Takeo Spikes and Donald Butler led the team in total tackles last season, combining for a total of 202 tackles. This same duo will fill out the heart of San Diego's front seven in 2012, and this time they have help on the outside.

    Even at the ripe age of 35, Spikes is still an effective run-stuffer and playmaker on defense. In fact, his last two seasons have been some of the best of his career. Combine that with Butler's quick development and you have a solid core at MLB.

    Just in case, San Diego added another veteran in Demorrio Williams, who should fare well in the run defense as well.


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    CBs on roster: Antoine Cason, Quentin Jammer, Shareece Wright, Marcus Gilchrist

    Projected starters: Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason

    Offseason additions: Gregory Gatson, Arthur Hobbs, De'Andre Presley

    Roster cuts: Dante Hughes, Gregory Gatson, Arthur Hobbs, De'Andre Presley

    Projected final roster: Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason, Marcus Gilchrist, Shareece Wright

    San Diego's secondary isn't known for having shutdown corners, and this season will be no different. Quentin Jammer had zero interceptions and just eight pass deflections in 2011, while his counterpart, Antoine Cason, finished with two interceptions and 17 pass deflections.

    Cason has come on strong the past two seasons, but his numbers aren't among the league's elite. Jammer, in his 11th season, hasn't done much in disrupting the passing game of opposing offenses, but he does contribute with his tackling ability.

    Shareece Wright has had a surprisingly good preseason, making a case for him to take the job of nickel from Marcus Gilchrist.


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    Safeties on roster: Atari Bigby, Sean Cattouse, Corey Lynch, Darrell Stuckey, Brandon Taylor, Eric Weddle

    Projected starters: Eric Weddle, Atari Bigby

    Offseason additions: Atari Bigby, Corey Lynch, Brandon Taylor

    Roster cuts: N/A

    Projected final roster: Eric Weddle, Atari Bigby, Brandon Taylor, Darrell Stuckey

    The most spotlighted position battle in training camp, by far, is at strong safety between Atari Bigby and Brandon Taylor. Bigby, most noted for his six seasons with the Green Bay Packers, has the advantage going into camp with his seven years of experience, but a surging Taylor won't go down easy.

    GM A.J. Smith just had to have Taylor, so much so that he traded up five spots in the third round of this year's draft just to get him. If Taylor doesn't start this season, he'll definitely be a favorite for the starting job next season.

    Eric Weddle is now the NFL's highest-paid safety, and he earned every penny last season. Hopefully, he makes good on his new deal in 2012 with yet another impressive year.

Kicking Specialist

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    Kicking specialists on roster: Nate Kaeding, Mike Scifres

    Projected starters: Nate Kaeding, Mike Scifres

    Offseason additions: Robert Malone

    Roster cuts: Nick Novak, Robert Malone

    Projected final roster: Nate Kaeding, Mike Scifres

    Nick Novak is no more in San Diego. He was released on Friday in the second wave of cuts, making Nate Kaeding the Chargers' kicker in 2012. We all kind of had an idea that Kaeding would keep his job, but it was close there for a while.

    Trust me though, if Kaeding suffers another freak accident and gets injured again this season, the Chargers will know exactly who to call for help.

Return Specialist

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    Returners on roster: Richard Goodman, Marcus Gilchrist, Eddie Royal, Micheal Spurlock

    Projected starters: Richard Goodman, Eddie Royal

    Offseason additions: Mike Willie, Roscoe Parrish, Eddie Royal, Micheal Spurlock

    Roster cuts: Roscoe Parrish, Mike Willie

    Projected final roster: Richard Goodman, Eddie Royal

    There has been much speculation as to who will be fielding kicks and punts for the Chargers in 2012, and different people will give you different opinions.

    Micheal Spurlock and Roscoe Parrish were brought in through free agency solely on the basis of their return skills, and Richard Goodman handled the return duties last season for San Diego.

    Keeping one guy to strictly return kicks and punts wouldn't be an effective utilization of a roster slot, so expect to see some receivers pull double-duty. Eddie Royal will be featured on offense in the slot next season, but he also has experience returning punts.

    The Chargers haven't had a real threat in the return game since Darren Sproles dawned the lightning bolts, thus explaining the need for a specialist at the position.


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