San Diego Chargers Veterans Who Have Been Put on Notice This Offseason
With the draft over, some veterans may find that competition has entered the fray at their respective positions. This holds true for five experienced pros on the San Diego Chargers.
Bringing in competition is good for teams, as it pushes players to perform at their best under pressure. For those who can't handle the pressure, however, it can lead to decreased playing time or possibly a lost roster spot.
Here are five veterans who have been put on notice.
Prior to the draft, the Chargers' brass made an attempt to downplay their need for a running back, telling the media they could win with the group of guys already they already had, per Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. But when it came down to it, they didn't hesitate to take a running back in the first round, even trading up two spots to take Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon.
With Gordon likely heading up the depth chart as San Diego's lead back next season, Brown's playing time is sure to decrease from where it was a year ago, keeping in mind the presence of Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver on the roster.
New linebackers coach Mike Nolan aims to bring out the best in Butler after what was a disappointing year for the one-time team captain, per Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. According to Nolan, there's still hope for Butler in 2015:
What I see is a guy who wants to get his game back in order. Hopefully, he does it. He's said that he has a much better focus this year than he had last as far as his offseason goes. I'm very hopeful that he comes back in tip-top shape. We can start working on the things I hope to be able to teach him, to help him out and make him a better player.
That, however, didn't prevent the Chargers' brass from drafting an inside linebacker to push Butler. Second-round pick Denzel Perryman was a force to be reckoned with at Miami, totaling over 100 tackles in each of his last two seasons, and he can be a big-time asset in stopping the run. If Butler can't get back on track next season, he could be forced to play second fiddle to Perryman.
Defensive line coach Don Johnson is looking for Reyes to be a more dominant player next season, per Ricky Henne of Chargers.com. The 2012 second-round pick disappeared much of last season, finishing with just one sack in 16 games.
Reyes, who totaled 10.5 sacks his first two years in San Diego, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and facing possible competition in the form of sixth-round pick Darius Philon.
The Arkansas product is known for his quickness and ability to get after the quarterback—something Johnson is looking for Reyes to get back to in 2015. How he performs in that regard will determine if the Chargers are interested in re-signing him after this year.
Going back to Henne's interview with Johnson, the Chargers are excited to see what next season holds for 2014 fifth-round pick Ryan Carrethers, who seemed to get better with more playing time until an elbow injury set him back.
If Carrethers can come back healthy and get back to the way he was playing before the injury, he's in a position to overthrow Lissemore as the starting nose tackle in 2015.
Lissemore was given considerable playing time his first two years with the Chargers, but that probably won't be the case next season with Carrethers and free-agent pickup Mitch Unrein coming into play.
As Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego recently reported, Fluker is down from 353 pounds to 345 and hopeful to get to 330 by August in an attempt to better himself in pass protection. The former 11th overall pick of the 2013 draft has struggled to keep up with faster, more athletic pass-rushers, but he is doing everything possible to change that.
The Chargers had been rumored to possibly move Fluker to guard in the offseason, per Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego. However, they insisted he stay at right tackle, where he has played and started nearly every game the last two seasons. The team seems confident in his ability to adapt, but if he fails, that previously discussed move to guard might be back on the table.