AJ Smith stocked the roster with depth at multiple positions. It seems that he ignored the offensive line though. Last night, the Chargers had a pair of rookies starting the game, because key players up front were sidelined with injuries.
Mike Harris has been a nice story in camp, but he is not ready to be a starter against players like Jared Allen. Last week, he would have been matched up with DeMarcus Ware, but Ware rested because of injuries. Next week, he would be matched up with Aldon Smith, but that probably will just be for a short amount of time. Each week, the left tackle will have to face against the best in the league. Harris could be overmatched often and Philip will have to look over his shoulder constantly.
We need Jared Gaither to get back from his back spasms. He hasn’t had a full practice since the beginning of training camp and now he is only doing work on the rehab field. If his back issues flare up during the regular season, we will have to trot Harris back out there. There needs to be a better option.
Gaither showed that he has the talent to be a stud left tackle last season. He is no help on the sideline though. History shows that he has struggled with injuries and back problems. It is likely that he will have to miss time during the season, just looking at his past.
We had brought in veteran Mario Henderson to compete for a tackle spot as well, but what could we expect from someone that was not in the league last season? Henderson has not performed and will not make the roster.
With the injury to Nick Hardwick, we had to test our depth at center also. There is more optimism that Gaither would return before Hardwick. That is really concerning. Hardwick suffered a concussion in practice Monday and has not gone out to the practice field. He contemplated retirement in the offseason with his best buddy Kris Dielman, but decided that he still wanted to play. We know why Dielman retired and this injury must have Hardwick thinking about that again.
With Hardwick gone, we had to rely on rookie David Molk to get the start. Molk could be a decent player some day, but he is not ready now and is nowhere near the caliber of Hardwick. Veteran player Rex Hadnot could have taken the start at center, but he had to slide over to play guard last night.
The depth is weak. We never would expect 3 starters to go down, but it looked horrid last night. Hopefully we scan the waiver wire to pick up some help. It is worrisome looking at the line at its current state.