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September 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) is hit by San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas (93) as he releases the ball during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Are The Chargers In Need Of More Defensive Line Depth?


In the last few days there had been multiple reports that the Chargers are looking to add some depth at nose tackle; they obviously are interested in defensive tackle Justin Bannan. The 34-year old veteran spent his last year with the Denver Broncos, i.e. he has familiarity with head coach Mike McCoy.

But the question is: Are the Chargers really in need of a veteran addition at that specific position on the defensive side of the ball?

Well, one thing is for sure, the defensive line got pretty thin this off-season. Aubrayo Franklin signed with the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets grabbed Antonio Garay after the Bolts cut him months ago. And we can’t forget Vaughn Martin who we´ve lost to the Miami Dolphins. So, before Tom Telesco picked up some undrafted free agents in April, Cam Thomas had been the only nose tackle on the roster. Thomas was selected in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers, and since then, he only recorded five career starts. It seems the new Chargers brass have faith in the 26-year old defensive lineman, but I´ve to admit I have my doubts that he´s capable of rocking the field for a whole game week in and week out.

As I mentioned above, our General Manager added some UDFAs weeks ago. Two of them are nose tackles; Kwame Geathers (6’6”, 342 lbs) from Georgia and Byron Jerideau (6’0”, 334 lbs) from South Carolina. Both guys seem to be very promising, especially Geathers appears to be a steal and should be able to make the final roster.

The new Chargers headman also signed defensive end/tackle Jarius Wynn already weeks before the “NFL Player Selection Meeting”. The 26-year old was drafted in the sixth round in 2009 by the Green Bay Packers but they released him in August last year in order to meet roster requirements. Wynn has been a backup his entire career – he has only started four games so far – and has been picked up primarily to add depth at defensive end. Currently he is the oldest defensive lineman on the team.

But as Jarius Wynn won´t crack the starting lineup, Cam Thomas, who is entering his fourth season in the league, will be the oldest guy on the San Diego defensive line out there on the field. He´ll have two 23-year old warriors lining up next to him; Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes. Some days ago, Thomas talked about his new role on the Chargers defense:

“I was out there thinking just how much I’ve grown from when I first got here. It seems like I just got here, and now I’m in my fourth year. I listened and observed everything the veterans did, and I’ve grown tremendously. Now it’s my job to give that wisdom out. How to study and watch tape and absorb the knowledge of the game and learn the keys. I’m the old-hand now. It’s my turn to teach the young pups.”

BoltFam, what do you think about the age of the Chargers´ defensive line? Do you trust Cam Thomas as the “leader” of that line? What about the undrafted free agents Kwame Geathers and Byron Jerideau – will they both make the roster? If so, do we need to add veteran depth on the defensive line? Let us know your thoughts about all of that.

Thank you for reading and keep bolting this joint!

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  • Cgoodness13

    Herd we might sign that dude from Denver :/

  • boltingindiego

    i see us going after another de too add more depth to keep legit and reyes fresh. Maybe nt but if both udfa play well i don’t see that happening.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I agree agree with you, diego. DE depth would make more sense to me. This whole time it seems like they were fine rolling with Cam, and these two UDFA monsters they picked up. Now we are kicking the tires on a 34 year old DT? I don’t get it. Are they not that impressed with Cam & the rookies? Seems like we have more pressing holes to fill.

      • MC Boltman

        Yep, I was surprised too when they brought up the name Bannan…true, they guys up there in the front are pretty young, but adding some depth in the secondary seem to be more important to me at this point..we´ll see

  • joerockt

    Not completely sold on baby zilla, but I think he’ll do a fine job. He pretty much took the job from Garay. Along with Geathers I think we’ll be fine at NT.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Me too.

    • MC Boltman

      Yep, Thomas and Geathers – who easily could´ve been picked in the sixth rd IMO – seem to be solid options for the job

  • tubbs45

    Well I see the need for more DEs if we are contemplating a 4 man front more often. I do really like Cam Thomas, he like most NTs they are usually not the center of attention because everyone runs away from their double team. Just say’in I feel a zilla beast being released!!!

    • tubbs45

      Zilla in attack mode

      • Rob Base

        Ya Cam Smash!

    • MC Boltman

      Yeh, I get more and more comfortable with the thought of Zilla as “the man” in the middle of the line too…he surely has the right mindset…

  • J.C. Ortiz

    I don’t see any harm in bringing in more competition. Can always cut them before the season starts assuming these are vet minimum contracts.

    • MC Boltman

      Well, but cap space is limited and I´d like them to bring in a guy for the cornerback spots…would be nice.

  • Alter Ego

    I like the big uglies we have. Looking at the FA currently available – the grass doesn’t look greener. A thumper at DE would be nice as depth with Wynn – but I think we only carry six DL this year. I hope the last guy on the squad is really pissed off and keeps the rotation interesting.

    • MC Boltman

      Yeh…and some cornerback depth would be needed too IMO

  • tech56

    Id rather pick up an extra offensive lineman!

    • MC Boltman

      It seems someone here is worried bout Fluker´s cababilities..:)

  • Boltfanforlife

    The Coaches and Gms are always looking for more help in all areas. The coaches may very well be impressed with the rookies and vets already on the D-line, but they may be adding depth at the DE because of the strength of our DE are far better pash rushers then run stuffers. Although they did a fantastic job last year. Adding more Run stuffers will allow the big guys some breaks to be fresh when they need to rush.

    • MC Boltman

      Great analysis…well, run stuffers are welcome, but we´re limited in cap space and if they won´t get rid of one or two “expendable” guys, then they can´t spend much in FA. And the secondary doesn´t look good to me (when speaking bout depth). We´ll see.

  • blu3ny3llow

    I think they need some DE help…I have some confidence on the UDFA NTs they have maybe Bannan can play both spots

    • MC Boltman

      Would make sense…we all know TT likes versatile guys, especially when they´re signed for depth purpose.

  • sanford peisner

    Freeney will be playing DE more than LB

    • MC Boltman

      That´s what I thought too, but we´ll run a 3-4 base defense also in 2013, so that´s why we´ve to find a solution to do well in that formation. But there will plenty of 4-3 looks, I agree.

  • C.Steele

    I’m a big Cam supporter. He will do a fantastic job! The two UDFA will probably make the squad and as long as they’re serviceable this year I think were good. I am more concerned with adding another DE to spell the two pups (Freeney will be what he has always been a sack specialist).That leaves a slim rotation for 1st & 2nd down. I’m sure TT knows this and will work it out..#GoBolts!