Training camp starts this week, and we will finally have something meaningful to talk about! Not too long after that, preseason will kick in (Hooray!!!). The weeks leading up to that will, hopefully, give us a little more insight into who is winning the camp battles, and who will be looking for a different team to catch onto. It’s too bad we can’t keep some of these guys here to round out the team.. particularly some of the wide receivers. It seems like there is a lot of potential there, but it’s such a deep position for the team. No matter what, I wish these guys success, wherever they land.
One position that I am particularly excited to see unfold, is the battle for Nose Tackle! There has been so much talk about our defensive line being the strength of our defense. I can’t wait to have the starter locked in, and playing at a high level. It’s safe to say that the job is Cam Thomas’ to lose. However, we have some BIG boys behind him with Kwame Geathers, and Byron Jerideau. They are both UDFA’s, so we can “hope” that one of them is a diamond in the rough. I really think both of them have a great shot at making the squad, and potentially becoming a rising star on the team. If nothing else, they can both be serviceable, and add solid depth to the line.
Most people already have Kwame “Beast Man” Geathers penciled in as the back-up. He is clearly the larger of the two. This past season, Geathers played in 14 games, made 40 tackles (five for loss), and one sack. Just looking at this 342 lb., 6’5 monster makes you quake in your boots! There is no doubt that he can draw double teams, and plug the middle with his huge frame… maybe even get his hands on some passes. Aside from terrorizing the middle of the line, Geathers comes from a long line of football players. His two brothers play for Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. His Dad used to play for the Bills in the 80’s. His uncle also played in the NFL for thirteen years, so Kwame has been around football his entire life! He could be the future for the Chargers at the nose tackle position, if he can outplay Cam Thomas.
Now, let’s get to Byron Jerideau. He is a hulk of a man, and could also make the squad. After all, we did carry three nose tackles last year. Jerideau is smaller at 6’1 / 316 lbs, but boasts a 500 lb. bench press, and a 670 lb. squat. That’s a lot of meat & potatoes right there! He is a fifth-year senior, who started all 13 games last year. He made 40 tackles, including 25 solos, and had 5.5 tackles for loss. He recorded 2.5 sacks, and even blocked an extra point that was returned for a 2 point conversion. When recently interviewed by “The Press & Standard”, Jerideau had this to say about training camp, and the open nose tackle spot:
“They’ve only got one nose tackle. They brought in me and Kwame as rookie free agents, so it’s between us for that No. 2 spot.”
He later added: “That’s when we get at it [training camp]. Everything so far has been in helmets and shorts. It’s practice, but I don’t really consider it practice. When we get back, and get those shoulder pads on, that’s when it’s going to go down.”
It’s good to see that he is hungry, and is ready to compete with Geathers for the honor of making the Charger’s roster. I couldn’t be more excited to see these two go at it! Is it possible one of them unseats Thomas? Probably not, but they are definitely going to push him, and learn a thing or two along the way. This is one camp competition I will have a close eye on, without a doubt. Let’s get that defensive line firing on all cylinders! We want them to strike fear into the heart of opposing offenses, and these two behemoths might be “just what the doctor ordered”.
Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!