After watching week one of preseason, we have some clarity on which players look to make an impact, and which players look to get cut. We all had a list of players we would be watching to see if they would play well, or even turn it around. Here are four offensive players, that could potentially get cut, based on performances from Thursday night.
#1 – Ronnie Brown
There is a good chance that Ronnie Brown may not make the team. He had limited touches in Thursday night’s game, and did OK. However, Fozzy Whittaker seems to have some fan support to replace Brown. Whittaker was featured as the main back on the second, and 3rd teams, and had a pretty nice outing. He wasn’t running behind the best line, but still managed to break off some nice runs. He averaged 2.7 yards per carry. He did get stuffed in the backfield a couple of times, contributing to that average, but it appeared to be a result of poor blocking. Whittaker was also brought in from Arizona by Ken Whisenhunt, has already been utilized 14 times out of the starting gate, and had success moving the ball. In comparison, Brown only had a 3 yard run, and a 1 yard run on two carries. Obviously, he wasn’t used much, but there are concerns about Brown’s age. Also, his ability to take the bulk of the snaps, should Mathews go down is a concern. If Whittaker, or .Baker can show that they can run hard, and catch out of the backfield. then Brown’s days in a Charger uniform may be over.
#2 – Le’Ron McClain
The new regime brought in Chris Gronkowski during the offseason, and he was being featured in the first quarter as a fullback for Brown & Whittaker. McClain was brought over by A.J. Smith in free agency last season, but failed to make an impact. There are a couple of reasons for that, as he was often asked to block on passing plays, and was blocking for our running backs behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. However, besides his run blocking skills, McClain was also expected to be somewhat of an insurance policy for Ryan Mathews, as well. Le’Ron ran for ten TD’s in Baltimore, as a back-up when they were hit with injuries. When Mathews went down last year, NO running back stepped up, including McClain. Furthermore, McClain is being paid a nice chunk of money this season. Today, he left the practice field in a great deal of pain, due to a lower body injury. We do not know the severity of this injury yet, but it doesn’t sound good. If it ends up being serious, they may opt to go with the younger, and cheaper Gronkowski. Especially, if Gronkowski plays well. Gronkowski also suffered an injury in practice today, but it didn’t sound serious. But, that doesn’t mean a great deal, as Danario Alexander’s injury was not supposed to be “serious”. Could McClain lose his job? It’s a possibility.
#3 – Robert Meachem
Everyone, and their Mother has had it up to here with Robert Meachem. He was paid WAY too much money by A.J. Smith, and is a HUGE salary cap hit, should he be cut. When Danario Alexander went down, we were all looking for Meachem to PLEASE step up, and earn the ridiculous paycheck he is receiving. After the Seattle preseason game, it looks like more of the same. He can’t even run his routes properly, and missed important catches. Dan DePalma looked fairly impressive, and Mike Willie could be a nice addition to the offense if he plays well throughout preseason. I won’t say much more than that, as we all know what Meachem’s problems are. If he continues to play like a rookie receiver, the need for Tom Telesco to cut him may be greater than the cap hit we will take.. even if it seems like salary cap suicide.
#4 – Charlie friggin’ Whitehurst
Letting Billy Volek walk out the door was just another decision that I disliked from the Norv & A.J. era. Volek & Rivers were good friends. I remember reading an article on the UT a while ago about how they carpooled to work, and how much Rivers valued their friendship. He also valued Volek’s advice, knowledge of the game, and his support. Volek was one of the best back-up QB’s in the league, in my eyes. Unfortunately, he was shown the door, and Charlie Whitehurst was brought back from Seattle, after a very poor showing as their starting QB. Since then, we have been blessed that Rivers has never had to miss a game. I never liked Whitehurst, and his atrocious performance on Thursday night only validated those feelings. Then Brad Sorensen came in, and played pretty well, even if it was against third team competition. Unless Whitehurst suddenly plays out of his mind, and Sorenson completely collapses, I don’t see why he should be on the roster. Especially if Sorensen plays adequately.
Obviously, there is still a lot of preseason to play. But, if the guys mentioned above don’t step it up, and prove that they deserve to be on the starting line-up, they will most certainly be cut. As Tom Telesco & Mike McCoy have stated, everyone has a clean slate. But, they have also said that people shouldn’t read to much into the depth chart, and they will pick the players that they feel will give the Chargers the best chance to win. Nobody should be thinking that their job is safe, at this point. The days of veterans just “assuming” they would be the starters are gone. They left with Norv Turner, and A.J. Smith. That is the type of attitude that led to complacency, and underachievement. For this Charger fan, I couldn’t be happier about that.
Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!