The San Diego Chargers have played six games this season, and we have had some time to evaluate the Free agents that Tom Telesco brought in earlier this year. Some have lived up to (or exceeded) expectations. Others have not, or have yet to prove their worth. A couple have been lost to injury, but performed well when healthy. I am going to stick to the obvious choices, as I really don’t want to make this article too long. I will be excluding Thomas Keiser, John Phillips, Ohrnberger, etc. Here is a quick write up on each player, so you can vote for your favorite Free Agent signing at the bottom!
Danny Woodhead was Tom Brady’s safety valve over in New England, before coming to San Diego. Since his arrival, he has been exactly that for Philip Rivers. Woodhead has made some exceptional plays this season, in all areas. He has done some hard-nosed running, gouging defenses for big gains. He has caught passes out of the backfield. He has caught passes over the middle. He has even caught one over the top on the outside for a huge TD! Woodhead has been nothing but amazing since he got here, and I am giving TT a big thumbs up for going out and getting this guy!
When Melvin Ingram went down, we all hung our heads, and feared the worst. Despite a tight salary cap, Tom Telesco went out and signed Dwight Freeney. Our concerns started to melt away. Even though he is getting up there in age, Freeney has causing a ruckus in the backfield! At times, he was the only one doing this, so he didn’t get the sack totals we would like to see. But, he was making QB’s rush their decisions. As we all know, he is done for the season, so it was a bitter-sweet signing. We are now back to Double J being our best OLB. I still love that Freeney is here, and when him and Melvin Ingram FINALLY get on the field together… this pass rush should get a whole lot better. Here’s to Dwight & Melvin getting healthy for 2014!
When Tom Telesco signed King Dunlap from Philadelphia, there was a lot of backlash from fans. At that time, he was just brought in to compete, as the hope was to get another starting left tackle in the draft / Free Agency. Dunlap came with a host of warnings from Philly fans, telling us what an awful player he was for their team. A lot of people got REALLY happy when we signed Max Starks, as the thought of having the King as our starting LT gave everybody nightmares of 2012. Few people had any inkling that Dunlap would be playing at the level he is now, or that Max Starks would play THAT bad. Even after being out for two games with a concussion, Dunlap has done a stellar job protecting Philip Rivers, and has allowed our often maligned QB to put up career numbers. Some folks still think that we need to go for a franchise LT in the 2014 draft, but Dunlap is doing a great job this season. San Diego fans can breathe a little easier, knowing that the King is in town
All the talk around the league’s best Free Agent guards revolved around Buffalo’s Andy Levitre. Levitre came with a hefty price tag, and was a luxury the Chargers could ill afford, due to a practically non-existent salary cap. Chad Reinhart also came from coach Joe D’s offensive system in Buffalo, and came at a much more reasonable price. Telesco brought him in to replace Tyrone Greene, and help true up one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. I like to call Rinehart “Mr. Invisible”. You never hear this guy’s name being called out for getting beat, holding, drawing a false start… nothing. When you do hear his name brought up, it’s usually followed up with the words “nice block”, or “held off his man”. Unfortunately, he has been sidelined with a toe injury for a couple of games, and rookie Johnnie Troutman is filling in well (except for the penalties). Even still, I love having Rinehart at left guard, and hope his injury isn’t serious. Let’s be real, the only starting offensive lineman that has managed to stay on the field, is Nick Hardwick. So, I can’t really fault Chad for getting a toe injury, while playing such a physical position.
And lastly… we have Derek Cox. What to say & do about Derek Cox. Let’s start out with the positive. That game ending INT on Monday night was NICE, baby! Those are the kind of plays we need to see on a regular basis from all of our defensive players. I was really excited to have Derek on the team when we signed him. There were other CB’s I might have taken instead, but he has shown he can play in this league in previous years. However, he has not played well since he arrived in San Diego. He makes me wish we had kept Cason, at times. There has not been much difference, and Cason isn’t as injury prone. But, I will give him a pass for a little while longer. Maybe it’s Pagano’s scheme, which seemed to change on Monday night. Maybe it’s a new system, and he will get better as time goes on. Maybe the INT will spark his confidence, and he will start playing at the level that we expected (which is JUST PLAY BETTER THAN JAMMER & CASON!!!) Maybe he will not be the only Free Agent signing that leaves a black mark on TT’s otherwise good Free Agent record……….. Maybe.
Well, there you have it. There is a list of the free agent signings that we made, and how they have impacted the team, so far. I really hope that all of these guys come to be good players for our team, and household names for the Chargers organization over the next couple of years. Most of them have played up to expectations during these first 6 games. Who is your favorite signing? Please cast your vote below, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
As always… Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!