Dec 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Antoine Cason (20) runs out of the smoke during pregame introduction before a game against the Carolina Panthers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The Chargers’ offseason has just begun and we’ve already over-talked the team’s need to revamp it’s offensive line. I won’t bore you by regurgitating the obvious. Not in this article.
Many believe that if the offensive line is fixed, thus the Bolts are fixed as well. Unfortuantely, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Despite a defense that features young, up and coming studs such as Donald Butler, Corey Liuget, Kendall Reyes, Cam Thomas, and Melvin Ingram, there are still some holes to be filled on what became an exciting defense toward the end of the 2012 season.
I didn’t even mention the emergence of both Shareece Wright and Marcus Gilchrist. It appears that Gilchrist has cemented himself as the team’s starting nickel cornerback, while Wright has made a case to start at one of the soon to be vacant cornerback spots.
That being said, the team still has issues in it’s front seven at inside linebacker- opposite Butler- and depth at outside linebacker. Depending on what happens with Aubrayo Franklin and Antonio Garay, there could be a serious need to add depth along the defensive line also.
It’s looking as though Takeo Spikes has played his last down in lightning bolts after another failed attempt at making the playoffs. Part of me feels for Spikes. The other part of me realizes that he is still earning royalties from his inventing of the wheel.
Due to the obvious fact that Spikes has been a liability because of a lack of gas in the tank, Butler has been forced to over-extend himself in an effort to compensate for Spikes’ shortcomings. TKO is just plain too old. His heart, leadership, and intagibles have certainly helped earn his place on this team. But other leaders are emerging and father time has finally caught up with, well, father time.
The thought of losing Shaun Phillips in free agency bothers me quite a bit. Despite the fact that he is no longer an elite pass rusher, if he ever was elite, he still manages to find his way to the quarterback and disrupt plays.
Let’s assume we do lose SP95. We’ve all been witness to the failure that is the Larry English experiment. Antwan Barnes has completed the final year of his contract. That leaves us with only Jarret Johnson, Ingram, and recently acquired Gary Guyton at the outside linebacker position.
That’s certainly not going to cut it.
And then there’s the secondary. Despite the high tackle numbers by Atari “Greensleeves” Bigby, he has proven to be just another guy at the strong safety position. He dropped in excess of 5 “gimme” INTs, one of which I saw firsthand in Cleveland. Although he is not expected to have good hands while playing on defense, his drops were just one of the many issues created by the former Green Bay Packer. He refuses to wrap up and bites on play action like a fat kid at a buffet.
As we’ve all known for the past decade, the Chargers haven’t had an impact player at the position since Rodney Harrison. I still believe that we have more pressing needs on the roster, but strong safety needs to be addressed in either free agency or the draft.
It saddens me to say that this is most likely Quentin Jammer’s last year as cornerback for the Bolts. He has been one of my favorite players of recent years. However, if the new regime sees what the majority of the fanbase does, perhaps Jammer can be re-signed to man the strong safety spot.
It’s been talked about for the past few years. After seeing his interview with Hank Bauer on Chargers.com, I am of the belief that Quentin would do almost anything to remain a Charger. That includes a position transition to strong safety.
That brings us to the cornerback spots. During my interview with Kevin Acee, I asked him if either Wright or Gilchrist were poised to make the jump to being starters in the secondary. He said that he expects Wright to start at corner in the base defense. He added that Gilchrist looks to be the option at nickel cornerback, as I mentioned earlier.
With the shuffling of both the head coach and general manager, there were no inseason re-signings. Antoine Cason is set to become a free agent in 2013. I know that a good number of you will be devastated if he receives a new contract with the team. I, on the other hand, truly find it to be necessary.
Considering all the holes on this team, I think it would be a mistake to lose Cason, who isn’t nearly as bad as some of you might think. He obviously has some flaws to his game, but I believe that he is set for a breakout campaign in 2013.
All of that being considered, if Cason and his agent are asking top dollar to re-sign, then you absolutely let the door hit him where the good lord split him.
That does it for the defensive holes on the Chargers. Stay tuned for my article of what the team needs to do to address the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line is not the only thing that needs fixing.
Thanks a lot for reading.