Are The Chargers In Need Of More Defensive Line Depth?
By MC Boltman
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
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!