The LA Chargers officially set the initial 53-man roster on Tuesday and there were several surprises that caught fans off guard. Just one day later, that same 53-man roster is already undergoing changes with another move that has shocked many.
The Chargers claimed linebacker Tanner Muse off waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers and needed to waive a player of their own to make space. Shortly thereafter Chargers fans learned that the team was waiving fullback Zander Horvath.
This was shocking to many fans as Horvath is the only fullback on the roster and has played a big role on special teams. Some 53-man roster predictions even called it "impossible" that Horvath would not be part of the 53-man roster.
As surprising as it might be, this isn't something that should be catching Chargers fans off guard. While Horvath wasn't the No. 1 candidate to get waived, there certainly were several signs that it could happen before it actually did.
Why Chargers fans shouldn't be shocked at Zander Horvath being waived:
It all has to do with Kellen Moore. Moore has taken over and rebuilt the Chargers' offense and he is someone who never makes use of a fullback. Even in the preseason, the Chargers had a run-heavy offense that did not feature the fullback position much at all.
There was literally no use for Horvath on the offensive side of the ball, especially with the Chargers carrying four tight ends. The two things are redundant and Horvath didn't do anything to warrant playing him over someone like Stone Smartt.
Horvath's role on special teams was often stated as the reason why he was safe on the roster. While it is true that Horvath played a prominent role on Ryan Ficken's special teams, it wasn't like he was irreplaceable in that role. It would be one thing if Horvath was excelling. In reality, he was just fine and replaceable if the right person came along.
Pro Football Focus grades are far from perfect and shouldn't be used as the end-all, say-all in a football discussion. That being said, they can still give fans a good ballpark of where a player is at. Horvath received a special teams grade of 71.7 last season and 57.6 in the preseason this year. Muse had a worse special teams grade last year but he posted a 84.4 grade in the preseason.
Someone who has no real role on the offense and is only serviceable on special teams is definitely replaceable. That is what we argued at Bolt Beat when we said that the Chargers could waive Horvath to make room for John Hightower on the roster.
That ultimately was not the exact direction the team went with Hightower's stock plummeting after the start of camp. But it was obvious then that the writing was on the wall for Horvath to be waived at some point.