The Chargers had the third-oldest roster in the league when the season began, according to a study by ESPN.com, and though experience can oftentimes be a positive, all those years of playing has cost the team in the long run. Several veteran players have taken longer than expected to return from injury, and with inexperienced replacements taking their spots in the lineup, the play on the field has suffered.
Having a veteran roster will also lead to major changes in 2012. We hear that if the Chargers fail to make the playoffs, a serious overhaul of the depth chart might be in order, with the team looking to get younger at several positions. Even if they do rally down the stretch of the season and get into the postseason, there are still likely to be some moves made by the front office.
However, the top priority for many of the veterans on the team isn't saving their jobs for next season; it's turning around the fortunes of the club this year. Following their Week 11 loss to the Bears, two Chargers players told PFW that they still believe the playoffs are within reach once the team finally puts a halt to the losing streak they've been on since Oct. 9.
"We've been trying to do it; just the outcomes have not been in our favor," NT Antonio Garay said about ending the losing streak. "We're our own worst enemies at times. We've really got to limit some of the mistakes."
Garay is one of the few veteran starters on the defense that has held up all season. DE Luis Castillo and OLB Shaun Phillips, the team's top two pass rushers, both have missed extensive time with injuries, and SS Bob Sanders — expected to be a difference maker in the backfield — was put on injured reserve following Week Three. Offensively, three Week One starters on the line are hurt, and WR Malcom Floyd and TE Antonio Gates both have been out of the lineup occasionally because of injuries.
"One thing I learned is, nobody outside this locker room can feel any worse than the people in the locker room. You feel like crap, it sucks," TE Randy McMichael told PFW. "But you know, the only way you can cure these things is winning."
The team had better win now, because if it doesn't, many of the players inside the locker room will be looking for new jobs next spring.
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