SAN DIEGO CHARGERS / 2013 TEAM NEEDS
Mike McCoy got so much respect for his ability to adapt, and he said at his press conference that he will run an offense that caters to its personnel, which starts with QB Philip Rivers, a downfield thrower with speedy receivers. Ken Whisenhunt takes over as the offensive coordinator and will call plays. Whisenhunt and McCoy need to upgrade the O-line and try to get more out of RB Ryan Mathews.
TOP 3 OFFENSIVE NEEDS
OLT — Even if Jared Gaither, who is owed $4.5 million in 2013, remains with the club, the Chargers can’t be too confident about his health after he played in only four games, with the team questioning his effort. The protection for Rivers was poor all year long, and a franchise blind-side tackle would be a step in the right directon.
OG — Louis Vazquez and Tryonne Green are both free agents, and the duo had a fine season, but the void left by Kris Dielman was noticeable. Like the tackle spot, the interior contributed to the increased pressure on Rivers, leaving him uncomfortable in the pocket. Depth at both guard and tackle is thin, too.
RB — While it’s expected the Chargers sign a veteran to complement Mathews, they could still stand to add depth at running back. Mathews remains a durability issue, Jackie Battle and Ronnie Brown are free agents and the team didn’t seem to show much of an affinity for Curtis Brinkley and Edwin Baker. If they don’t sign a veteran, then running back certainly moves up the priority list.
To the excitement of the defensive players, Mike McCoy retained defensive coordinator John Pagano, who ran a solid unit last season, especially against the run. Free agency could lead to big changes at linebacker and in the secondary for this 3-4 scheme that has lots of talent up front with DE Corey Liuget and ILB Donald Butler. Getting more of a pass rush, though, will be key this offseason.
TOP 3 DEFENSIVE NEEDS
CB — Starting CBs Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are both free agents. Cason is more likely to return than Jammer. Shareece Wright and Marcus Gilchrist are the third-year reserves, but they haven’t shown enough to give the team confidence they can take over as starters. At an important position, the Chargers need depth, and maybe a new starter.
OLB — The free-agency bug strikes here with Shaun Phillips, who is a free agent. If the Chargers let Phillips walk, they will need to add an edge rusher, as Melvin Ingram showed he still needs more time to develop with only one sack as a rookie. Larry English did not pan out at the position, either, and more depth would help.
ILB — Butler had a stellar year and is entrenched at one spot, but the Chargers need to find two starter to put next to him, with Takeo Spikes being released this offseason and Jonas Mouton having yet to show much in his two NFL seasons. Backups Demorrio Williams and Gary Guyton are heading toward free agency.
2012 DRAFT REWIND
1st round (18): OLB Melvin Ingram / South Carolina (GP/GS: 16/2)
2nd round (49): DE Kendall Reyes / Connecticut (GP/GS: 16/4)
3rd round (73): SS Brandon Taylor / LSU (GP/GS: 4/1)
4th round (110): TE Ladarius Green / Louisiana-Lafayette (GP/GS: 4/1)
5th round (149): OG Johnnie Troutman / Penn State (GP/GS: 0/0)
7th round (226): C David Molk / Michigan (GP/GS: 12/0)
7th round (250): RB Edwin Baker / Michigan State (GP/GS: 0/0)
SUMMARY: Kendall Reyes is the cream of this crop. They hope to get more from Taylor, but Ingram was a bit disappointing.