Analyzing the Turk's Work
WR Robert Meachem (USA TODAY Sports)
WR Robert Meachem (USA TODAY Sports)
Publisher, SDBoltReport.com
Posted Sep 1, 2013


San Diego's roster is down to the final 53, although we used the word "final" loosely. We analyze the Chargers' final roster decisions and detail the strengths and weaknesses of the team as currently assembled.

The Chargers used the last two days of August to release 21 players. Among the significant cuts were Max Starks, Robert Meachem, William Middleton, Thomas Keiser, Dave Molk and Marcus Cromartie.

After the dust settled, here are some noteworthy tidbits:

--Two undrafted rookies made the team, both on defense. Kwame Geathers made the cut -- no surprise there -- and will share snaps with Cam Thomas. Jahleel Addae also made the team as the top backup to Eric Weddle. The Chargers kept five safeties and just four cornerbacks, a move back possible by the presence of Marcus Gilchrist, who will start at strong safety but can also return to cornerback if needed.

--With the exception of fifth-round pick Steve Williams, who is on injured-reserve with a pectoral injury, all of San Diego's draft picks made the final roster. That includes QB Brad Sorensen, marking the first time since 2009 the Chargers have kept three quarterbacks. The Chargers have 10 rookies on the roster and a total of 20 players who were not on the team last year.

--The Chargers kept only eight offensive linemen. In addition to the surprising release of Starks, who was projected to start after signing in May, the team cut both of its backup centers -- Colin Baxter was released in the trim-down to 75 and Dave Molk was let go on Saturday. Rich Ohrnberger now becomes the top backup at center and guard while Mike Harris backs up both tackle positions.

--WRs Seyi Ajirotutu and Richard Goodman, who joined the team together as undrafted free agents in 2010, both made the final roster. Goodman returns to his role as the starting kickoff returner.

--The roster is perfectly balanced with 25 offensive players, 25 defensive players and three specialists.

Strongest Unit: Running Back

The Chargers kept four halfbacks -- Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown, Danny Woodhead and Fozzy Whittaker -- along with FB Le'Ron McClain. The decision to keep Brown, despite he and Woodhead sharing a similar skill-set, offers insurance in case Mathews' inconsistencies reappear.

Weakest Unit: Offensive Line

King Dunlap had a nice camp but is a below average blindside protector. D.J. Fluker has incredible upside but is still a rookie who will have some struggles in space. And you would be hard pressed to convince me the guard tandem of Chad Rinehart and Jeromey Clary is an upgrade over Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green.

Most Intriguing Unit: Linebacker

This unit has a lot of nice pieces and a lot of question marks. Can Dwight Freeney, 33, be a dominant pass rusher in San Diego's 3-4 scheme? Can Manti Te'o live up to the hype? Can Larry English or Tourek Williams emerge as the complementary edge rusher San Diego so badly needs? Will Bront Bird and Andrew Gachkar help the special teams rebound after an ugly preseason? It will be interesting to watch all these situations play out.

Lightning Quicks

The Chargers have already made four roster changes since the final cutdown. Firstly, the team acquired DL Sean Lissemore from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a conditional 2015 seventh-round pick. To make room for Lissemore, the team placed Damik Scafe on injured-reserve with a lower leg injury.

Secondly, the team agreed to terms with former Cardinals LB Reggie Walker on a one-year deal. He played with special teams coach Kevin Spencer in Arizona.

Thirdly, the team claimed former Colts defensive end Drake Nevis off waivers. Undrafted rookie Brandon Moore was waived to make room for Nevis. Tom Telesco is familiar with Nevis, a 2011 third-round pick, from their time together in Indianapolis.

Finally, the Chargers claimed former Packers LB Terrell Manning. To make room for Manning, San Diego released another former Packer, D.J. Smith. San Diego will have to make one more cut once Walker's pact is finalized.

The team started assembling its practice squad. Thomas Keiser, Marcus Cromartie and Nick Becton have all agreed to join.



What are your thoughts on the final 53? Discuss inside the message boards.



Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.



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