WR Chris Chambers (Jeff Gross/Getty)
The San Diego Chargers released their second starter in the last three weeks when they cut ties with Chris Chambers Monday. The move creates more opportunities for the team's younger receivers and opens a roster spot to add a linebacker.
The release of Chris Chambers is hardly surprising, even though he came up with the play of the day in Sunday’s win over the Oakland Raiders. Many people have been calling for Chambers to be benched or cut for weeks now; we suggested the move almost exactly a month ago.
The release of Chambers creates more opportunities for some talented young receivers. Malcom Floyd, who moved into the starting lineup ahead of Chambers last week, will now be a permanent fixture across from Vincent Jackson.
Legedu Naanee, who had 12 catches in the first quarter of the season but only one in the last three games, now becomes the No. 3 receiver. Also, former first-round pick Buster Davis can now escape the inactive list for the first time once the Chargers get healthy on defense and special teams.
"There are a number of things that went into the decision," Norv Turner said. "The reason we’re able to do this is the play of Malcom and the way Legedu Naanee is performing. Certainly there are a number of other things in terms of our football team that we need to address. Defensively and in the kicking game... we need to get some help."
Speaking of defense and special teams, the roster move creates space for the Chargers to add a linebacker, given that Kevin Burnett (ankle) and Tim Dobbins (knee) are ailing. This leaves the team with only two healthy inside linebackers, Stephen Cooper and Brandon Siler, and zaps San Diego of a lot of its punch on special teams.
Sunday against the Raiders, KR Jonathan Holland averaged over 29 yards per return. Two games prior, Denver Broncos KR Eddie Royal returned a pair of kicks for scores against the Chargers.
What’s interesting is San Diego’s season-long trend of keeping younger players at the expense of veterans. At the end of the preseason, the Chargers cut veteran offensive linemen L.J. Shelton and Kynan Forney and opted for Brandyn Dombrowski and Tyronne Green, respectively.
On Oct. 14, the Chargers cut starting SS Clinton Hart and replaced him in the starting line-up with rookie sixth-round pick Kevin Ellison.
Now, the Chargers cut Chambers, who has 111 career starts, even though the four players behind him on the depth chart have less than 20 starts combined.
The message has been delivered loud and clear to an underachieving team: the veterans must play up to their potential or be replaced by someone who will.
What are fans saying about Chambers' release? Find out in the message boards.