Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chargers 53-Man Roster

AJ Smith and company show they are serious about contending for a Super Bowl this year by taking some risks in yesterday's cuts. They keep running backs Michael Bennett, Gartrell Johnson and fullback Mike Tolbert. This necessitated at least one surprise cut somewhere else.

They cut guard Kynan Forney, who was slotted as the starting right guard until he sustained a neck injury a few weeks ago. They also cut veteran tackle LJ Shelton. This means they have confidence in, but are taking a risk on, some young starting offensive linemen in guard Louis Vasquez and tackle Jeromey Clary. The back-ups for these guys are also young and inexperienced. The Chargers are only keeping eight offensive lineman, fewer than the overwhelming majority of NFL teams feel comfortable with.

Will this gamble pay off?

We will have to see as the season develops. If Gartrell Johnson and Michael Bennett contribute in some way and the Chargers do well, these will look like great decisions. If the run game falters because Clary and Vasquez aren't getting it done (which they haven't really proven they can do in the preseason) it may look like a foolish risk. We'll have to wait and see, but I agree with the decisions to keep all the running backs over some under performing offensive linemen.

Another possibility is that AJ Smith is holding onto Bennett, or Johnson for that matter, in case a team in desperate need for a running back comes calling. The Chargers are only keeping three corner backs, thinking an extra safety can fill that spot in dime-back passing situations. If the right corner gets offered, one of these extra running backs could be out the door.
The drama continues! Stay tuned.

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