EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written before any waiver claims the Chargers made, were official.
If you follow me on Twitter, or if you saw any of my tweets about the Chargers roster cuts on Saturday, you’d have seen that I wasn’t very happy.
Obviously, it’s all good at the top of of each position throughout the depth chart but I’m pretty disappointed with some of the moves further down and with some of the undrafted free agents.
I feel there are wasted roster spots, I feel like there are players who have made the team who haven’t particularly earned it and I can’t even explain why a couple of guys have made it.
It all began with the kicker battle…
I was triggered when it was announced that Roberto Aguayo was to be cut. Now, I know that I predicted that Caleb Sturgis would make the team and I know the writing was on the wall when Anthony Lynn said, “we brought Caleb in to be our kicker…” but I just thought it was a cowardly move. The Chargers took the easy road, made the easier decision, one that they’re likely to come under less criticism for. Although after last year’s kicker woes, who could blame them, right?
Wrong. Aguayo hasn’t missed a kick in pre season. To me, he showed that he’s a viable option in the NFL once again and should have made the team.
Then the rest of the cuts were announced and we had our final 53 and for my money, we had more injustices. Let’s start at the top with the quarterbacks.
How has Cardale Jones made this team? For me, it was time to call an end to the Cardale Jones project. Geno Smith has outplayed Jones throughout the pre season and it’s not even been close. So for a team with a starting QB as tough and durable as Philip Rivers, what is the need in carrying three quarterbacks? Jones hasn’t progressed since the team acquired him in the trade from Buffalo, he won’t ever be a starter in this league and he didn’t even get any garbage time snaps last year over Kallen Clemons. Why waste a roster spot?
On to running backs; the team must really like Justin Jackson to keep him on as a fourth running back. They obviously felt like they didn’t have a big enough chance of being able to pass him through waivers and get him on the practice squad. However I guess it’s good to have as many good players as possible.
Next up, tight ends. Anyone who read my roster predictions knows I wasn’t high on the Chargers tight end group. So why have just two on the roster? This was obviously done with a view to bringing back Antonio Gates. (A move that was made as I was writing this article). However I’m not blown away by this move either. Yes, Gates is a legend and it’s nice to see him back but he’s not going to contribute much in the way of blocking and probably won’t be in the field much outside of 3rd down and in the red zone. It feels like desperate times call for desperate measures…
Flipping over the defense and the biggest travesty of the whole episode. Where was Steven Richardson?!
Richardson had played as well as anyone on the interior defensive line and looked to have tonnes of potential as a UDFA out of Minnesota. After the 49ers game, I thought Richardson had done enough to play himself on to the roster and especially so since Corey Liuget is suspended for the first 4 games.
I feel I could link the roster spot wasted on Cardale Jones to Richardson. Cardale Jones will not see the field, will not be a starter for this team and never will be. However, Richardson would have seen the field and looks to have a lot of potential to maybe play an important role in the future.
A real head scratcher.
Another UDFA I thought would make it was D’Juan Hines; I was annoyed at his omission too in favour of special teams player and (very) part time linebacker, Nick Dzubnar. Dzubnar is a special teams ace but to me Hines could have filled that role and been better if called upon on defense. In my opinion, Dzubnar has got in on past work as opposed to the coaches seeing what’s in front of them currently.
To wrap this up on a positive, it was nice to see Brandon Fancyson make it. This must have been another Justin Jackson scenario where the front office weren’t confident of him getting through waivers untouched so had to keep him on the 53. Whilst I don’t feel like Facyson is quite ready yet, I do feel he has the tools to push Craig Mager out of the door eventually, which to me is definitely a positive.
Obviously I’m talking about players who are in the lower reaches of the depth chart which to some readers may seem like no big deal and like I’m creating issues that aren’t there. However, the NFL is a long season and it’s a game of inches and in mid winter when every team has been banged up and lost some starters to injury, these are the guys that step in.
With that said, I’m still confident that the 2018 Chargers will have a great season but I’m just slightly less confident than before and it now feels like the wave of positivity is slightly less powerful going into week 1 but let’s see… it all begins in less than a week.
– Lee Wakefield is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @Wakefield90