Adjustments continue to the San Diego Chargers projected 53-man roster following Friday’s preseason game against the Vikings. Surprisingly, five changes were made this week.
QB -- In: (2) Philip Rivers and Charlie Whitehurst (free agent, Seahawks). Out: Jarrett Lee (undrafted, LSU). Analysis: Lee impressed with a game winning field-goal drive against the Vikings, but the Chargers will sneak him on to the practice squad to free up a roster spot as they have done with the third QB for the past two seasons.
RB -- In: (3) Ryan Mathews, Curtis Brinkley, Ronnie Brown (free agent, Eagles). Out: Jackie Battle (free agent, Chiefs), Michael Hayes (undrafted, Houston) and Edwin Baker (round seven, 250th overall). Analysis: Mathews (broken clavicle) may not be ready for week 1, but he is showing progress in his rehab and should play soon after that. FB Le'Ron McClain can effectively serve as a third-string RB until Mathews returns and this would free up a roster spot. Battle is the odd man out because he has been largely ineffective. Battle carried the ball five times for 10 yards against the Vikings. Brinkley (strain), however, did not play and will likely need to contribute in the final preseason game.
FB -- In: (2) Le'Ron McClain (free agent, Chiefs) and Jacob Hester. Out: No one. McClain (6-0, 260) will supplant Hester (5-11, 235) as the starting FB. They will also occasionally touch the ball as a receiver and RB. Hester will primarily work on special teams.
WR -- In: (6) Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem (free agent, Saints), Eddie Royal, WR-KR Micheal Spurlock (free agent, Buccaneers), WR-KR Roscoe Parrish (free agent, Bills) and WR Vincent Brown. Out: WR-KR Richard Goodman, Mike Willie (undrafted, Arizona State), Taylor Embree (undrafted, UCLA), Phillip Payne (undrafted, Nevada-Las Vegas) and Jason Barnes (undrafted, South Carolina). Analysis: It appears WR Vincent Brown (broken ankle) will be kept on the roster until he returns somewhere around midseason. Goodman, the incumbent kick returner, could still win the sixth receiver spot over Parrish, but Goodman has done very little in preseason.
TE -- In: (4) Antonio Gates, Randy McMichael, Dante Rosario (free agent, Broncos) and Ladarius Green (round four, 110th overall). Out: Kory Sperry, and Brad Taylor. Analysis: It’s a stretch to protect Green on the 53-man roster so that he can develop for a year, but minority owner and director of college scouting John Spanos signaled that will likely happen when he spoke very highly of Green during Friday’s broadcast.
OL -- In (9): LTs Jared Gaither and Michael Harris (undrafted, UCLA), LGs Tyronne Green and Rex Hadnot (free agent, Cardinals), Cs Nick Hardwick and David Molk (round seven, 226th overall), RG Louis Vasquez and Stephen Schilling and RTs Jeromey Clary: Out: G/T Brandyn Dombrowski, Johnnie Troutman (round five, 149th overall), Anthony Davis (free agent, Destroyers of the UFL), Mario Henderson (free agent, Raiders in 2010), Michael Toudouze (free agent, Colts), Colin Baxter, and Phil Trautwein. Analysis: G-T Schilling (round six, 2011) stays over OT Henderson because he is younger and more versatile. Schilling gives San Diego a backup at both RG and RT. Henderson has not played well at RT.
DL -- In (6): Left DEs Vaughn Martin and Kendall Reyes (round two, 49th overall), NTs Antonio Garay, Aubrayo Franklin (free agent, Saints), Right DEs Corey Liuget and Jacques Cesaire. Out: Cam Thomas, Harrell Logan (undrafted, Fresno State), Damik Scafe, Charlie Bryant (undrafted, Memphis), Eddie Brown (undrafted, Texas A&M) and Garrett Brown (undrafted, Minnesota). Analysis: Cesaire earns a roster spot over Thomas because of his veteran leadership and the ability to play both sides at DE. With Garay (foot) out against the Cowboys and Vikings, Franklin received the start at NT over Thomas. Thomas had no tackles against the Vikings.
OLB -- In (5): Shaun Phillips, Melvin Ingram (round one, 18th overall), Jarret Johnson (free agent, Ravens), Larry English and Antwan Barnes. Out: Darryl Gamble and Ricky Elmore (undrafted, Arizona). Analysis: Gamble (undrafted 2011, Georgia) made the roster last season, but there simply isn’t room for him now with the additions of Ingram and Johnson and with English and Phillips healthy.
ILB -- In (4): Right “MAC” ILBs Takeo Spikes, Jonas Mouton. Left “MO” ILBs Donald Butler, Demorrio Williams. Out: Bront Bird and Andrew Gachkar. Analysis: Bront Bird and Gachkar have performed well in training camp and in preseason. However, there isn’t room for them on the roster with the need to carry six receivers and four tight ends.
CB -- In (5): Left CBs Quentin Jammer and Marcus Gilchrist. Right CBs Antoine Cason, Shareece Wright and De'Andre Presley (undrafted, Appalachian State). Out: Gregory Gatson (undrafted, Arkansas), and Arthur Hobbs (undrafted, Nebraska at Kearney). Analysis: Presley is the biggest winner this week because he went from being off the radar to on the roster. Presley practiced with the first team against the Cowboys because Wright and Gilchrist were out with hamstring injuries. Presley got the start at nickelback against the Vikings and had an INT. Due to his play and the tenuous injury situation, Presley makes the roster.
FS -- In (2): Eric Weddle and Corey Lynch (free agent, Buccaneers). Out: Darrell Stuckey and Sean Cattouse (undrafted, Cal). Lynch is normally a SS, but played FS against the Vikings when Stuckey did not play. Lynch backing up both positions allows for the release of Stuckey and the addition of Presley as an extra CB.
Special teams -- In (3): K Nate Kaeding, P Mike Scifres and LS Mike Windt. Out. K Nick Novak, P Robert Malone (free agent, Lions) and LS Nick Guess (undrafted, Tennessee). Analysis: Kaeding secured his job over Novak with field goals from 50 and 54 yards against the Vikings. There is no perceived competition at either the punter or long-snapper positions.
Players on the bubble -- (8) ILB Bront Bird, DE Jacques Cesaire, ILB Andrew Gachkar, TE Ladarius Green, WR-KR Richard Goodman, QB Jarrett Lee, WR-KR Roscoe Parrish and DT Cam Thomas.
Leading practice-squad candidates -- (8) RB Edwin Baker, OLB Ricky Elmore, CB Greg Gatson, QB Jarrett Lee, DE Harrell Logan, TE Brad Taylor, G Johnnie Troutman and WR Mike Willie.