San Diego Chargers GM A.J. Smith made most of the right moves this off-season

By Kenny Gardner

The San Diego Chargers needed to add a pass rusher going into this off-season, which they did by adding Melvin Ingram.  The Chargers needed to fix problems with their run defense which ranked 20th in the NFL in 2011.  They added defensive tackle Kendall Reyes and strong safety Brandon Taylor to help in this category.  Antonio Gates missed six games during the 2010 season, missed three games last season and will be 32 years old at the start of the 2012 season, so San Diego needed to add depth to the tight end position. San Diego added Ladarius Green in round four of the draft to solve this problem.

San Diego was able to re-sign center Nick Hardwick and left tackle Jared Gaither, which were huge moves and allowed the Chargers to focus on other positions of need.  The only questionable moves this off-season by Chargers general manager A.J. Smith were not finding better backups for Philip Rivers and Ryan Mathews.  Charlie Whitehurst was brought in to back up Rivers and spent four seasons with San Diego from 2006-2009, but he was not good enough to start over Tarvaris Jackson in 2011 for the Seattle Seahawks. Jackson had a 10-10 career record with 24 touchdowns and 22 interceptions going into last season.  Curtis Brinkley and Edwin Baker have little to no NFL experience, so it would be nice if the Chargers added someone like Thomas Jones or convinced Ricky Williams to come out of retirement for this season in case Mathews gets hurt.  They could add a younger backup for the future in free agency after 2012 or in the 2013 draft.

Although Charger fans may be upset about Vincent Jackson signing as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego needed so much help at other positions, that bringing Jackson back may have cost them in the long run.  Mathews may want to restructure his contract, which could have been a problem if they re-signed Jackson.  They can add a receiver in round one or two in next year’s draft, and the team proved they can be explosive on offense in 2010 when Jackson appeared in five games and San Diego had the number one offense in the league.  Robert Meachem will more than likely not be as productive as Jackson, but Meachem averaged 43 receptions, 660 yards and seven TDs his last three seasons with the New Orleans Saints.  He should definitely be more productive than Legedu Naanee who was Jackson’s primary replacement in 2010 when he had 23 receptions, 371 yards and one TD.




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