San Diego Chargers need Jared Gaither and Robert Meachem to step up in 2013

By Kenny Gardner
San Diego Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA Today Sports

The San Diego Chargers finished their 2012 season with a 7-9 record and two of the major problems were Jared Gaither and Robert Meachem.

San Diego’s front office signed the former Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs left tackle to a four year deal worth $24.6 million last year.  In 2011, San Diego’s offensive line allowed 28 sacks in 11 games before Gaither was claimed off waivers.  After Gaither joined the team, San Diego allowed two sacks in five games.

Gaither has battled injuries throughout his career because he missed five games in 2009, missed the entire 2010 season and missed 12 games in 2012.  San Diego’s offensive line allowed 49 sacks last season which ranked fourth in the NFL, so a healthy Gaither would go a long way in improving a horrific O-line.

The Chargers ranked 22nd in receiving yards last season while they ranked 30th in yards per reception.  Meachem left the New Orleans Saints and signed a four year deal worth $25.9 million last year.  Meachem had career lows with 207 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in 2012.

San Diego owes Meachem $6.9 million in 2013 while Gaither will make $6 million which makes them two of the five highest paid players on San Diego’s roster.

Meachem had knee surgery last year during the off-season, so he could bounce back in 2013.  Gaither was productive in 2011 when he was healthy, but depending on a healthy Gaither could be asking for too much.

San Diego’s front office is expected to choose an offensive lineman with the 11th pick in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft.  A name that has been discussed is Lane Johnson if he is still available.  Johnson has experience at left and right tackle, so if the front office chooses him, Gaither could still have his starting job at left tackle.

The Lighting Bolts lack depth at wide receiver, but they are about $7 million under the salary cap, so depth will more than likely be addressed in round two or three of the draft in April.

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