When a team goes 7-9 as the San Diego Chargers did in 2012, the areas of need are often hard to detect. Sometimes it’s difficult to discern just what would have allowed the squad to pick up those additional two or three wins that would have put them in the postseason picture. For the Bolts, there task isn’t nearly as difficult. Left tackle and safety were two areas of great concern heading into the offseason, but the team still hasn’t managed to find a solution at either one.
It’s not for lack of trying. The Chargers have been linked to just about every left tackle in the business this offseason from a potential Branden Albert trade to signing Bryant McKinnie. Neither of those moves ultimately materialized and what’s left is a San Diego team still searching for a solution at one of the most critical positions in the NFL today.
Despite my suggestions of Max Starks or Winston Justice, reports say that the team has yet to pursue either of those options. This has to leave quarterback Philip Rivers nervous after his 49 sack season of a year ago. A resolution still hasn’t surfaced in that positional drama, but the safety position could be another story entirely.
Brandon Taylor was the team’s third round pick in 2012 that saw just enough action in his rookie campaign to suffer a torn ACL. That injury could leave the team struggling to fill his slot in 2013 as he doesn’t expect to be recovered in time for the upcoming season. With the inexperience behind him at safety, cornerback Marcus Gilchrist could be the player nominated to fill in.
According to U-T San Diego, the man who played nickel corner last year is more than open to the switch as he said: “Wherever I can help the team. If that means playing corner and helping the team, then that’s where I’ll be. If it means safety, that’s where I’ll be. Wherever the coaches feel I can help the team best.”
That sort of versatility in the secondary is definitely a valuable commodity in today’s pass-happy NFL. Gilchrist is sure to see plenty of action in the secondary given the turnover at the cornerback position this offseason with both Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer gone from a year ago.
There may not be anything definitive yet at either of these two question mark positions, but the Chargers are at least on the right track toward finding viable solutions. Protecting the blindside was an obvious deficiency last year while getting beaten over the top in coverage was another subtle yet just as damaging shortcoming. If the Bolts can find a way to patch up both of these issues heading into 2013, their win total could see a serious climb in the upcoming season.