The injuries just continue to pile up for the San Diego Chargers, and the team has only played half of its preseason games. With a meaningful down still a couple of weeks away, the Bolts have some serious concerns regarding their depth at several positions.
Cornerback and wide receiver are chief among the positions of worry for the Chargers as they look forward to the 2013 NFL season. The team really lacked much depth at corner to begin the year, but even that has gotten thinner with the recent season-ending torn pectoral for rookie Steve Williams. Receiver could have been considered one of the deepest spots on the roster entering training camp, but now with Danario Alexander on the shelf for the year and both Eddie Royal and Malcom Floyd out for undetermined amounts of time, this team is anything but deep at wideout.
San Diego began addressing its lack of depth at receiver by bringing back Seyi Ajirotutu for another tour of duty with the team. He and quarterback Philip Rivers have worked well together in the past and could find a real rapport again should injuries continue to pile up. With very little salary cap space at his disposal, general manager Tom Telesco will probably have to stick to the bottom of the barrel guys rather than some of the more big-name free agents remaining on the market like Brandon Lloyd to fix the team’s problems.
At cornerback, the Bolts have to be hoping the safety Brandon Taylor can somehow return sooner than expected from his ACL tear last December. His potential return to the lineup would allow Marcus Gilchrist to return to cornerback after making the move to safety this offseason. While the injury to the rookie Williams doesn’t seem like that big of blow he was slated to be the team’s nickel corner this season which is the position Gilchrist manned last season. Given the fact that most teams spread the field these days, defenses are forced to match personnel with three corners nearly 75 percent of the time.
The options on the free agent market are limited at corner at this point, but Johnny Patrick, William Middleton, and potentially undrafted free agent Marcus Cromartie could be in line for increased roles current on the San Diego roster. One outside possibility remains Quentin Jammer as the Denver Broncos could cut ties with the veteran when they trim their roster prior to the start of the regular season after he has been less than impressive in their defense. Perhaps a shift to safety for Jammer and move back to corner for Gilchrist could make the puzzle pieces fit in the San Diego secondary.
With injuries already taking a toll on the Bolts, the outlook for the 2013 season gets dimmer by the day. Derek Cox is already thought to be an injury waiting to happen at corner and wide receiver Robert Meachem can barely be considered a part of the team at this point. The Chargers have to avoid any additional injuries this year or they may have to be relegated to the SEC in college football in order to compete.