San Diego Chargers Add Linebackers to the Slumping 3-4 Defense
The San Diego Chargers re-signed LB Reggie Walker and signed former Indianapolis Colts middle linebacker Kavell Conner to bolster John Pagano’s 3-4 defense. The moves address roster depth, reinforcing their support behind their young stars and building their team through the draft.
Walker is a versatile player having played all linebacker spots in San Diego. Walker recorded 34 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble in the 2013 campaign. Out of the two signings, Walker draws more attention to his stat line. Conner isn’t the star acquisition the Chargers fan had hoped for as Conner’s best campaign was in 2011 with 50 tackles. Due to injury Conner only appeared in 10 games in 2013, but the signing adds critical depth to the linebacker-heavy defense Pagano runs. It also doesn’t hurt that Tom Telesco had scouted Walker during his days in Indy.
These minor moves ultimately take the pressure off Donald Butler and Manti Te’o. Butler and Te’o both missed a combined six games during the 2013 season and Te’o’s foot injury concerns the staff. Te’o is growing at the position, but Butler is the most talented of the two right now. The Chargers benefit when both players play at a high level, but the Chargers must prepare for injuries in the upcoming season.
Retaining Walker and signing Conner means the Chargers think highly of Butler and Te’o. The Chargers have committed a lot of money into retaining Butler and last year the Chargers committed to moving up to draft Te’o. With the signings, the linebackers are set as Telesco focuses on building the team’s defense.