Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Roster Math: QBs

We have 3 slots filled, and the next three are almost as easy.

QBs Philip Rivers, Mike Volek, and Charlie Whitehurst will in all likelihood fill the 3 QB spots this year.

Rivers is obviously locked in to a roster spot. It's now his offense and his team.

Volek is the 3 million dollar a year player who the Chargers hope never has to actually play. In case Rivers goes down for part of the year, the Chargers are betting that the Volektricity will be able to keep them going. The only reason, barring injury, why I could see him not making the team is if they determine that his play has fallen off dramatically, so much that it no longer warrants his price tag as a backup. I don't know of any evidence of that.

Whitehurst was a 3rd round draft pick with 4 years experience learning and practicing in the Chargers' system. He has no competition in camp for the 3rd QB spot. The team didn't even bring in a 4th QB as a camp arm (its reported that David Binn is filling his time by throwing to receivers in practice).

Whitehurst's only danger of being cut would come from the team deciding that the extra roster spot would be better suited for a player at another position. I doubt this happens, since risk of having only 2 QBs likely outweighs the reward of keeping another backup elsewhere. If they were to go that direction and one or both of the other two QBs were to go down, the Chargers would then likely have to scramble to bring in some currently unemployed QB as a backup or, heaven forbid, the starter. While we can't say just how good Whitehurst would be if pressed into service in a meaningful game, I think its safe to say that, with his 4 years of coaching and knowledge of the system, he would be preferable to someone who couldn't find work on any other NFL roster and had to scramble to learn the system.

This scenario is admittedly far fetched. The reality is that the Chargers QB depth chart will look as its looked the last 3 years: Rivers, Volek, Whitehurst.

That's 3 more roster spots accounted for, leaving 47.

Roster Math: Part 1

Fact: Football is wonderful. Amazing. Sustaining. A life giving seasonal rain in this harsh desert of existence we call life.

Sadly, not everything about football is positive and fun. The excitement of training camp is now in the air all across our nation, bringing with it the giddy anticipation of a new season just over the horizon. Looming unspoken among this excitement is the reality that professional football is still a business, one which requires cold and ruthless decisions to be made every year.

Cuts. 53 spots, that's all you get in the NFL. Arrange them however you like, but it has to add up to 53. Excesses of depth and talent at certain positions are often trimmed out in order to make roster spots available for inferior but necessary talent at others. Like most NFL team the Chargers face this dilemma every year. In recent years the cold hard arithmetic of building has forced them to part ways with many talented players, often veterans. Many of these players end up signing with and even starting and starring for rival NFL teams. In most cases I think the Bolts would have been happy to keep them, but the roster spots simply weren't there.

In anticipation of our 2009 Charger season (and to kill some time until it gets here), I've decided to post some thoughts about what direction I think the Chargers are likely to go in building their roster for this year. Given the complexity and wordiness required by this topic this will be a multi part series. All predictions here are based on the assumption that no players endure a serious injury during the preseason. I have a fairly strong grasp of the main roster but know very little about the Undrafted Free Agents or practice squad players. That ignorance may hurt my predictions, but given the strength of the roster already I doubt more than one guy makes the jump from camp fodder to the 53 man squad (again, barring injury).

Lets start with the easy positions: Special teams.

Nate Kaeding, Mike Scifres, David Binn.

All among the best, if not the best, at their position. All under contract for the foreseeable future. Unless some other position player learns to long snap as well as Binn (highly doubtful), all three are locked in with their roster spots as secure as anyone on the team.

That's 3 down. 50 spots left.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Our illustrious supreme leader turned 48 today (in Earth years). White House press room fixture Helen Thomas was also celebrating her birthday (89 and still kicking!) and so our President behaved in a manner befitting his Messianic nature by thinking of others first on his special day.

I wonder if he baked those himself. He's probably busy, so maybe he just frosted them. It would have been a really cool way for the President to show up the nutbags opposed to health care reform if he had joked about Ms. Thomas "rationing" out the cupcakes. I can only imagine the insane frothing which would have resulted.