2008 Chargers

Discussion in 'Los Angeles Chargers' started by Don Wassall, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    In the last two drafts, the Chargers have taken a white safety and a white running back, both in the second round. A long-awaited Caste-busting team? Hardly, but the Chargers do rank with the Packers and Patriots as the NFL's least black-dominated teams.


    Thanks to a four-game suspension to black ILB Stephen Cooper to open the season, the Chargers have five white starters on defense, the most of any team.


    Newly acquired Derek Smith is starting in Cooper's spot. The 12 year veteran out of Arizona State is annually one of the league's most consistent tacklers, overcoming a serious eye injury last year that threatened his career.


    Former Ohio State star Matt Wilhelm finally got a starting gig last season at ILB and improved as the year went on. He should be among the top 20 tacklers in the league in '08.


    Igor Olshansky has moved from tackle to end in San Diego's 3-4 defense. He is one of the strongest players in the league.


    The other end is Luis Castillo, in his fourth year out of Northwestern, who can be almost unstoppable at times. Recurring injuries have been the only thing that have stopped him on a regular basis.


    Eric Weddle is starting at strong safety in just his second season, a rare fast promotion for a white defensive player. Weddle was Mr. Everything at Utah, playing just about every position except those on the line, and made one big play after another. He had a knack for big plays last year in his first NFL season, too. Look for Weddle to be a big-time star at a position currently lacking a white star with John Lynch at the end of the road after a Hall of Fame career.


    Ryon Bingham had a very nice '07 as the Chargers' main backup at tackle and end, making 58 tackles, more than what many starters end up with. He also had two starts last year and will figure prominently in the d-line rotation this season.


    Steve Gregory, the fast cornerback from Syracuse, is used by the Chargers mostly at safety but is also listed as a CB on the depth chart. Gregory played quite a bit during the first two games of the 2008 regular season, coming up with an impressive 8 solo tackles in Week Two.


    While Cooper is suspended, the Chargers at times have six white defensive players on the field at the same time -- turn back the clock! A majority of defensive players in the NFL were white through the 1970s -- the undefeated '72 Dolphins had only one black starter on defense -- and into the '80s. It was only in the late '80s and into the '90s when white men were effectively barred from playing defense. Now close to 90 percent of defensive starters are black, though whites are making a small comeback at linebacker, the position many star high school white running backs are switched to in college now that fullback is becoming extinct.


    On offense, the Chargers have a white starting quarterback and four white linemen.


    Philip Rivers is the feisty and talented QB who gutted out most of the AFC championship game last year while playing with a torn ACL, while star runner LaDainian Tomlinson sat on the sideline with what appeared to be a minor knee issue. Anyone who watched Rivers at North Carolina State can't be surprised to see his combination of intelligence and throwing accuracy translate very well to the NFL level. With Tomlinson possibly on the downside of his career, the Chargers could become more of a passing team and Rivers is more than up to the challenge.


    Billy Volek, whose first five games as a starter for the Tennessee Titans were statistically the best ever for an NFL quarterback, was run out of Nashville so that Caste boy Jeff Fisher could make way for the "electric" Vince Young, one of the "new breed" of heralded quarterbacks for whom 200 yards passing during a game is a monumental achievement. Volek backs up Rivers.


    Third year man Charlie Whitehurst out of Clemson is the third quarterback.


    The offensive line in recent years has been very solid, a big improvement over the period when the Chargers favored slow, sumo-sized "athletes" trying, often fruitlessly, to run and pass protect. Kris Dielman starts at left guard; Jeremy Newberry, in his 11th season out of Cal-Berkeley, is the center; Mike Goff out of Iowa is the right guard; and Jeromey Clary starts at right tackle.


    Scott Mruczkowski, Nick Hardwick, and rookie Corey Clark out of Texas A&M are backup linemen.


    Scott Chandler, a 6-7 tight end, was placed on IR, leaving TE all non-white.


    Jacob Hester, who gained over 1,000 yards rushing for national champion LSU in 2007, was used as a tailback by the Chargers during the preseason, but has taken a back seat to the small but super-fast Darren Sproles for now as the main backup to Tomlinson.


    Hester is mainly a special teamer for now; hopefully he will not be told to gain more weight than his body's suited for and play the racially correct position of blocking fullback, as has happened to Brian Leonard of the Rams, like Hester drafted in the second round (in 2007). With the Chargers being relatively fair to white players, it would be nice to think that Hester has a chance to replace Tomlinson when the inevitable decline in his abilities becomes apparent.


    NUMBER OF WHITE STARTERS: 10 (could drop to 9 when Cooper returns from four-game suspension)


    APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF WHITE PLAYERS ON 53 MAN ROSTER: 21


    GRADE: C
     
  2. devans

    devans Mentor

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    I watched a recording of the Chargers Sunday game this week. I couldn't believe how sluggish and washed up Antonio Gates looked. From that performance I would only rate him asthird string tight end material, just clinging on to that position due to his NFL experience. He needs to get some agility back, or some NFL coaches are even going to notice.
     
  3. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm breezing through an article on how Chargers nose tackle Jamal Williams was arrested on a DUI charge, when at the end I notice that the sumo was the team's "co-MVP."


    C'mon, this 400 pounder had 1.5 sacks and 56 tackles. Yes he's good at clogging up the middle, but wasWilliams as "valuable," especially in a down year for the San Diego defense, as Philip Rivers and his 4,000 passing yards, 34 TD passes, and amazing 105 QB rating? Typical NFL racial politics.


    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/9175116/Chargers-DT-Willi ams-arrested-on-DUI-suspicion
     

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