Roster Analysis: Interesting Decisions

The Chargers trimmed their roster to 53 on Saturday, but the final cut-downs were not easy. We break down some of the more interesting roster decisions, not including the already too-well covered releases of Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Seyi Ajirotutu.

One to Regret: Laurent Robinson

One could argue Robinson was not the most regrettable cut at receiver, an honor most bestow upon Seyi Ajirotutu. The difference between Robinson and Ajirotutu is experience. Behind Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd and Patrick Crayton, none of San Diego's remaining receivers has more than one career reception. Robinson, by comparison, has 89 to go along with 1,000 yards and four scores.

Robinson showed what he can do in the preseason finale, catching six passes for 120 yards, all in the second half. He is not quite as impressive on special teams as Richard Goodman and Bryan Walters, which cost him a roster spot. But if Floyd or Crayton is injured -- if history is any indication, that is highly likely -- the Chargers will wish they had a more seasoned option than the ones they've left themselves with.

Tough but Necessary: Quinton Teal

Teal was a stabilizing force on special teams over the second half of last season. There was some thought he would stay on to give Rich Bisaccia a more experienced option to go with rookies like Jonas Mouton, Marcus Gilchrist and Darryl Gamble.

However, unlike last season, the Chargers are trying to avoid keeping veterans who cannot hold their own from scrimmage. The team feels it fixed its special teams woes via the coaching change and through the draft, making Teal expendable. But if the issues in kick coverage reappear, the Chargers will keep Teal on speed dial.

FB Frank Summers
Kirby Lee/U.S. Presswire
No Room for Luxury: Frank Summers

Summers is a big (5-foot-10, 240 lbs.), bruising fullback. Fans wanted to see him as a road-grader in short-yardage situations. There was also excitement about the possibility of he and Mike Tolbert playing in a bulked-up backfield. Additionally, Summers is a strong option on fullback-dive plays, as he showed by converting a key third-and-1 late in the Chargers' comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals.

What cost Summers was the versatility of Tolbert and Jacob Hester. With those two able to play fullback and halfback, it affords the Chargers the luxury of keeping just four runners. That's exactly what they did, pairing Tolbert and Hester with Ryan Mathews and rookie Jordan Todman.

Beating the Odds: Stephen Cooper

When the Chargers signed LB Na'il Diggs, it appeared Cooper was destined for the injured-reserve list. Instead, Norv Turner said he was impressed with how Cooper played through his torn biceps and decided to keep him on the final 53.

Cooper may not be safe for long. The Chargers may just keep him long enough for Diggs to get up to speed and for youngsters Donald Butler and Mouton to cut their teeth. Nonetheless, the fact that he is getting ready to face the Minnesota Vikings in one week is amazing given the adversity he's faced in the last month.

Rookie Reward: Andrew Gachkar

San Diego's final draft pick made the opening-day roster for the first time since 2007 when Brandon Siler did it. Siler dominanted on special teams while he slowly worked his way into the defensive sub packages; the Chargers hope the same for Gachkar.

A natural outside linebacker, Gachkar's size (6-foot-3, 228 lbs.) will likely force him to the inside of San Diego's 3-4 scheme. No matter where he lined up in training camp, he displayed hustle and a terrific work ethic. He is a guy who just finds a way to get around the ball and the Chargers decided to reward his efforts with a roster spot.

What did you think about Saturday's roster moves? Discuss in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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