While Charger fans anticipated subtractions from the roster on Tuesday, the first news of the day came in the form of addition. The Chargers surprised fans by adding veteran RB/KR Leon Johnson, who is expected to immediately take over kick return duties. Leon is adept at punt returning as well as kick returning and brings veteran experience to the backfield. As a running back he is more of a between the tackles guy than an outside runner. While not a flashy player, Leon is not a liability as a blocker and is also a good receiver out of the backfield. The Chargers now have a viable kick returner, back up punt returner and experienced rusher to spell Ladanian Tomlinson.
Let's take a look at the other moves that were made:
Four players landed on injured reserve:
(S) Hanik Milligan(pectoral tear)- One of the surprises of camp as a sixth round pick out of Houston. Was clearly going to make the roster with his special teams play as well as his developing safety skills. Could one day be one of the steals of the draft.
(LB) Jude Waddy(ankle)-Pass coverage skills and a good performance in first preseason game gave Jude a legitimate chance to make the team. Journeyman will have to take this journey while on IR.
(RB) Antoineo Harris(knee)- Inside runner who made a good impression before he got hurt. Was ahead of Maddox and Diedrick before injury. Harris will get another crack next year and would be an ideal player to send to NFL Europe(if it still exists).
(WR) Tim Baker(knee)- Tall receiver who shined early in camp but then faded a little. Would have had a hard time sticking with the team but now may get another chance.
Ten players were sent packing:
(RB) Demarco McClesky- Known more for his ability to run his mouth instead of the football, this one was no surprise. Limited reps and failed to stand out. Practice squad chances are slim and none.
(RB) Nick Maddox- A bit of a surprise here as he was productive when given the chance. Nick had some trouble running inside because of his size, but had vision, good hands and moves. May catch on as a third down back but not with the bolts as LT can play on third down. Practice squad is a mild possibility.
(PR/WR) Brian Sump- With so much talent at wideout, Brian would probably have had to take a punt to the house to have a chance. It didn't happen and never getting the chance to return kickoffs really hurt his chances. Practice squad is doubtful.
(WR) Dondre Gilliam- If anyone deserves to play somewhere it's this guy. Was ahead of all but the top four before an injury set him back. Solid at everything and could be a #3 wideout for some teams. Numbers game in San Diego. Practice squad N/A.
(WR) Jeremy McDaniel- Brought in after clumps of injuries to wideouts. Still a bit rusty and caught up in the numbers game, never had a real shot. Practice Squad N/A.
(OL) Michael Keathley- Solid backup last year, perhaps new youthful talent knocked him out of a job. More of a smaller, mobile guard who doesn't match offensive scheme. Could catch on with someone like the Broncos.Practice squad doubtful.
(OL) Alex Tuttle- A major longshot to begin with. Received limited reps and did not stand out but did receive some solid coaching. Practice squad chances are very slim.
(DT) Doug Sims- Was one of the hopefuls before training camp. A big body to tie up blockers and stuff the run. Size alone wasn't enough as he was outplayed by an undrafted rookie in Jaques Cesaire. Practice squad, no.
(DL) Kris Dielman- A surprise in camp. Raw player with a motor. May be able to play DT and DE. An ideal practice squad guy.
(LB) Lemarcus Mcdonald- A bit of a surprise with this move. A standout on special teams, but an undersized linebacker. Outplayed by Stephen Cooper in preseason, which may have sealed his fate. Practice squad doubtful.
With the final preseason game on Friday some players are still feeling the heat as 15 more cuts will have to be made by Sunday. From kicker to wide receiver, from running back to tight end every position should see a player cut. Is it Burford or Lemon, Diedrick or Chatman?
Fridays game against the 49ers will hold the answer to many questions.
Will can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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