Charger cuts bring questions

Now that the final round of cuts has come and gone, it is time to look back at some of the choices the Chargers made. Some were surprising, most were predictable, but each had a direct impact on the level of success the team will achieve in 2006.

The most surprising cut:Releasing A.J. Feely was the least anticipated move. He was the most experienced quarterback on the roster and had performed well throughout the preseason. Even if Charlie Whitehurst did outperform Feely during camp, one would think the Chargers could have gotten at least a low-round draft pick in exchange for Feely. Philly sure did snatch him up quickly.

The most surprising keeper: Greg Camarillo is a solid receiver, but it is hard to fathom how he can help this team. The Chargers currently have five receivers and four tight ends who are all better pass-catching targets than Camarillo. Additionally, the team kept 10 linebackers, so it's not as if there's a dire need for him on the coverage units.

The overloaded unit: This team has more linebackers than it knows that to do with, although it did take a blow on Sunday with Steve Foley lost for the year. Each of the ten (nine) that made the squad is deserving of his position, but keeping so many hinders depth elsewhere. It will be interesting to see if they replace Foley with another ‘backer. This is why it was imperative that A.J. Smith move Donnie Edwards before the start of the season.

The skeleton crew: Quarterback would be the obvious answer, but that number is likely to expand shortly. Defensive line is the other shallow unit. Only six such players made the team, a small number given Wayne Nunnely's preference for rotating his players frequently. Rookie seventh-round pick Chase Page would have been a nice fit here if he had been healthy through camp.

The best decision: Keeping only four running backs was the right move. Andrew Pinnock is a hybrid player who can serve as both the third halfback and the reserve fullback. He is an underrated player who signed a five-year contract extension during the offseason. Now, with this added responsibility, he can go about earning it.

The worst decision: Keeping only four safeties and five cornerbacks was inexplicable. Andre Lott and Hanik Milligan were both robbed of roster spots, as it remains a mystery how both Markus Curry and Cletis Gordon made the team. Gordon's return skills are an obvious catalyst for that decision, but his leash may be short in the return game.

What's left to do: The team needs to add a quarterback with starting experience. Billy Volek has been mentioned as the most likely candidate and would seem to be a good fit in the Chargers' offense. He is a smart player who can get the ball downfield.

There other issue hanging over this team is the uncertain status of Edwards. Smith should move him immediately and take what he can get in return, as doing such would aid team chemistry and free up playing time for the more-than-deserving likes of Matt Wilhelm, Stephen Cooper and Tim Dobbins.


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