That plan, it would seem, is a failure. First-round pick Antoine Cason enjoyed a nice start to the season, forcing turnovers in each of his first two games, but has gone quiet since. Third-round pick Jacob Hester has been a huge disappointment, and with the recent addition of Michael Bennett, Hester falls to No. 4 on the depth chart.
RB Michael Turner
By adding Turner, Atlanta's run game has improved from No. 26 to No. 2. By losing Turner, the Chargers' rushing game has plummeted from No. 7 to No. 26.
Of course, the loss of bulldozing lead blocker Lorenzo Neal has also hurt San Diego's running game. Rookie FB Mike Tolbert is a more versatile player than Neal, but Neal is far superior at the point of attack.
As much as Turner's defection hurt San Diego's running game, Drayton Florence's departure has hindered the secondary even more. Although Florence endured an up-and-down campaign in 2007, his knack for making big plays is something the Chargers sorely miss.
Florence is the kind of "closer" missing from a defense that cedes game-winning drives on an almost weekly basis. In 2006, Florence secured back-to-back victories for the Chargers with late-game interceptions. Last season, he came through in postseason with two picks during three playoff games.
With Florence's gambling presence now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Chargers have gone four straight games without an interception. One year after leading the NFL with 30 interceptions, the Chargers have just 10 so far this season.
Also hurting the secondary is the loss of veteran Marlon McCree. Although McCree provided spotty coverage last season, he did an excellent job of coordinating the young players around him. Without McCree quarterback the unit, the Chargers' secondary has self-destructed.
Bolts Backers were understandably frustrated by Sunday's 11-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, when the Chargers averaged exactly 3 yards per run and allowed Ben Roethlisberger to complete better than 75 percent of his passes. But it may not be a matter of coaching or execution. Maybe it's just as simple as this: The Chargers no longer have the horses.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.