Beckett Not in 2003 Plans?

Free safety Rogers Beckett may be among a host of Chargers who are on the verge of being cut in the offseason. With a new coaching staff in place and the staff looking for the parts that will fit their scheme, Beckett may not be among the list.

The Chargers' first draft pick (43rd overall) in the 2000 draft, Beckett, from Marshall University, started the final three games of his rookie season, all 16 games in 2001 and the first 10 of this season before being replaced by the veteran Keith Lyle.

He came into year three having to learn a new defensive scheme that asked him to cover more of the field. Beckett has had trouble in pass coverage, getting beat deep with regularity and is not making the open field tackles that became his trademark last season after registering 93 tackles, third on the team. He has no interceptions, just 34 tackles and has been out of position on so many occasions; he was benched and replaced by Lyle.

He realizes his play has not been up to snuff and that getting released after the season is a very real possibility.

"I want to finish the year strong," Beckett said. "Whatever happens after that I can't control. For myself, for keeping a good standing in the NFL, I want to have a good performance."

"You have to be humble and make the best of the situation," he said. "Sometimes the only place you can look is up. It's how you handle it and get out of the valley and make it to the mountaintop."

Lyle, who replaced Beckett in the starting lineup, appreciates his attitude and professional response to the benching, "He's a young guy who loses his job and he's a little down, and he hasn't complained."

"You have to make changes and adjustments," Beckett said. "It's something I probably didn't do too well. It's just something I have to face. Hopefully I'll get a second shot, or whatever happens, happens.

"It's a part of the business. It's not personal. It's based on your performance. The opportunity is given to you, and if you don't make the most of it changes are going to be made. It's something you have to live with."

"There's always different avenues out there," Beckett added. "Football is not the end. It's part of life. I look at it like it has given me a great opportunity to get ahead financially and meet people."

"You never want to look at yourself as a bust," he said. "And especially this season, I feel that way. I feel like I was the weakest link on the team. I feel like I couldn't do anything right. There was a lot of effort, but it just wasn't paying off. It's tough, but it happened, and you've just got to keep moving on."

"I feel almost like Enron," he said. "I look at myself as a stock. I was pretty high, and now I've pretty much bottomed out."

So the offseason looms and generally year one of a new coaching staff is an evaluation period. Beckett may be humble, but he speaks as if it is a foregone conclusion that he will not be back with San Diego. That is likely the case as the team looks for a player who will compliment the strong run stopping skills of Rodney Harrison by pairing him with a pass covering free safety. Something Beckett has proved he is not.

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