Last Year's Late Pick-Ups Aim High in 2009

Last September, the San Diego Chargers picked up three veterans to help patch holes on the roster. The idea was for these players to provide experienced depth in 2008 and challenge for more time in 2009. Almost one year later, Kynan Forney, Kris Wilson and Ian Scott are ready to bring that plan to fruition.

The September pick-up with the best chance to earn big minutes this season is the only one of the three not to originally sign a two-year deal. Kynan Forney inked just a one-year pact with the Chargers last September, but re-upped with a two-year, $4.8 million contract in February.

Forney had a frustrating first season with the Chargers. He was inactive for 13 of the team's 16 games and never saw live action. Nonetheless, he immediately liked what he saw from the organization, so much so that he first told of his desire to re-sign with the Chargers during an exclusive interview on Oct. 5.

OG Kynan Forney

"[The Chargers] take care of their players during the week," Forney said. "They're not trying to kill you to where you're just barely surviving and scratching on Sunday. They bring you into the game fresh. Coach [Norv] Turner treats us like men."

Forney will have to man-up this offseason if he hopes to maintain the starting spot he is currently penciled into at right guard. He will likely get a strong push from third-round pick Louis Vasquez (Texas Tech). Also, due to the ability and versatility of veteran swingman Scott Mruczkowski, as well as that of fourth-round pick Tyronne Green (Auburn), Forney could fall all the way to the inactive list if he loses his starting position.

Also looking to carve out increased playing time on offense is Kris Wilson. Like Forney, Wilson was only active for three regular-season games last season. However, those games came during the final three weeks of the season, all Chargers wins. Wilson was also active for both playoff games and started during the wildcard matchup against the Indianapolis Colts (Wilson, Antonio Gates and Brandon Manumaleuna all started).

Wilson, a second-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004, is valued for his versatility. He blocks well as an H-back; he catches the ball smoothly; and he makes plays on special teams. The latter skill will keep him active on most game days.

The Chargers have enough confidence in Wilson that they felt comfortable releasing TE Scott Chandler, a fourth-round pick in 2007, the day after this year's draft.

"I think this offseason will be key in establishing a role on the team," said Wilson in an exclusive interview with "I was a late addition -- I didn't come until Week 1, so a lot of guys have been working together in the spring and some of them for years. So I am still working to get a bigger role on the offense or special teams or what have you."

DL Ian Scott

The third vet facing a key offseason is Ian Scott. After the joining the Chargers after Week 3, Scott was active for just four games. He spent the season adjusting to a 3-4 defense for the first time in his career.

Scott hopes some shakeups in San Diego's coaching staff will help his quest for playing time. He has ties with defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and new D-line coach Don Johnson, as the three of them were together with the Chicago Bears in 2005 and 2006. Scott started 20 games for the Bears in that two-year span, tallying 49 tackles and 10 pass breakups.

Scott will battle Vaughn Martin, a fourth-round pick out of Western Ontario, for the final position in this year's defensive line rotation.

Which of these players will help the most in 2009? Discuss in our message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and 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 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

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