The Bolts' Hidden Offseason Pick-Up

Many people have posited that the Chargers made one of the key pick-ups of the offseason simply by getting Shawne Merriman back from injury. But what most people have failed to realize is Merriman is not the only "internal acquisition" to the defensive front seven.

One way the Chargers hope to offset the loss of Igor Olshansky is with the addition of seven-year veteran DL Ian Scott. True, Scott was on the team most of last season, but he made virtually no impact after joining the team in Week 4. He was active for just four games and finished the season without a single tackle.

There's plenty of reason to believe Scott will play a prominent role in 2009, and not just because of the void at right defensive end. For one thing, he's more comfortable in San Diego's defense after having an entire offseason to get acclimated.

DL Ian Scott

The defense stirs some feelings of déjà vu for Scott; defensive coordinator Ron Rivera held the same role in Chicago from 2004-2006, when Scott was a key cog in the Bears' defensive line. In his three seasons playing for Rivera in Chi Town, Scott averaged more than 31 tackles and 4.5 pass breakups per season.

This season, Scott is reunited with another familiar face. Defensive line coach Don Johnson joined the Chargers this offseason after spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons in the same capacity with the Bears.

Indeed, all the stars appear to have aligned for Scott, and he is eager to capitalize. He enters the final year of his contract this season and needs to reestablish himself before going back on the open market.

In fact, the only thing that could hinder Scott's reemergence is the development of fourth-round pick Vaughn Martin. The rookie out of Western Ontario is still green, but once he adapts to the NFL, he'll promptly be plugged into the rotation.

But in the meanwhile, Scott figures to rotate with Luis Castillo, Jacques Cesaire and Ryon Bingham in a four-man rotation at the defensive end positions. Scott could even see some time inside at tackle in certain situations.

So, while the Chargers transition from Olshansky to Martin, Scott may prove to be one of the most crucial "pick-ups" of the offseason.

What do you expect from Scott this season? Talk about it in the 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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