We know who the starters will be with the Chargers. In many cases we know how the backups will lineup for the call to arms when injuries occur.
But tonight’s final preseason game with the 49ers, will carry importance for a couple of young veterans, a bunch of free agent rookies, and a group that is hurt, they want to keep claim too.
Offensive guard Johnnie Troutman has had three years of injuries in San Diego, and yet has played a fair amount when healthy. With a broken forearm, the question, do you keep him on your final 53, get him healthy, and hope he will be ready by possibly week six of the schedule?
Linebacker Tourek Williams is coming off a broken foot, and those injuries take longer. He has become a good special teams player, and likely winds up on the 8-week injured reserve list. But remember, you can use that list just one time. Do you IR him there, or for the entire season, but lose the slot, if someone else goes down once the regular season starts?
The surprise players in camp have been young LB-Nick Dzubnar Cal Poly), who has played lots of snaps, and is active on special teams. Though there is no spot on the roster for him yet, young RB-Dreamius Smith (West Virginia) has had some good runs and exhibits some real power coming out of the backfield. He looks like a guy to hide on the developmental squad.
WR-Javontee Herndon is fast, has caught passes, is a gunner on special teams. How he makes the roster with so many wideouts infront of him is th problem. Maybe taxi squad him this season.
They’ve been waiting for young CB-Stevie Williams to make plays, but injuries have slowed him down. Maybe they go a bit longer with him.
There’s something there also in physical and fast DE-Darius Philon (Arkansas), who played just one of college ball. The last pick on their draft board, could they sneak him thru waivers and get him on developmental, or do you carry a young player with upside athleticism over somebody with a bit more backup experience?
There are at-risk veterans on the roster. Ex-Cowboy tight end John Philips is still here, though hardly part of the passing game. CFLer Corrado Law has been a part-timer and special teamer.
The jury is very much out on veterans Patrick Robinson, the former Saint, who hasn’t done anything special. Ex-Ram Austin Pettis is pushing for a backup spot and has caught passes. It’s been a tough camp for Richie Crawford, a nickle back, who might not make it.
The backups will play tonite. Media and fans say it is a meaningless game. Not so if your name is Pettis, Robinson, Williams, Herndon in San Diego. The roster numbers game is brutal. Salary cap issues, last minute injury issues, depth at one position-thinned out at another, all play a role in what happens starting at midnight on Thursday.
On Friday teams go from 75-to-53 for their active roster. That’s 704-players who will go on waivers. Tomorrow night means much to alot of young players