So, we're less than two weeks away from our first preseason foray, and the good news is that all of our draft picks are signed and in camp. Hurray for the rebirth of our running game *crosses fingers*!
Now here's the not so good news. We have two huge holdouts, one veteran who refuses to come in until he's good and ready, one starter gone to free agency and one starter pushed out the door for being caught with a bottle of prescription painkillers in his car.
Gone is our starting CB opposite Quentin Jammer. A lot of people were happy to see Antonio Cromartie go because...he had a bunch of kids(?). Some will say that they feel his production was lacking over the last couple of years, but in all honesty his lack of maturity seems to be the focus of the collective 'good riddance' attitude of the Charger faithful. As far as production, I think the town's tune may change when they see how the guy who couldn't even keep the starting nickel back job fares. And really, starting nickel back is a generous oxymoron.
Gone is starting strong safety Kevin Ellison, replaced by Steve Gregory, the guy who fell into the "starting nickel back" position last year. No matter what Kevin Acee and the slobbering San Diego sports media tell you, Ellison was the starter and was drafted to be so for years to come. He showed enough talent and promise at the position in his first year that he was immediately plucked out of free agency by the Seattle Seahawks. Good for them.
Shawne Merriman-you may have heard of him-is that veteran who refuses to come to camp, but isn't actually holding out. He would be considered a key part of a pass rush no one should have any reason to believe will be any good with or without him this year.
All of that points to a very suspect defense going into the season. It would be nice to have our two pro-bowl offensive holdouts in camp, because it appears that we're gonna to need to put up 30 a game.
Even if you want to believe the coach and GM when they say we will find a way with the guys we have, there is no denying that to put the current group on the field deprives the fans the opportunity to see our best possible team. The rest of the division isn't going to stay down forever, and even so, do we really want a team built only to prey on the weakness of it immediate foes, or do want to field a dominant machine with a very real shot at finally bringing a professional sports championship to San Diego? I want to be optomistic. Our schedule looks weak enough to gain us entry into yet another postseason, but I can't see us competing against teams that have a true dedication to winning. I hope I'm wrong. Go Bolts!!!