This week we look at the Defensive and Offensive lines of the San diego Chargers.
The Chargers line up in a 3-4 on defense. The Nose Tackle is Jamal Williams. He appears to be a prototypical run-stuffing nose tackle. He is 6’3” and 348 lbs. He wears #76. He is in his 11th year (all with San Diego) out of OK St. We have a lot of film on this guy. He has 55 tackles thus far this year with 1.5 sacks. He is listed as questionable for this week with a foot injury. If he cannot play Sunday he is backed up by #97 Ryan Bingham. Bingham is 6’3” and 303. He is a Defensive End pressed into playing NT. Bingham is in his 4th year (all with San Diego) out of Nebraska. In a back-up role at Tackle and End he has 24 tackles this year and 1.5 sacks.
Igor Olshansky #99 normally starts at LDE. He is 6’6” and 309. He has 28 tackles this year and 2 sacks. He is in his fifth year (all with San Diego) out of Oregon. He has missed practice this week with “illness” and his back-up is, you guessed it, Ryan Bingham. Even though he is listed as questionable I can’t help but think we will see Olshansky starting Sunday.
At RDE the Chargers start Louis Castillo. Castillo wears #93 and is 6’3” and 290. He is in his fourth season (all with San Diego) out of Northwestern. He has 38 tackles thus far in 2008
At LOLB the Chargers start Saun Phillips who wears #95. Phillips has 71 tackles and 7.5 sacks. At 6’3” and 262 lbs. Phillips is nearly a DE who lines up in a two point stance. He is in his fifth year (all with San Diego) out of Purdue.
The Left Inside Linebacker is #54 Stephen Cooper. Cooper is 6’4” and 245 lbs. He is in his sixth year (all with San Diego) out of Maine. Coopper leads the front seven with 92 tackles and 1.5 sacks. The Right Inside Linebacker is Matt Wilhelm who wears #57. Wilhelm is 6’4” and 245. He is in his sixth year (all with San Diego) out of Ohio. He has 50 tackles.
Jyles Tucker #94 starts at Right Outside Linebacker in place of Shawn Merriman. Tucker has 36 tackles and is 6’3” and 258 lbs. He is in his second year (both with San Diego) out of Wake forest.
Another Linebacker we cannot omit is Tim Dobbins. I think he comes in on the weak side in the middle in their nickel packages. Dobbins is 6’1” and 246. He is in his third year (all with San Diego) out of Iowa St. He has 53 tackles, three Forced Fumbles and one Interception thus far in 2008. He sure would look good with a horse on his helmet.
San Diego’s offensive Line is anchored by their pro-Bowl Center Nick Hardwick. Hardwick is 6’4’ and 295 and wears #61. He was hurt in week 15 against Kansas City but is not listed on the injury report this week at all. Hardwick is in his 5th year (all with San Diego) out of Purdue. If he cannot go he is backed up by #62 Jeremy Newberry. Newberry is 6’5” and 315 and in his 11th year. He is in his first year with the Chargers but is credited with three starts.
Mike Goff who wears #61 starts at Right Guard. Goff is 6’5” and 311. He is in his 11th year (five with San Diego). At Right Tackle is Jeromey Clary wearing 366. Clary is 6’6” and 306. He is in his third year (all with San Diego) out of Kansas St.
Kris Dielman starts at Left Guard. He wears # 68 and is 6’4” and 310 lbs. He is in his sixth season (all with San Diego) out of Indiana. The Left tackle is #73 Marcus McNeill who is 6’7’ and 336 lbs. He is in his third year (all with San Diego) out of Auburn.
The Tight End is Antonio Gates. Gates is 6’4’ and 260 lbs. He wears #86. He has 57 receptions for 655 yards. He is in his 6th year (all with San Diego) out of Kent State. The other Tight End (the one you don’t hear as much about) is Brandon Manumaleuna who wears #86. This guy is 6’2” and 288 lbs. He is an eight year veteran out of Arizona (three with San Diego). He has 13 receptions for 110 yards.
The San Diego front office has been criticized heavily and a good deal of it was rightfully deserved, but no one can deny that from three to six years ago when they had some pretty high draft choices the Chargers quietly built a very solid team in the trenches. This group of men has now played together in the same system and is formidable on both sides of the ball.
Firstfan’s thoughts: For the second week in a row I think we can win in the trenches but only if we play our best game. I think our O-Line can open holes and lanes for our Running Backs, particularly if Williams is slowed and/or if Olshansky is hampered. If we can get Phillips, Cooper and Dobbins to be making tackles six and eight yards from the LOS, then I see us dominating TOP. On the other hand if we throw too many incomplete passes and go three and out too many times I see San Diego jumping to a lead and holding on. Hoosierteacher and Ted Bartlett will have more on the “skilled” positions on other posts but this serves to give us a look at the warriers we face in the real battle ground. This will be a great match up and the victor will be decided In the Trenches.