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Chargers need to improve depth

Posted Feb 25, 2012

General Manager A.J. Smith feels the back end of the roster was not strong enough in 2011. Head Coach Norv Turner believes developing younger players already on the roster is the biggest priority of the offseason.

INDIANAPOLIS – Playing in the NFL is no pillow fight.

The rhetoric, hyperbole and legitimate health cases are enough to line books from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to Chargers Park in San Diego, 10 times over.

Football players get hurt. The result is your starting 22 on offense and defense won’t remain the same for all 16 games of the regular season.

Teams carry 53 players on their roster and suit 46 on game days. And San Diego, in back-to-back disappointing seasons, fell one game short of postseason in part because the Chargers did not cope with injuries as well as some other teams.

“I need to do a better job in the backup type players that could be called upon to step up and hold the fort for a period of time,” General Manager A.J. Smith said. “That’s something we’re concentrating on at all levels, whether they be draft picks, free agent pickups, during the season or whatever it is. We have to look hard and get some better players.”

San Diego did have some players step in and perform. Rookie receiver Vincent Brown, rookie cornerback Marcus Gilchrist, third-year defensive end Vaughn Martin and four-year guard Tyronne Green all did some good things while replacing injured players, but showed their youth at times. Jared Gaither was a dominant left tackle for a short stretch after San Diego claimed him off waivers.

“Guys that had opportunities to play can continue to develop,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “To me the No. 1 priority (this offseason) is those guys being a year better, them continuing to develop and doing the things we have to do through our offseason program.

“Some of the younger guys will become full-time players, whether it be third down, in a goal-line package or in a specific situation.”

LB PRAISES BARRY: Fifth-year senior linebacker Chris Galippo played for Chargers linebackers coach Joe Barry the last two seasons.

“(He’s) just one of the best teachers I’ve ever been around,” Galippo said. “He knows the game so well. He’s one of the best linebacker coaches in the game, for sure.”

Barry has coached with Monte Kiffin. His father is former NFL offensive line coach Mike Barry and he’s the son-in-law of former Detroit coach Rod Marinelli.

“He’s a great coach and he’s got a great family,” Galippo said.

RIVERS COMPARISON: Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler measured a fraction under 6-foot-7 and uses a unique throwing motion.

Osweiler spent time with coaches Dennis Erickson and Noel Mazzone to shorten his delivery in college.

“Not at all,” Osweiler said when asked if teams seem to have questions about his throwing motion. “A few teams asked if I’ve done anything different these past couple weeks. In fact, a few of the teams compare me to Philip Rivers and they said, ‘You know what, he’s had a great career, so I’m not too worried about your throwing motion, as long as you’re accurate.’”

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