SAN DIEGO – The Chargers released 23 players Saturday to reach the mandatory 53-man roster limit.
The remaining group includes 29 players on defense, 21 on offense and three specialists.
“We had some close calls there and situations that took a turn,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “When you make a trade or claim a player, that changes your mindset. (
The Chargers kept six cornerbacks, including the newly-acquired Bennett, whom San Diego claimed off waivers Tuesday. Bennett still has not practiced with the team but played against San Francisco in the preseason finale and made an interception. Other members at the position include
The team kept four backs (
The rest of the roster by position includes two quarterbacks, three tight ends, eight offensive linemen, eight defensive linemen, 10 linebackers and five safeties.
As for the larger number of defensive players, Turner said it will give the team great flexibility to adjust the 45-man active roster to fit the opponent.
“In terms of depth and versatility, I don’t know that you could ask for more from our roster,” he said.
Of keeping six cornerbacks, Turner called Strickland an upgrade as the slot cornerback but said Dante Hughes, one of the most improved player, provides insurance should the seventh-year player get injured.
Brandon Hughes may have played his way onto the roster with his performance against New Orleans and San Francisco, Turner said. The first-year cornerback threw a block that sprung
If the Chargers face a team that throws the ball an inordinate amount, they may activate five or six corners on gameday. If they play a team that wants to pound the ball on the ground, they may activate six defensive linemen.
Roster turnover was limited, part of the reason Turner has expressed excitement in a group that finished 13-3 last season and won its fourth consecutive AFC West championship. Eleven players that weren’t on the roster last season made the team, including Brandon Hughes, who spent last year on Reserve-Injured. Crayton, Strickland, Bennett and tight end
Crayton, who ran routes with
“He’s an outstanding athlete. People think of him as an inside receiver but he plays awfully well on the outside. Very long arms,” Turner said. “He’s very smooth. I think he’ll take to the way we teach routes real well. He’s got good run after the catch.”
Five rookies made the roster, including three draft picks. Lang played defensive end at Troy, following Pro Bowl alumni DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora, and stormed to 18 sacks as a junior and senior.
He’ll be expected to switch to outside linebacker with the Chargers, but his biggest contributions could come on special teams. He blocked a punt that resulted in a safety against the Bears in the preseason opener and recovered a fumble against the 49ers.
Otterson overcame a strained MCL that relegated him to the sideline during OTAs (Organized Team Activities). He’s the only rookie offensive lineman on the roster.
Otterson started at left tackle for three years at Wyoming and played at the position during the preseason.