The San Diego Chargers snatch up to two superior veterans, offensive tackle Max Starks and defensive end Dwight Freeney both bring experience and will make an impact with the team come fall.
After giving up 49 sacks in 2012, the Bolts upgraded the right side picking right tackle DJ Fluker in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft this past month. His addition only solves half the team’s offensive line woes, so it was critical general manager Tom Telesco find a veteran lineman to help protect quarterback Phillip Rivers blindside in 2013.
This past week the Bolts did exactly that by signing veteran left tackle Starks to a one year deal. He spent his entire nine-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and played in all 16 regular season games last season.
Obviously, Starks is a temporary solution to help rebuild the offensive line in 2014, but he does add strength and veteran experience to an inexperienced offensive line for the 2013 season.
How effective will Starks be on the left side of the offensive line for the Bolts?
Well, If he can give Rivers any time to throw and add somewhat of a running attack for running back Ryan Mathews, it will be a successful offseason for Telesco and new head coach Mike McCoy. However, if Starks resembles anything like Jared Gaither, it will be another long season for Rivers whose patience with fans is on ice with this mediocrity the last two years.
The other addition made this past week by the Chargers was the signing of defensive-end Dwight Freeney
The team certainly has had an interesting 2013 offseason that started off with the firing of their head coach Norv Turner and general manager AJ Smith. Including the selection of linebacker Manti Te’o in the second round of the draft raised eyebrows, but the roller coaster ride did not end there. Last week, the Bolts lost their best pass rusher in second year linebacker Melvin Ingram to an ACL tear. His absence leaves an enormous hole on the defensive side of the football. Larry English is underachieving first round pick and Jarrett Johnson is a run stopper.
Did the desperate Chargers front office panic and choose the right free agent to fill Ingram’s void? Is the former Colt Defensive Lineman Freeney really the answer to San Diego’s pass rushing woes?
The fans hear the name Freeney, and the idea of the Pro Bowl pass rusher who has collected 378 tackles, 107.5 sacks, and one Super Bowl Ring over his 11 year career. But instead, the Chargers have signed a 33 year old player whose best days are behind him.
Since 2009, Freeney’s been plagued with injuries and a drop in sacks each year. He collected only 12 tackles and five sacks while battling a high ankle sprain in 2012. He did have a sack in each of the final three games last year, the physicality of the NFL proved time and time again that age is a deterrent for many veterans.
There is no doubt Freeney has the skills and the experience to help the Chargers on the pass rush if he stays healthy and the team uses him effectively, but the Chargers should definitely prep for another option in case he finds himself sidelined again with leg problems.