AFC West: Ogemdi Nwagbuo
Brown was cut by the Panthers prior to the season and he has been out of work since. He was a second-round pick in 2009 when the Panthers gave up a first-round pick in 2010 to draft him.
The Chargers are banged up at linebacker. Shaun Phillips missed Monday’s game with a foot injury and he could miss more time. The Chargers have 13 sacks this season. The paper reported defensive end Ogemdi Nwagbuo has been cut for the second time in two months to make room for Brown, who could soon get a chance to play in the Chargers’ rotation.
Meanwhile, the paper reported that the Chargers' running back injury woes continue. Starter Ryan Mathews (groin) and backup Curtis Brinkley (concussion) could be questionable against Green Bay on Sunday. Mike Tolbert missed Monday’s game with a hamstring injury, but he could play Sunday. The Chargers will need him ... and perhaps someone else in that game.
I found it interesting to see San Diego coach Norv Turner say Tuesday that quarterback Philip Rivers is pressing. Turner said Rivers is sometimes trying to make plays where there are none.
I don’t think Turner was calling out Rivers. The two have a good relationship. I just think Turner was being honest and he wants to help Rivers get out of any issue he may be having.
The Chargers signed receiver/returner Bryan Walters to the practice squad. He was cut from the 53-man roster Monday.
- Matt Williamson thinks Corey Liuget is a perfect fit in San Diego. I agree. I think we’ll see big things from the Chargers’ first-round pick this season. Also, as part of his weekly rookie watch, Williamson continues to laud Denver linebacker Von Miller.
- As expected, the Chargers signed defensive end Ogemdi Nwagbuo. He was earlier in the month. Starting defensive end Luis Castillo is out for an extended period of time with a broken leg. Nwagbuo is a quality player and he will fit in well in the Chargers’ rotation.
- After a shaky start in Denver, here is another ESPN video debate on whether or not it’s time to start Tim Tebow in Denver. Folks, expect such talk to intensify if the Broncos continue to falter on offense.
The reliable placekicker is out for the year after he suffered a torn ACL on the opening play of the 2011 season, a kickoff that Minnesota’s Percy Harvin took back 103 yards for a touchdown in an eventual 24-17 San Diego win.
There were strong indications Sunday that Kaeding -- who was ably replaced by punter Mike Scifres -- would be out for the year. The Chargers will work out kickers Tuesday and make a quick decision.
San Diego will miss Kaeding. He is a consummate pro and he is very accurate. His injury has to be pegged on the Chargers’ special teams, which ruined last season.
While the unit looked good in the preseason and it improved during Sunday’s game, there is no way Kaeding should have to try to make a tackle. Now, he’s out for the season and it will be up to his replacement to keep up his end of the unit.
The Chargers did get better news on defensive end Luis Castillo. He has a broken leg, but he could be back later in the season. The San Diego Union Tribune reports the team will likely bring back Ogemdi Nwagbuo to take Castillo’s place. Nwagbuo is a solid player who was one of the team’s toughest cuts.
The team also got good news on the knee injury suffered by running back Mike Tolbert, who scored all three of San Diego’s touchdowns Sunday. Tolbert is expected to be fine.
Surprise move: There were some familiar names on the Chargers’ cut list. Defensive end Ogemdi Nwagbuo was productive last year, and he was a popular member of the team. Receiver Seyi Ajirotutu also made some plays last season when the Chargers’ receiving crew was depleted. There was also a thought that undrafted rookie quarterback Scott Tolzien would be kept after a strong summer. I’m sure the Chargers will try to put him on the practice squad.
No-brainers: In the end, receiver/returner Bryan Walters and linebacker Darryl Gamble, an undrafted rookie, were too good to cut. Anyone who paid attention to San Diego in the preseason saw these two youngsters make play after play. Now, they have jobs. Expect them both to contribute on special teams this season.
What's next: The Chargers on Saturday signed veteran linebacker Na'il Diggs. The 12-year veteran is a leader, and he could push for playing time at inside linebacker. San Diego will probably look at the waiver wire for help in the secondary, offensive line and receiver.
- Kelvin Hayden had been connected to Oakland by media reports earlier this month. He has now signed with Atlanta. I think the fact that Oakland signed veteran cornerback Lito Sheppard last week showed the Raiders weren't overly interested in Hayden.
- Here are some Raiders’ practice notes. The highlights include a feisty Hue Jackson and tight end Kevin Boss saying he hopes his knee is healed enough for him to play at Denver in 12 days. Also, Jackson backed off his earlier claim that rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor will play Friday at Seattle. Jackson said he has not made his final decision, but reading between the lines I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t play.
- The Raiders claimed linebacker Jeremy Leman off waivers from the Chargers. He was cut Tuesday. The Raiders could continue to look for linebackers after Saturday’s cuts. Leman played for Oakland defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan in the UFL.
- The San Diego Union Tribune takes a stab at the guessing what will be the Chargers’ 53-man roster come Saturday.
Let’s examine some of the highlights:
- Receiver Legedu Naanee was not tendered and will be unrestricted. He could come back, but other teams may be interested in him. Naanee has good potential, but has had problems staying healthy. A recent arrest for public intoxication and resisting arrest won’t help him get a raise from any team.
- Receiver Malcom Floyd was given a first- and third-round tender in case he becomes a restricted free agent, which may be unlikely per a new CBA. He will likely be an unrestricted free agent. He is a top priority for this team.
- Safety Eric Weddle received the first-round tender as a restricted free agent, but like Floyd, he’ll likely be unrestricted as well. It is a risky move because Weddle is a valued player, but it may be a bit of a stretch to think a team may give up a first-round pick for Weddle. It’s rare that teams give up premium picks in restricted free agency.
- Defensive end Ogemdi Nwagbuo was re-signed. The Chargers like him a lot and he is a good rotational player. This is a good signing.
- Those receiving second-round tenders are tenders were linebacker Antwan Applewhite, tackle Jeromey Clary and running back Mike Tolbert. The only player in the group I could see getting a look is Tolbert, who’ll likely stay a restricted free agent. He is a very valuable player and I could see him getting an offer. The Chargers highly value him and may try to complete a long-term deal.
- Linebacker Brandon Siler was given a seventh-round tender. That essentially makes him unrestricted. I could see a team quickly jumping on Siler, forcing the Chargers to decide whether to match in restricted free agency.
Nwagbuo had an ankle injury. The team signed defensive tackle Antonio Garay from the New York Jets’ practice squad. Garay played under San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and defensive line coach Don Johnson while in Chicago.
Nwagbuo started five games this season. He had 25 tackles and one sack. The Chargers lost standout defensive tackle Jamal Williams for the year after the first game of the season.
San Diego’s Malcolm Floyd is starting for Chris Chambers at receiver. Chambers has been dealing with an ankle injury and he is not having a productive season. He is active Sunday.
San Diego inside linebacker Kevin Burnett is out with an ankle injury for the second straight week. He is being replaced by Tim Dobbins.
San Diego defensive tackle Ian Scott is starting for Ogemdi Nwagbuo, who has been dealing with an ankle injury.
Oakland receiver Chaz Schilens is out because of a setback in his return from a broken foot. He has been out for 10 weeks.
Guard Robert Gallery is inactive. The team was hopeful he could play for the first time since suffering a broken leg in Week 2.
It is 74 degrees with perfect conditions in San Diego.
San Diego standout center Nick Hardwick made significant but incremental progress Wednesday by practicing on a limited basis. He has been out since suffering a major ankle injury in Week 1 at Oakland. He had surgery and there were initial thoughts he’d be out until December.
He could potentially come back in two to three weeks. Hardwick’s return could be a major boost for San Diego, especially in the running game.
Also in the AFC West:
- San Diego linebacker Kevin Burnett didn’t participate in practice Wednesday because of the ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s game. Defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo (ankle) was also held out of practice. Linebacker Shawne Merriman was limited with a foot injury.
- Oakland linebacker Ricky Brown continues to be out with an ankle injury. Defensive end Greg Ellis didn’t practice because of a knee injury. Receiver Chaz Schilens didn’t practice due to a foot injury. Schilens suffered a setback last week in his recovery. He has been out for 10 weeks with a broken foot. Guard Robert Gallery practiced on a limited basis for the first time since breaking his foot in Week 2.
- The Chiefs have not announced a decision on the future of running back Larry Johnson. He has been banned from team activities while the Chiefs investigate homophobic comments he made earlier this week. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Johnson is not expected to play Nov. 8 at Jacksonville. The Chiefs have a bye this Sunday.
- Denver safety Brian Dawkins practiced Wednesday on a limited basis. Dawkins suffered a hamstring injury against the Chargers on Oct. 20. Defensive tackle Ronald Fields also didn’t practice (hamstring).
- Denver quarterback Kyle Orton and linebacker Elvis Dumervil remain on the ESPN.com MVP watch list.
- Former Kansas City assistant coach Darvin Wallis has died. He was 60. He was a defensive assistant/quality control coach for 19 years.
- Tackle Chris Patrick left Kansas City’s practice squad to sign with San Francisco’s active roster. The Chiefs added defensive back Ricky Price to take Patrick’s spot on the practice squad.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
SAN DIEGO -- It is 80 degrees here as we await kickoff between the Ravens and Chargers.
- San Diego right guard Louis Vasquez is inactive with a knee injury. Backup tackle Brandyn Dombrowski is making his first start in Vasquez’s place.
- The Chargers are without 40 percent of their offensive line against Baltimore. Standout center Nick Hardwick is out with an ankle injury. Scott Mruczkowski is playing for Hardwick.
- Darren Sproles will start in place of LaDainian Tomlinson at tailback. Tomlinson was ruled out Friday with an ankle injury.
- Ogemdi Nwagbuo will start at nose tackle for Jamal Williams, who was put on the injured reserve Saturday with a triceps injury.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
This is the type of injury that can alter a team’s Super Bowl plans.
I’m not saying the San Diego Chargers’ chances of winning their first Super Bowl are dead as a result of the team putting defensive tackle Jamal Williams, one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the NFL, on the injured reserve with a triceps injury.
|Rick Stewart/Getty Images|
|Losing Jamal Williams is a huge blow to the Chargers defense.|
But this is a devastating blow and it will change the way the Chargers play defense. They won’t be able to control the middle of the defense like they did with Williams.
This will have a similar effect on San Diego’s defense as last year when the team played all but one game without standout linebacker Shawne Merriman. It took San Diego about half the season to adjust playing without Merriman and it was never the same defense.
The loss of Williams will particularly hurt San Diego’s run defense. He was a premier run stuffer, who clogged the middle.
Backup Ogemdi Nwagbuo will have to play more and newly acquired Travis Johnson, who is injured and who won’t play Sunday against Baltimore, will likely play defensive tackle when he recovers. The Chargers wanted him to play defensive end when they acquired him from Houston.
Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera will have to get creative and find different ways to clog the middle without Williams. The loss of Williams means the Chargers really need Merriman to return to full strength. He said he is still some time away from being 100 percent. Merriman played well last week, but didn’t have the same pass-rush burst he had before being injured.
The Chargers were battered before the surprising news about Williams surfaced. Friday, San Diego coach Norv Turner said Williams was questionable to play against the Ravens.
Starting running back LaDainian Tomlinson and center Nick Hardwick, both with ankle problems, will not play against the Ravens. Rookie guard Louis Vasquez is also banged up with a knee injury. He may not play Sunday.
San Diego had to fight and come back to win at Oakland on Monday night. They now enter a tough three-game stretch with home games against the physical Ravens and Miami before hitting the road to play Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh.
With Oakland and Kansas City playing well in defeat and Denver winning in Cincinnati, the bottom feeders in the AFC have some early life. If the improvement continues in those three cities and the problems continue to pile up in San Diego, this season could be more interesting than previously thought.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
• The Chargers say they will stay in San Diego in 2009. The chances of the Chargers moving to Los Angeles will increase if a stadium deal in San Diego isn't figured out.
• The Kansas City Star handicaps potential coaching candidates for the Chiefs' opening. There have been no reported interviews. The speculation remains that the team will pursue Arizona offensive coordinator Todd Haley after the Super Bowl.
• Former Seattle and San Francisco assistant John Marshall is expected to talk to the Oakland Raiders about their defensive coordinator job as the Raiders continue to try to compile a coaching staff without naming a full-time head coach. Also, former Oakland defensive backs coach Darren Perry is now Green Bay's safeties coach.
The Chargers have re-signed eight players for the 2009 season. They are: linebacker Eric Bakhtiari, wide receiver Gary Banks, running back Eldra Buckley, defensive end Andre Coleman, guard Brandyn Dombrowski, cornerbacks Grant Mason and DeJuan Tribble and defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo. All of the players except Tribble signed for one year. Tribble signed for two years.