NFL roster cuts: AFC | NFC

NFL Nation: Tyronne Green

Practice report: Day 3 in Philly

August, 8, 2013
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Patriots and Eagles wrapped up their week of joint practices on Thursday, conducting a light workout in helmets and shells with a focus on special teams and situational work.

It was the third joint practice of the week, an experience that both teams seemed to view as productive.

From an attendance standpoint, second-year cornerback Alfonzo Dennard left the field early with strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash. He eventually returned alongside Nash, though he did not participate in drills from that point on. It is unclear the nature of the issue he is dealing with.

The following players were not spotted during the workout: receivers Michael Jenkins and Mark Harrison, cornerback Ras-I Dowling, safety Nate Ebner, tight ends Brandon Ford and Rob Gronkowski, offensive linemen Marcus Cannon, Markus Zusevics, Tyronne Green and Kevin Haslam, and defensive linemen Jermaine Cunningham and Armond Armstead.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday, the first exhibition game for both teams.
The Chargers signed former Buffalo guard Chad Rinehart.

He is a favorite of scouts. He has started 14 games in the past two years and will likely get a chance to start. The Chargers have two openings at guard with Louis Vasquez leaving for Denver and Tyronne Green being a free agent.

The Chargers signed tackle King Dunlap on Tuesday. He may get a chance start on the right side. The Chargers have holes on the offensive line, but they are, at least, creating competition.

Rinehart played for new San Diego offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris in Buffalo. The Chargers had interest in Buffalo star guard Andy Levitre, but he signed a high-dollar deal with the Titans. Clearly, D’Alessandris thinks Rinehart, a much cheaper option, can help.

Meanwhile, CBS Sports reports the Eagles are looking at San Diego pass-rusher Antwan Barnes.

Also, San Diego cornerback Antoine Cason is visiting the Cardinals.

Fixing Chargers starts on O-line

February, 7, 2013
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The San Diego Chargers have started 2013 on the right foot by hiring general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy. Both men are considered among the best young, promising people in their position.

The fresh philosophy is a good start, but the Chargers need to replenish their talent. It starts on the offensive line. The Chargers have been ravaged by injuries and bad luck on the offensive line. Fixing the unit is the top priority of the offseason.

Let’s take a look at who the San Diego offensive line shakes out:

Tackles: The left tackle position is the Chargers’ greatest need. Jared Gaither was signed to a big contract last season, but he can’t be counted on because of injury concerns. The Chargers will almost certainly move away from him. Finding a left tackle will be a top priority either in free agency or with the No. 11 pick in the draft. Right tackle Jeromey Clary isn’t a top level right tackle, but the Chargers can get by with him. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team tries to find a better option.

Guards: Starters Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green are both free agents. Vasquez is a priority. Green is an average starter. Keeping Vasquez is needed, and then the Chargers can make a decision on Green. But upgrading there would be beneficial.

Center: Nick Hardwick is still a plus player. He is 31, but he is a solid starter along with Vasquez.

The team has a chance to improve, but getting better protection for quarterback Philip Rivers is paramount, starting at left tackle and perhaps, at least, one more starting spot on the line.
The San Diego Chargers, whose already faint playoff hopes took a hit Thursday night when the Bengals beat the Eagles, got some good news when rookie left tackle Mike Harris was listed as probable.

That means the Chargers will play Sunday against Carolina likely with just two starting offensive linemen out. Right tackle Jeromey Clary (knee) and guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) are listed as doubtful to play Sunday. Harris, Clary and Green all missed last week’s win at Pittsburgh. Rex Hadnot will play for Green and Kevin Haslam will play for Clary.

Linebackers Donald Butler (groin) and running back Ronnie Brown (hamstring) are listed as doubtful and linebacker Demorrio Williams (ankle) is out for Sunday’s game.

In other AFC West news:

Denver guard Chris Kuper (ankle) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (ankle) are listed as questionable to play at Baltimore on Sunday. Both players missed last week’s game at Denver and both were limited all week in practice.

Kansas City offensive linemen Ryan Lilja (knee) and Branden Albert (back) are questionable and safety Abram Elam (quad) is doubtful to play at Oakland on Sunday.

For Oakland, safety Tyvon Branch (neck) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) were limited Friday and both are listed as questionable to play Sunday. They will be game-time decisions.

ESPN.com columnist Ashley Fox makes the case for Denver linebacker Von Miller winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.

Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs will be a game-time decision on whether he will play against Denver on Sunday with a biceps injury.

The forecast for Baltimore for Sunday’s critical AFC game between the Broncos and the Ravens is for rain. Thus, the running games for each team will be paramount. That could give an edge to the home team.

In an Insider piece, Chris Sprow looks at possible free agents in 2013.Insider

Oakland’s home game against Kansas City has been ruled a sellout and it will be shown on local television. It is Oakland’s last home game of the season.
Nothing personal against Charlie Whitehurst, but the San Diego Chargers might want to think about sending him out at quarterback Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Why subject starter Philip Rivers to such potential punishment given the team's 4-8 record?

The plan is to finish the season with Rivers, but he won’t have much protection Sunday. According to U-T San Diego, the Chargers are likely to be without three starting offensive linemen: Tackles Mike Harris (ankle) and Jeromey Clary (knee) and guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) are not expected to play.

Kevin Haslam replaced Clary and Rex Hadnot replaced Green, but there is no clear replacement for Harris’ spot. The team will work out some linemen this week. Not knowing Rivers’ blind-side protector six days before the game is unsettling to say the least.

Harris replaced Jared Gaither, who is on injured reserve. The Chargers had immense injury issues on the offensive line last season, too. They hoped this year would be different, but this situation is a mess.

Meanwhile, linebacker Donald Butler is expected to miss his second consecutive game with a groin injury.
Vincent Brown reportedly is running well, but will he be able to play for the San Diego Chargers this season?

Brown
UT-San Diego reports that the second-year receiver, who suffered a broken ankle in the preseason, is nearly at full speed. The team had hoped Brown would be back near mid-season, but his recovery has taken longer.

There are only five games left in the season. Still, San Diego coach Norv Turner told the paper this: "We're getting to the point where -- what's the upside if he's able to come back ... We're a ways away from that decision."

If the Brown can get on the field for the final few games, it will help this offense. Brown, a third-round pick in 2011, came on strong at the end of last season and was great in training camp. Brown has chance to be one of the Chargers’ best offensive weapons when he returns.

Meanwhile, linebacker Donald Butler (groin), receiver Eddie Royal (hamstring) and safety Darrel Stuckey (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. Safety Eric Weddle (concussion) and guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) were among the San Diego players who were limited.
Once upon a time, left tackle was a position of strength and stability for the San Diego Chargers.

That is no longer the case.

For the second straight season, the Chargers have seen their left tackle have his season end because of an injury. San Diego put Jared Gaither on the injured reserve Friday with a groin injury. Thus, undrafted rookie Mike Harris, who has played six games this season, remains the starter, which won’t help turnover-prone quarterback Philip Rivers, who has not been protected well much of this season.

Gaither, who signed lucrative four-year deal with the Chargers in the offseason, was hampered by back and groin injuries all season. He played just four games. He played well late last season after he was claimed off waivers from Kansas City. In San Diego, Gaither replaced Marcus McNeill, who suffered a career-ending neck injury last season. McNeill was considered a top left tackle early in his career, but health ruined a great career and put the Chargers in a tough spot.

They thought Gaither was the answer, but now they are back to Square One.

The massive 6-foot-9 Gaither is talented, but he has never been able to stay healthy. U-T San Diego reports tackle Kevin Haslam is expected to be promoted from the practice squad this weekend.

Meanwhile, receiver/returner Eddie Royal (hamstring) and linebacker Larry English (calf) are out Sunday against Baltimore. Starting guard Tyronne Green (hamstring) is doubtful, and nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin (knee) is questionable.
Norv Turner made the right call.

Yes, Philip Rivers needs the work to prepare for the regular season but, most importantly, Rivers needs to be upright when the Chargers visit Oakland on Sept. 10 for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

Rivers
Turner changed course and decided that backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst will start Friday night against Minnesota. This is the pivotal third preseason game. Starters usually play up to three quarters.

However, the Chargers are without starting offensive linemen Nick Hardwick, Jared Gaither and Tyronne Green because of injuries. Having their star quarterback play in a preseason game with 60 percent of his offensive line missing proved to be too risky.

Again, bravo, Norv.

Yes, Rivers will miss the valuable action. Maybe he can play a quarter or so in the preseason finale next Thursday. Early in the regular season, Rivers will find his groove despite missing Friday night’s game. And he will be healthy. His health wasn’t guaranteed if he was thrown into Friday night’s game.

Star San Diego tight end Antonio Gates is also a healthy scratch. Gates has dealt with injuries for the past four years. He looks great this summer. There is no need risking injury now.

In other AFC West news:

Oakland coach Dennis Allen said receiver Jacoby Ford does not have structural damage in his sprained left foot. That is good news for Ford, who missed several games last season due to a similar injury on the same foot.

Chicago reportedly cut backup running back Kahlil Bell. He could perhaps interest the Chargers and Raiders. Both teams have a need at the position.
SAN DIEGO -- With the outside perception of the San Diego Chargers taking a major tumble, the team, which for so long was built from the inside, changed philosophy in 2012 in a last attempt to keep that proverbial Super Bowl window from slamming shut and causing major upheaval in the organization.

After two playoff-less seasons and a reprieve from ownership, San Diego general manager A.J. Smith made an uncharacteristically heavy play in free agency. Taking advantage of one of the deepest classes in history, the Chargers nabbed more than a dozen free agents to infuse new life into a roster that was still talented but no longer arguably the stoutest in the NFL.

“I love what they have done around here,” said safety Eric Weddle, one of the Chargers' homegrown mainstays. “We hit the lowest of the lows the past two years by not making the playoffs. Getting new blood in here has helped.”

Among the veterans San Diego brought in were running backs Le'Ron McClain and Ronnie Brown, receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal, linebacker Jarret Johnson and defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin.

“The thing about the new guys is they all love football,” San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers said. “They love it. We need guys like that here. … It gives us a new start. Those guys won’t worry about the past. They weren’t here for the slow starts or the six-game losing streak last year. It’s all a new start.”

If this cleansing of the roster doesn’t work, the next restructuring will likely occur up top with the firing of coach Norv Turner and possibly Smith. Yet, in a season of new beginnings, spirits are high.

“I think we can be special,” Weddle said. “There’s still a lot of talent here, with a bunch of new talent. … People may not be expecting much from us this year because we haven’t done anything, so that’s fair. But it’s kind of nice to be under the radar for once.”

THREE HOT ISSUES

[+] EnlargeRyan Mathews
Christopher Hanewinckel/US PresswireThe Chargers aim to lean even more heavily on running back Ryan Mathews this season.
1. Ryan Mathews' workload: Outside of Rivers, there is likely not a more important player in this camp than Mathews. The Chargers all know if Mathews flourishes in his third NFL season, the team will have a strong chance to be successful. Mathews, the No. 12 overall pick in 2010, had a solid second season as he ran for 1,091 yards and averaged a terrific 4.9 yards per carry. This year, the Chargers want to see Mathews become consistent and stay healthy. He will likely be given the chance to to carry the ball 25 times a game, catch several balls out of the backfield and be a factor on third down and in short yardage. This camp is designed to get him prepared for a heavy workload. From what I saw and heard, it seems like Mathews might be up to the task.

“He’s working hard,” Rivers said. “Ryan knows what is expected of him.”

2. Sparking the defense: While the offense in San Diego needs some tweaks, the bigger fixes are necessary on defense, where former linebackers coach John Pagano is in charge of fixing a unit that fell apart last season. He replaces Greg Manusky, who was fired after one season on the job. The biggest issue -- it is a major point of emphasis in camp -- is getting off the field on third down. San Diego was last in the NFL in third-down defense in 2011. It gave up a first down on 49.2 percent of all third downs -- according to ESPN Stats & Information, the worst percentage in the NFL since the 1995 Cleveland Browns. The Chargers have added several pieces to the defense and it has a chance to be much more active -- particularly on passing downs, when No. 1 pick Melvin Ingram will be given a chance to make an instant impact as a pass-rusher.

3. Protect the quarterback: The San Diego offensive line was in shambles for much of last season, and it was a big reason why Rivers struggled for the first 10 games. Mainly due to poor health, San Diego used 13 offensive linemen last season -- literally taking players off the street at one point in November. With Jared Gaither, claimed off waivers from Kansas City, solidifying the left tackle spot, the unit improved dramatically late in the season. Gaither was re-signed and is being counted on to protect Rivers’ blind side. The steady Tyronne Green takes over for the departed Kris Dielman. Green has fared well when he's had to play. If this unit remains in good health, it should protect Rivers well. If not, trouble could persist. So far, the unit looks good in camp.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM

The passing game looks to be top-notch. After a sloppy start to last season, Rivers finished 2011 strong. He has looked good in camp, and has an interesting group of receivers. Yes, standout Vincent Jackson is gone, but the Chargers have an ensemble group that includes Malcom Floyd, free-agent signees Meachem (New Orleans) and Royal (Denver) and second-year player Vincent Brown. Together, this group should offer Rivers plenty of help.

“We like what we have there,” Turner said. “We like all the pieces. We think we can get some things done in the passing game.”

If the Rivers-led passing attack is back at an elite level, the Chargers will be a threat to win every game. When Rivers is on, San Diego has a chance to score every time the offense hits the field.

REASON FOR PESSIMISM

The Chargers must prove they are totally past their doldrums. The team feels good about itself, but it does every summer. We will not know if San Diego is out of its funk until it’s out.

Yes, the depth looks good, but will it be enough if injuries pile up for a fourth consecutive year? Yes, cutting down on turnovers is a point of emphasis in camp, but once the season starts, will the hard work pay off or will the killer interceptions and fumbles continue?

It has gotten to the point where we can’t trust this team until it shows it is has indeed rebounded.

OBSERVATION DECK

    [+] EnlargeEddie Royal
    AP Photo/Lenny IgnelziReceiver Eddie Royal, an offseason pickup, appears to have clicked with Chargers QB Philip Rivers.
  • Tight end Antonio Gates is turning heads on a daily basis. After dealing with foot-related injuries for four years, Gates is finally completely healthy. He’s slimmed down and he is making a lot of plays. If his health remains, the 32-year-old should make a huge impact.
  • Denver might have lost interest in Royal, but there is a place for him San Diego. Expect Royal to get a lot of work. He has impressed the coaching staff this summer and I expect him to be as favorite a target for Rivers during the season as he has been this summer.
  • The Chargers love what they see in Johnson. He is tough, smart and excellent against the run. They think he can bump the defense up a notch.
  • Linebacker Donald Butler looks good after a strong 2011 season, which was essentially his rookie season because he was injured in 2010. He is just another fascinating young defensive piece on this team.
  • Undrafted rookie quarterback Jarrett Lee looks like a keeper. He got extra work because of a knee injury to Charlie Whitehurst. I could see Lee making this roster. The Chargers were burned last year when they tried to sneak undrafted rookie quarterback Scott Tolzien onto the practice squad; he was claimed by San Francisco. If Lee continues to impress, I think the Chargers will find room for him on the 53-man roster. They need to develop a young quarterback at some point and Lee might be it.

  • The Nate Kaeding-Nick Novak battle at kicker will go down to the wire. If Kaeding stays healthy and kicks well in the preseason, he should win the job.
  • The Chargers love the skill level of Meachem. Perhaps he was lost in the shuffle of the dynamic offensive weaponry in New Orleans. He’ll get his shot in San Diego.
  • The Chargers are pumped about McClain, a free-agent pickup from Kansas City. He will play a lot and should be in the mix for some carries. They like the veteran stability he brings to the offense.
  • Center David Molk, a seventh-round pick, is getting some second-team reps. He may have a future.
  • The Chargers are very happy with pre-camp signings Franklin and running back/special-teamer Jackie Battle. Though they both signed late, I see them both being contributors.
  • Keep an eye on ex-Chief Demorrio Williams. The linebacker has been a camp stud, boasting terrific speed. The Chargers like him in coverage.
  • The Chargers will keep their eyes open for help at certain positions, including cornerback and offensive line, as the summer progresses.
  • Third-round pick Brandon Taylor, a safety, might not make an instant impact, but Taylor has impressed and will get some valuable time behind veteran pickup Atari Bigby, who himself has been outstanding this summer.

  • Brown has been getting looks as the third-down back and will be an occasional Wildcat threat.
  • Running back Curtis Brinkley flashed talent at times last season, but because of the logjam at running back, he is a long shot to make the team.

  • Rookie tight end Ladarius Green has nice receiving skills. I can see him making an impact behind Gates and Dante Rosario (a very nice backup). Green, a fourth-round pick, needs to learn to block at an NFL level, but he has terrific hands and natural size.
  • Undrafted rookie tackle Mike Harris has taken advantage of an early camp injury to Gaither, getting some reps with the first team. The UCLA product has a chance to make the team. Rivers has joked that Harris has gotten more first-team reps than any undrafted rookie tackle in the history of the NFL.
Three weeks ago, San Diego general manager A.J. Smith said that the team’s offensive line situation was keeping him up at night.

While there still could be some change on the unit charged with protecting star quarterback Philip Rivers, there will be some continuity. ESPN.com's John Clayton reports that left tackle Jared Gaither has agreed to a four-year extension with the Chargers.

He joins center Nick Hardwick who re-signed with the Chargers on Tuesday. Unless the Chargers make a change and draft someone like David DeCastro or delve into the deep guard free-agent class, key backup Tyronne Green is expected to replace the recently retired Kris Dielman.

Gaither was an injury replacement for Marcus McNeill last season. The Gaither re-signing means the Chargers will not look to bring back McNeill at a lesser price unless he is desperate and comes back as a backup when he is medically cleared to return from a neck injury.

Gaither is an interesting player. The massive 6-fot-9, 350-pound Gaither was a standout in Baltimore, but he missed all of the 2010 season with a back injury. Oakland tried to sign him last summer but it had injury concerns. He later signed with the Chiefs.

He was slow to get into the groove with the Chiefs and he was cut after making a critical mistake in a game. The Chargers, who were ravaged by injuries on the offensive line, claimed Gaither and he instantly became the player he was in Baltimore prior to his injury. San Diego is counting on him being that player moving forward.

It’s been a busy early free-agency period for San Diego. The team lost star receiver Vincent Jackson to Tampa Bay and replaced him with New Orleans’ Robert Meachem. The team will also try to re-sign running back Mike Tolbert and defensive tackle Antonio Garay. Tolbert is visiting the rival Chiefs on Wednesday. San Diego will also want to add some more help in free agency, perhaps adding another receiver, and it wants a pass-rusher. But the offensive line issues are now solved and that was Smith’s biggest worry.
The Kansas City Chiefs might be ready to spend some big money in free agency. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the Chiefs are one of three teams that have a visit set up with standout right tackle Eric Winston who was a surprise salary-cap dump in Houston

Schefter reports Miami and St. Louis are also looking to visit with Winston. He would be a terrific fit in Kansas City. He’d be a major upgrade over Barry Richardson, who was the weak link of Kansas City’s offensive line. Winston would solidify a unit that has been in flux the past few years. The University of Miami product started every game for the past five years in Houston.

Signing Winston would also likely allow the Chiefs to concentrate on signing either a defensive tackle or linebacker in the first round of the draft.

The Chiefs -- who have franchise receiver Dwayne Bowe and who have added cornerback Stanford Routt -- have a lot of salary cap room and should be able to sign Winston if they chose to. The Chiefs are entertaining Seattle tight end John Carlson on Tuesday.

In other AFC West news:
  • Oakland free agent Michael Bush bashed folks for reporting that he is visiting the Cardinals. Bush earlier tweeted that he was in Arizona, but said nothing about visiting the Cardinals.
  • Schefter is reporting that Denver free agent Eddie Royal does not yet have a deal done with the Redskins. It has been reported elsewhere that the deal is done. Yet, Schefter said both sides are working to finalize a deal. It makes sense. Royal performed well for Washington coach Mike Shanahan as a rookie in Denver in 2008.
  • The Raiders have officially announced they have cut tight end Kevin Boss. His release was first reported Monday. His agent tweeted earlier Tuesday he expected his client to be cut Wednesday.
  • Schefter reported that the Broncos were one of a few teams to opt to take the extra $1.6 million in salary cap room next year instead of this year. Most teams were given the extra cap room because cap money was taken away from the Redskins and the Cowboys because of cap infractions. The Raiders were one of two teams not to be rewarded extra cap room because of a lesser infraction. The Raiders didn’t face any more penalties.
  • Yet another veteran guard is available. Carolina cut Travelle Wharton. If the Chargers want a veteran to replace the recently retired Kris Dielman, they’ll have their choice. However, the team will likely put Tyronne Green at the spot.
  • Former Oakland starter Jason Campbell has agreed to a one-year deal with Chicago, according to Schefter. I will have more thoughts on this deal later Wednesday.
The San Diego Union-Tribune – which reported Monday that San Diego Chargers guard Kris Dielman was expected to retire – now says Dielman will announce his retirement at a press conference Thursday.

Some thoughts on the decision:

Dielman
Great career: Dielman was an underrated player. He was big, nasty and tough, a reason the Chargers were considered perennial playoff contenders. He set the tone for the line and leaves the game as one of the NFL’s better guards.

Bigger focus on concussions: Concussions have become a lightning rod in the NFL recently. Dielman’s retirement at age 31, in the prime of his career, will be subject of further discussions on the topic. Dielman went on injured reserve after he suffered a concussion – which caused him to stagger on the field – on the road against the New York Jets last October. Dielman suffered a seizure on the flight home that night and had to be hospitalized.

Dielman is reportedly retiring because physicians warned him of potential long-term effects. Concussions are a very real issue in the NFL and this case is more proof that they can prematurely end careers.

What’s next for the Chargers? The Chargers’ offensive line is in flux. In addition to the hole at left guard, the Chargers face potential holes at center and at left tackle — in addition to big needs on defense. Center Nick Hardwick is a free agent. Hardwick wants to return and the Chargers want him back. The team wants to re-sign left tackle Jared Gaither, who excelled after replacing the injured Marcus McNeill. McNeill is expected to be cut in the next week.

The Chargers will have to replace Dielman in-house, in the draft or in free agency. The Chargers will likely look at Stanford guard David DeCastro with their 18th overall pick in April's draft. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay thinks DeCastro is a special talent and could still be on the board when the Chargers select. If not, they could trade down to get another guard; they could also find one in free agency or insert a veteran backup such as Tyronne Green at the spot.

The good news for San Diego is Dielman’s retirement saves the team $5.5 million this season, so it will have more money to spend in free agency. Yet, the reality of seeing a leader and offensive-line anchor like Dielman leave early in his career because of a concussion has to sting.

Congratulations to Dielman on a terrific career and here’s hoping he enjoys retirement in good health.
The AFC West claim game continued for a second straight Wednesday and this one makes perfect sense.

Gaither
Gaither
The San Diego Chargers claimed tackle Jared Gaither off waivers from Kansas City. The Chiefs cut him Tuesday. Last week, it was the Chiefs claiming quarterback Kyle Orton off waivers from Denver.

As soon as Gaither was cut Tuesday, I thought it made perfect sense that he would end up in San Diego. The Chargers have lost six offensive linemen to injuries. To make room for Gaither, left tackle Marcus McNeill was put on the injured reserve with a neck injury he suffered against Oakland on Nov. 10. It had been expected for a while that McNeill likely wouldn’t return this year.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports the Chargers would like Brandyn Dombrowski to continue to replace McNeill. However, Dombrowski is dealing with a foot injury and he did not practice Wednesday.

Gaither can play both left and right tackle. At the very least, he will be a strong backup for the Chargers.

The Chargers may be finally regaining some healthy. The San Diego Union Tribune reported guards Louis Vasquez (ankle) and Tyronne Green (hand) practiced Wednesday for the first time in week as did starting receiver Malcom Floyd, who was out for several weeks with a hip injury.

Chargers' O-line issues mount

November, 23, 2011
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The major injury issues for the San Diego Chargers along the offensive line are continuing. The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that key backup Scott Mruczkowski will be placed on the injured reserve after he suffered a concussion on Sunday at Chicago — the Chargers' fifth consecutive loss.

Standout guard Kris Dielman was put on the injured reserve last week with a concussion; Mruczkowski was playing for Dielman. The Chargers are also playing without starting offensive linemen Marcus McNeill and Louis Vasquez — and Vasquez's backup, Tyronne Green, is dealing with an injury, too.

San Diego signed three offensive linemen last week. It could now sign another one to replace Mruczkowski.

Receiver Malcom Floyd (hip) and linebacker Shaun Phillips (foot) remained out of practice. They’ve both missed several weeks. Running back Ryan Mathews (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Union-Tribune adds, quarterback Philip Rivers convened a short players-only talk on the field after Wednesday's practice.
The San Diego Union Tribune reports the Chargers will be without veteran standout guard Kris Dielman for at least two games. Dielman suffered a concussion against the Jets on Sunday and had a Gran Mal seizure on the team flight home.

Dielman
Dielman
The paper reports the seizure occurred shortly before the team landed in San Diego and an ambulance at the airport took Dielman to a hospital. He was at team meetings Monday, but he has not been cleared, the report said. However, the report said doctors have told Dielman he will recover fully. Tyronne Green will start for Dielman while he is out.

Meanwhile, this is a good sign: San Diego star tight end Antonio Gates practiced fully Thursday in preparation of Monday’s game at Kansas City.

Gates played Sunday after missing three games with a nagging injury. It has bothered him for more than a year and his practice schedule has been seriously altered by it. The fact that he practiced fully Thursday means Gates is making progress.

There were some key San Diego players who didn’t practice Thursday. Receiver Malcom Floyd (hip), linebacker Shaun Phillips (foot) and running back Mike Tolbert (hamstring, hand) were out. We should know more about their chances to play later in the week.

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