San Diego Chargers: Max Starks

Most significant moves: This is a thin roster, so there weren’t a ton of standout cuts here. But there were two veteran names of note to get the axe in the first year of the Tom Telesco-Mike McCoy era in San Diego. Tackle Max Starks and receiver Robert Meachem were cut. Neither were very good this summer. Starks was signed to be the left tackle. But he was beaten out by King Dunlap and then by young Mike Harris to be the swing tackle. Meachem, signed in 2012 by the previous regime to be the No. 1 receiver, was a disaster. The team is thin at receiver and Meachem is guaranteed to make $5 million this season. Still, the Chargers decided to move away from him. Other cuts of note were center David Molk and pass-rusher Thomas Keiser. Both were expected to have roles going into camp.

Going young: This is a team that is rebuilding and the 53-man roster shows it. All six draft picks (cornerback Steve Williams is on the injured reserve) made the team and three undrafted free agents -- safety Jahleel Addae, nose tackle Kwame Geathers and defensive end Brandon Moore -- made the 53-man roster. U-T San Diego reports it’s the first time since 2007 that every draft pick made the team and the first time in 10 years that three undrafted free agents made the roster. Telesco is looking for youth to make an impact. The opportunity is there for these youngsters.

What’s next: This roster is far from set. The Chargers are going to be a work in progress. I expect Telesco will tinker with the bottom of this roster for the next several weeks, maybe even all season. As an executive in Indianapolis, Telesco was known for his eye for talent and for being able to pick up pieces off the street. Thus, this is his time to shine. He has plenty of work to do in San Diego. The Chargers could use depth on the offensive line, at receiver, on the defensive line, at outside linebacker and in the secondary. The team’s special teams was weak in the preseason. That’s a telltale sign of poor depth. So, more players are needed. Among the players San Diego could potentially look at are receivers Lavelle Hawkins, Chris Harper, Russell Shepard, Tavarres King, linemen Ben Ijalana, Fernando Velasco, Jake Scott and Danny Watkins and defensive tackle Drake Nevis.

Players cut: CB Cornelius Brown, OT Nick Becton, DE Frank Beltre, S Sean Cattouse, TE Ben Cotton, CB Marcus Cromartie, LB Phillip Dillard, CB Greg Gatson, CB Logan Harrell, DE Jerrell Harris, RB Michael Hill, CB Josh Johnson, LB Thomas Keiser, WR Robert Meachem, CB William Middleton, LB Dan Molls, WR David Molk, OT Randy Richards, TE David Rolf, G Steve Schilling, OT Max Starks, WR Luke Tasker.
Max Starks was supposed to be the consolation prize at left tackle after the San Diego Chargers couldn’t find a blindside protector for Philip Rivers in free agency or in the draft. However, Starks’ stay in San Diego was short-lived.

In a move that had been expected, the Chargers released the former Pittsburgh starter. He was the biggest name among the 11 players San Diego cut Friday. They still have to trim 11 players to get down to the 53-man limit Saturday.

Starks was never really in the race at left tackle. Fellow free-agent pickup King Dunlap took control of the battle early. In the end, Starks lost his job because he couldn’t hold off second-year player Mike Harris. Harris, an emergency starter at left tackle last season as an undrafted free agent, will be the swing tackle.

Meanwhile, the Jets reportedly have cut defensive tackle Antonio Garay, who had spent the past four seasons with the Chargers. The Chargers don’t have much depth on the defensive line, and Garay knows the San Diego system if the team is looking for a veteran.

Observation deck: Chargers-49ers

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
1:55
AM ET
Random thoughts from the San Diego Chargers41-6 home loss to San Francisco:

OK, it was ugly. Ugly.

What does it mean? Well, the 49ers’ backups are much, much better than the Chargers'. San Diego doesn’t have much depth, and this was a classic fourth preseason game for Mike McCoy’s team. The starters rested. And the backups were hammered.

The Chargers’ depth on the offensive line was exposed. Left tackle Max Starks, signed to start, might not even make the team. He wasn’t very good. I can see Mike Harris being kept over Starks as the swing tackle.

San Diego's special teams were bad again, giving up a blocked punt (the second of the preseason) that resulted in a touchdown. San Diego’s special teams has been bad all preseason, perhaps a byproduct of a lack of depth. It will be something to monitor early in the season.

Receiver Robert Meachem suffered a possible concussion late in the game. He could be cut or put on injured reserve. Regardless, I don’t see a future for Meachem in San Diego, even though he will make $5 million this season.

Guard Johnnie Troutman, expected to provide depth at guard, suffered an arm injury. He missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.

Rookie quarterback Brad Sorensen wasn’t very good after playing well earlier in the preseason, throwing two interceptions. Still, I think he will be the No. 3 quarterback.
Here are three things to watch in the San Diego Chargers’ home preseason game against San Francisco:

Special teams: The San Diego special teams were rotten in the first half of the preseason. It improved in some facets last week. But the team needs to see improvement, especially in the return game.

Tackle race: Veteran Max Starks and youngster Mike Harris are competing to be the swing tackle. Perhaps both will make it, but right now, it seems like Harris, an emergency starter as an undrafted rookie last year, has the edge.

Brad Sorensen: The seventh-round pick has look good in the preseason. He should play a lot in this game. This is his chance to show the Chargers’ brass he has a future as an NFL quarterback.

Raiders, Chargers on the bubble

August, 27, 2013
8/27/13
1:00
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Here are two players each from the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers who may face being cut by Saturday’s 53-man deadline date:

OAKLAND

Guard Mike Brisiel: He is not a great fit for the power-blocking scheme and he has missed time with injuries. But this is not a deep group. Oakland may not feel comfortable getting rid of him.

Tight end Richard Gordon: It would be a surprise, because he is a fine blocker. But Oakland is pretty wide open at tight end. If the Raiders feel like their other young tight ends offer more potential than Gordon, he could be sent packing.

SAN DIEGO

Receiver Robert Meachem: If Meachem wasn’t guaranteed $5 million, there would be no doubt he would be cut. After a poor first season in San Diego last year the new brass isn’t seeing much from Meacham this year. The Chargers are not deep at receiver. But a lack of confidence in him could make his release possible.

Tackle Max Starks: He is battling the young Mike Harris for the swing tackle spot. Starks was signed to be the left tackle, but it seems like that is King Dunlap's job. I could easily see the Chargers go with Harris’ potential over Starks if the team doesn’t think Starks can start.

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