With the release of Scott Tolzien, the Chargers have decided to carry two quarterbacks--just like they did for the majority of the 2010 season. For a team with championship aspirations that is also intent on having special teams depth, it is the correct move. Tolzien was very impressive in the preseason finale against the 49ers and also piqued the interest of Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee throughout training camp. However, Tolzien added little value to the team this season as a member of the active roster.
Billy Volek has been the back-up every year under Norv Turner and has proven he can win games in the regular season and even engineer a comeback in the postseason. It can happen, but it is rare for a team to lose both its starting and back-up quarterbacks to major injuries. Should that occur, chances are that team will not be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Philip Rivers is a superstar QB in his prime and going nowhere. Volek signed a two-year deal this offseason. There really was nowhere for Tolzien to move up. It would have been nice for him to learn more from Rivers and Norv, but now he gets a chance to seriously compete for the back-up job in San Francisco with Colin Kaepernick.
In addition, Alex Smith's stranglehold over the starters job is much less pronounced than Rivers'. If Tolzien turns out to be a star, good for him, because he would not have had that opportunity with the Chargers.
The Chargers have drafted players like Vaughn Martin knowing full well he would take up a roster spot and have little chance of making a positive difference right away. Problem with a third-string, possible back-up QB is he might not ever play.
Keeping defensive players like C.J. Wallace and Andrew Gachker are not exciting at the onset, but they have a clearer path to contribute--through special teams. Stephen Cooper also possess a greater chance to make an impact than Tolzien did simply due to the fact that linebackers rotate for different packages.
Offensive lineman Colin Baxter--now with the Jets--arguably should be treated as a more worrisome loss for the Chargers due to his ability to play multiple positions. Tolzien was only going to help the Bolts on the practice field as long as Rivers is around. With the move, the Bolts front office displayed it is more interested in compiling wins rather than more projects.