San Diego Chargers: Twitter Mailbag February 7th, 2012

Next question. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

In case you aren't on Twitter or were busy this morning, I told people to tweet their questions at me and I'd answer them on the site today. Considering the huge response I got, and lots of good questions to boot, this might have to be a regular thing. To the questions....

A nearly impossible question this year because, opposite from last season, free agency has been restored to its normal schedule and will be before the NFL Draft. We know the Chargers will be looking for a pass-rusher and an offensive lineman. We know they could use some help/depth at WR, TE, RB/FB and Safety as well.

I think the Chargers use their first-round pick on an offensive lineman of some sort. Either a Guard/Center for whatever hole is left by Kris Dielman (who might retire) and Nick Hardwick (who is currently a FA with leverage), or a Tackle that would let them move Jeromey Clary to Guard. After that, I'd say they go after a Wide Receiver and a Defensive Lineman.

Yes and no. The depth was actually good enough that the Chargers were usually down 60% of their starters and the only backup that couldn't hold his own was Brandyn Dombrowski. However, with Hardwick a FA, Marcus McNeill recovering from another neck injury and Dielman's future uncertain, OL depth becomes an issue again.

The emphasis on pass-rushers is simple, though. Pass-rushers are a cure-all. A dominant pass-rusher can make up for a bad secondary. Hell, he can make up for a bad offense (see: Von Miller). Pair him with a good secondary or a good offense, and you have a 14-2 season or a run to the AFC Championship Game. If you didn't get that reference, the Chargers need to find someone to fill Shawne Merriman's shoes.

I expect a splash. A.J. Smith is not stupid. He knows that building for the future, while still important, is not as important as keeping his job. A winning season and a playoff win or two would go a long way towards accomplishing the latter, and he might be willing to mortgage a tiny bit of the future to get it.

Yes. He'll probably start the season as the backup OT, which makes him a giant upgrade over Dombrowski.

Based on need, Mario Williams. As mentioned earlier, a dominant pass-rusher can carry a team on his back. In his first season as a 3-4 OLB, Williams was on pace for 16 sacks last season. That's dominant. He's also only 27 years old, so he could be worth whatever he costs at the end of a long-term deal.

Williams might not be Julius Peppers, but he has that potential and he's younger. Whoever lands Williams is going to immediately boost their pass-rush significantly, and he's not bad against the run either. If anyone is going to step in and be the new Merriman from Day 1, Williams is the best candidate.

Are we talking 6 consecutive losses again? Because that was somewhat unprecedented for Norv. If he can pull that one off again, then it's possible.

I know everyone hates Norv and wants to fire him ASAP. There are plenty of good reasons not to fire him mid-season though....

1. He runs the entire offense by himself, although that may be less true with Steve Fairchild here (like it was less true when Rob Chudzinski was here). Getting rid of him means starting from scratch, going back to step one, in the middle of the season. So you're essentially eliminating your chances of winning for the rest of the year because.....yeah, I know know either.

2. If there was a hot young assistant or coordinator on the team and you wanted to "test him out" as the head guy, then maybe you try it. Who would that be on the Chargers? I guess it depends on their opinion of Pagano mid-season, but if the team is losing 6 straight I can't imagine that it will be good.

3. When you make someone an Interim Head Coach, it's awfully hard to them demote him after that. So, even if they hate Norv by mid-season, they stand a better chance at retaining a coordinator they like (like Pagano) the following year if they just let Turner play the year out. Again, if there's less of a chance to win games by firing the guy, why would you do it mid-season?

I think the situation needs some decisive action, honestly. If they're ready to call Darrell Stuckey their starting Safety, then do it. If not, they can't keep teasing people with prospects of Quentin Jammer playing there sometime in the future. Move him now (he can play lots of man, blitz a lot and even play nickel CB in one of those "3 Safeties" formations...so not always a Safety), name Antoine Cason and Marcus Gilchrist as starters and work from there. If the CBs don't play well, we can draft more or sign more later. The only reason to move Jammer back is if he plays horribly.

I just think the indecision and the waiting aspect of it is hurting everyone, including Jammer. Let him get on with the next part of his career instead of trying to figure out if that starts now or later.

I sort of answered both of these in terms of my opinion. I'd go after a pass rusher in free agency and I'd move Jammer to SS.

We already have our "project" pass-rushers in Antwan Barnes and Larry English (assuming he's back). Adding a third one to the mix with Shaun Phillips seems like a step sideways instead of forward. Adding an accomplished pass-rusher like Mario Williams, who makes Phillips the 2nd best pass-rusher on the team, seems like a big step forward for a defense that needs it.

I don't think I'd be thrilled with an early SS draft pick just because Darrell Stuckey hasn't been bad when he's been out there. Now, if the team could sign someone like Tyvon Branch away from the Raiders, I'd be okay with that. However, I don't think that's a high priority with other SS options on the team (Jammer, Stuckey, Gilchrist, Eric Weddle).

1. Mario Williams
2. Cliff Avril
3. Carl Nicks
4. Robert Mathis
5. Michael Bush

20%, if I'm not being modest.

Sometime before the draft. Perhaps the weekend right before.

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