This seems like deja vu all over again, doesn't it? Last year it was Donald Butler, this year it's Jonas Mouton; the San Diego Chargers seem to have trouble keeping their rookie linebackers healthy. Although it's Mouton's shoulder that's the issue, thankfully he didn't blow up his Achilles like Butler did last year. It would appear that another linebacker drafted by AJ Smith isn't exactly panning out early. Has AJ drafted a good linebacker since 2005 when he drafted Merriman?
Mouton injured his shoulder late in the preseason and the team was hopeful they'd be able to treat it and he'd see some time on the field this season. His shoulder wasn't responding to treatment as well as they had hoped, and surgery is a possibility. Naturally, the team wanted to free up his roster spot since it wasn't looking like he'd make it back, so they brought in veteran Safety Paul Oliver.
If that name sounds familiar to you, good. Oliver spent 4 seasons with the Bolts - from 2007-2010 - and left the team as a free agent during the offseason when the two sides couldn't reach a contract agreement. He joined the New Orleans Saints, but was released on September 2nd after suffering a concussion and has been a free agent ever since. Oliver started in 8 games for the Chargers last season, and has 3 interceptions in 44 games played with the Chargers.
By replacing a linebacker with a safety, the Chargers seem confident having Stephen Cooper, Na'il Diggs and Andrew Gachkar backing up Takeo Spikes and Donald Butler.
Bob Sanders did not practice on Wednesday, suffering what the team calls "knee soreness." But this move supposedly isn't in response to Bob's sore knee. Sanders played all but 5 of the team's 72 defensive snaps in New England this past Sunday; more than the Chargers would like considering his injury history. By bringing Oliver in, the Chargers now have more depth at Safety and can hopefully give Bob Sanders more reprieves in games, limiting his injury potential.