Has this been A.J. Smith's worst season as General Manager of the San Diego Chargers? After an offseason in which he was lauded for his draft picks and free agent acquisitions, the Bolts' roster has come apart at the seams. Consider the following:
Quarterback: Philip Rivers is having the worst season of his career and nobody really knows how to fix him. His backup is Charlie Whitehurst, who is older than Rivers and doesn't have half the potential. There is no third QB.
Running Back: The first month of the season proved that the team has no real answer if Ryan Mathews (who is often hurt) gets hurt. Even with a healthy Mathews, the team hasn't had a rushing TD since October 7th.
Offensive Line: Jared Gaither was being counted on to fill the most important position at the line and played just 4 games. Tyronne Green, expected to replace All-Pro Kris Dielman, has been terrible and is now injured.
Wide Receivers: Free agents Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal were meant to replace Vincent Jackson. Eddie Royal can't stay healthy or contribute much beyond punt returning. Meachem has been thoroughly outplayed by Danario Alexander and Seyi Ajirotutu and is now getting paid millions to ride the bench. Vincent Brown probably will not play a down in 2012.
Tight Ends: The Chargers stocked up on TEs in the offseason, signing Dante Rosario and drafting Ladarius Green. Rosario had one good game in Antonio Gates' absence and Green has barely seen the field at all. Gates is in decline.
See any optimism there? No? Let's try the defense.
Defensive Line: Aubrayo Franklin has been a godsend and Corey Liuget might already be the most dominant 3-4 DE in the history of the Chargers in just his second season. Rookie Kendall Reyes plays like a first rounder when he gets the chance.
Linebackers: Takeo Spikes and Demorrio Williams have worked well to fill the position next to Donald Butler, who has been arguably the team's best player. Shaun Phillips has had a rollercoaster season, as has Antwan Barnes. Jarret Johnson and Melvin Ingram have split snaps, but neither has been incredibly effective. Former first-round draft pick Larry English has been a ghost.
Secondary: Eric Weddle has been his usual, great self at Safety. Oh, there needs to be more? Antoine Cason has been himself, meaning talented but inconsistent. Quentin Jammer looks like he should not be anywhere near a starting Cornerback job. Marcus Gilchrist does not look like he'll ever be a starting CB, but luckily Shareece Wright has been good when healthy. Atari Bigby has been good against the run and atrocious against the pass, and Brandon Taylor will get a chance to steal that SS job this week against the Bengals.
That's more like it! So the defense has been mostly good, with the normal amount of draft picks and free agents working out well, while the offense has been awful at every position group. So is this mess on A.J.'s roster or do you instead blame Norv's gameplanning?