More Injuries Call For More Lineup Changes
By Danny Cox
Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is one that is big for the San Diego Chargers in more ways than one. The Bolts are looking to end a four-game losing streak and also hold onto some chance of ending the season at 8-8 and not have it be a losing year.
There are a few problems standing in their way though. Pittsburgh is fighting for a playoff spot and will have all guns blazing this Sunday so that nothing plunges them into a bigger hole to dig out of. Another problem for the Chargers is that the injury Mack truck is continuing to plow through the entire team. Three players were placed on the Reserve/Injured List for the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday, and that never is a good sign.
Wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu was signed by the Chargers back in late October when Richard Goodman was placed on injured reserve. Ajirotutu has made a good name for himself and helped a struggling offense at times. While he only has three receptions for 45 yards, he still was a great addition. Ajirotutu suffered a hand injury in the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals this past weekend, and it will officially end his season.
Center David Molk also received a season-ending injury against the Bengals by injuring his thumb. Molk has appeared in all 12 games for the Chargers so far this season. His main field of expertise is playing on special teams, but he’s also been placed into the offensive line as an extra body on short-yardage packages.
Lastly, outside linebacker Antwan Barnes is dealing with a hamstring injury that he just won’t end up recovering from enough to play any more this season. Barnes played in 11 of 12 games for the Chargers this season, and even recorded three sacks. Two of Barnes’ sacks came in the loss against Baltimore on Nov. 25, 2012.
In Barnes’ absence, the Chargers signed offensive guard/tackle Reggie Wells. The 10-year veteran was with the Chargers earlier this season, but did not end up seeing any game-time action. There is a good chance now – with the multiple offensive line injuries – that Wells will indeed get playing time now.
Due to Ajirotutu’s season-ending injury, San Diego has re-signed offensive guard/center Colin Baxter. Here is a man that could end up seeing a lot of action with the Bolts before the season is over. Baxter played sparingly with the Chargers in 2011 and also almost made the team this season before being waived in the final round of preseason cuts. Baxter has also spent time with the New York Jets in which he had two starts at center.
Molk’s absence has led to offensive guard/tackle Stephen Schilling also being brought back by San Diego. Schilling was right there with Baxter in the final round of cuts made by the Chargers in late August. Schilling was a sixth-round draft choice of the Chargers in 2011. He played in nine games last season, including two starts. The upside for Schilling is that his playing time could increase dramatically due to being able to play well at both offensive guard positions.
Injuries have destroyed the Chargers this season, and now it just appears as if they are starting training camp tryouts really early.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.