There are quite a few intriguing positional battles that are about to play out at Chargers Park. Training camp is right around the corner and general manager Tom Telesco has done a solid job adding depth at many different positions in all three phases of the game in San Diego.
We’ll be going over all of the camp battles as training camp approaches here on BoltBlitz.com. For the sake of this article, we’re going to take a look at the strong safety spot and look at how it could end up playing out.
When looking at the players that the Chargers currently have on the roster that are strong safeties, there’s quite a competition for the number one spot. Below are the individuals that will be battling for the starting spot and players that will be battling for playing time.
While in college at Clemson, Gilchrist played both safety and cornerback. In his first three seasons with the Bolts he has done the same thing. As a Charger, he has seen time at the outside corner position, nickel corner and strong safety. Although he has struggled at times, he did show a lot of improvement toward the end of the 2013 season.
When watching tape on Gilchrist he actually was in the right position to make more plays than his stats would indicate. He’s improved in the tackling department and seemed to settle into the strong safety role sufficiently by the end of the year. It would seem that he’ll go into 2014 as the favorite to begin the year as the starter. But that will be decided during training camp and the preseason.
As an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, Addae was not a lock to even make the roster as a first-year player. He came in and impressed enough that not only did he earn a roster spot, he saw a serious increase in playing time as the year played out. Even as a collegiate player he showed he has a penchant for hitting. The guy will knock you out. That’s also part of the problem as well. He tends to go for the killshot as opposed to making sure that the tackle is made properly.
Though he has a lot to learn as far as coverage ability, he did show improvement throughout the year as he saw more action on the field. You noticed that he was in the right place at the right time more often than earlier in the season with more in-game experience. Despite Gilchrist most likely being the leader to take the starting job, look for Addae to push him and, perhaps, even unseat him at some point during the upcoming season.
For those of you that I have been listening to BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9, hosted by yours truly, you already know a little bit about Darby. He seemed like a very impressive young man who has a good head on his shoulders. What stood out to me was that he kept reiterating that he was always willing to work hard and he would never settle for giving anything but his best effort in all that he does.
Alden is a former defensive back at Arizona State and he proved to be a playmaker while playing for the Sun Devils. Last year he managed to tally 72 total tackles, 4 interceptions ( one of which he took to the house for six ) and two forced fumbles. Darby’s impact on the game did not go unnoticed as he earned the honorary Pat Tillman practice jersey with the team. When speaking to him live on air, he absolutely did not take this honor for granted.
Similar to Addae, Alden is coming in as an undrafted free agent. But you can never have too many playmakers in the secondary. I firmly believe that he will make the 53-man roster, and, in due time, become a player that the defense can count on when he’s on the field. He can contribute immediately on special teams. He’s willing to do whatever the team asks of him. Look out for Alden Darby.
Phillips has his work cut out for him seeing as both Gilchrist and Addae are locks for the team, and the playmaking skills of Darby make him too hard to pass up on. But he also made his fair share of plays in college while playing for the Texas Longhorns. In 50 career games, 28 of which he started, Phillips finished with 206 career total tackles, 6 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
As a senior against West Virginia he ended up with a career-high in tackles with 11. During that same season he snagged two of his six career picks. Again, it will be very difficult for Phillips to find a spot on an already crowded Charger roster. But, if he does enough to impress the Charger coaching staff, maybe he can land a spot on the San Diego practice squad.
So there you have it. This is where you come in. Let me know what you think about the camp battle at strong safety by leaving your comments below.
Thanks a lot for reading.