Snaps Lost: San Diego Chargers
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
San Diego Chargers
Overall FTE Lost: 6.37, 24th
FTE Lost: 2.73, 17th
Biggest Losses: Chad Rinehart (1,089), Eddie Royal (773), Rich Ohrnberger (453)
Summary – Rinehart was released after playing every snap last season, though he amassed a -22.7 grade in doing so. As a result he has drawn little interest as a free agent. Royal reunited with Jay Cutler in Chicago once his three-year stint in San Diego was up, vacating the Chargers’ third wide receiver position. Like Rinehart, Ohrnberger (-11.0) had a less than stellar year when asked to fill in at center and was not re-signed after finishing the year on Injured Reserve.
Replacement Plan – He didn’t come cheap, but Orlando Franklin will provide an immediate upgrade on Rinehart while weakening a division rival. At center, Nick Hardwick’s retirement means that Chris Watt should get the nod this year. He could have done much worse than the -3.0 he earned last year when pressed into duty as a third-round rookie, and with any luck he’ll be better in Year 2. Former Bill and 49er Stevie Johnson will get a chance to show the world what he can do with a top-tier quarterback throwing him the ball and should fit in nicely as the team’s third option at wideout.
FTE Lost: 3.64, 25th
Biggest Losses: Marcus Gilchrist (1,014), Shareece Wright (853), Dwight Freeney (590), Jarret Johnson (556), Andrew Gachkar (395)
Summary – The loss of both Gilchrist and Wright will open up two holes in the secondary. Both graded in the red for their work in 2014, but Gilchrist’s previous body of work earned him a four-year deal with the Jets. Meanwhile, Wright is taking his chances with a one-year gig in San Francisco. Freeney and Johnson were both good players but about as different as two outside linebackers could be. Johnson has since retired and Freeney may not be far behind him, as the 35-year-old defender remains without a team. Gachkar took a nice raise to play in Dallas after his rookie contract expired.
Replacement Plan – With the excellent Eric Weddle established at one safety position, Jahleel Addae could move into a full-time role in 2015, though San Diego signed the versatile Jimmy Wilson, who may see time at safety this year, too. Jason Verrett, last year’s first-round selection, was playing tremendously (+8.1 grade on just 230 snaps) prior to his injury. If he’s healthy he should move into a full-time role opposite Brandon Flowers, likely leaving Wilson or Patrick Robinson as the nickel corner. Gachkar’s loss will be accounted for if Manti Te’o can stay on the field, but the Chargers are a bit thinner at outside linebacker. A healthy Melvin Ingram can up his snap count some, but the bulk of those nearly 1,100 snaps will come from a less proven player like Tourek Williams or Jerry Attaochu.