With the NFL lockout still in place, players that are free agents have a serious disadvantage in trying to get ready for the 2011 season—if there is one. They aren't able to learn the new offensive or defensive system they'd be being placed in and it puts a stress on them to learn it as fast as possible whenever they do sign with a team.
This may not be the same for free agent inside linebacker Takeo Spikes if the San Diego Chargers were to sign the veteran football player. Spikes played for the San Francisco 49ers last season and started next to Pro Bowler Patrick Willis in Greg Manusky's defensive system.
This is relevant due to Manusky being hired this offseason to be the new defensive coordinator for the Chargers. His system is the same one that he ran in San Francisco when Spikes was there. Spikes would have little to no problem learning Manusky's system and would likely be able to help the younger linebackers on the team understand the playbooks.
San Diego has several free agent situations at the linebacker position. Kevin Burnett, who was a sensational player last season, is one of the free agents that general manager A.J. Smith is expected to re-sign and bring back for next season.
Stephen Cooper is an interesting free agent situation in that he's been a Charger for so long, loves the team and organization, but he was injury riddled last year and isn't getting any younger. Should he be re-signed, San Diego would be keeping a fan favorite and a leader on defense, but they wouldn't really be upgrading at linebacker.
Brandon Siler will be looked at by other NFL teams to possibly fill a starter's role. In San Diego, he had been used as a backup linebacker and a vital special teams player. He has grown immensely ever since he was picked in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Bolts and many would like to see him stay. It may come down to what other opportunities are available for Siler.
Adding Spikes to play alongside Burnett would be great duo at inside linebacker. Burnett is exceptional in playing the pass while Spikes is known for his ability to stop the run.
The Chargers were the best defense in the NFL last season in playing against the pass, while they were fourth in the league at stopping the run. There are upgrades that could be made to the defense, though, and the Bolts could be looking at an all-around shut-down type defense in the next coming seasons.
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