Chargers replace two injured players with Raiders castoffs

Oakland Raiders quarterback Kyle Boller at 2011 training camp (photo by Levi Damien)

The Chargers have announced they have signed former Raiders backup quarterback Kyle Boller. He become the third Raider free agent signed to another team in the past two days after linebacker Ricky Brown and Darryl Blackstock both signed with the Ravens on Thursday.

The Chargers had a sudden need for a backup quarterback as Charlie Whitehurst went down with an injury to his left knee which could have him out for a while. The Chargers had two seemingly scary injuries in practice on Thursday.

Starting left tackle, Jared Gaither also went down during practice. It was his lower back, an area in which he has had serious problems in his young career, and he was carted off the field. The Chargers claim it was just cramping and he'll be fine. He was replaced in the lineup on Thursday by Raiders former offensive tackle Mario Henderson.

As for Whitehurst, the prognosis may be more serious with the signing of Boller. The Chargers immediately began making calls to replace Whitehurst. Boller was either high on their list or everyone else turned them down.

The 8-year veteran quarterback spent the past two seasons as the Raiders' primary backup. He appeared in seven games as a Raider. In his one start, he threw three interceptions in just over one half of play before then coach Hue Jackson opted to throw newly acquired Carson Palmer into the game to get his feet wet. The result was three more interceptions and a 28-0 debacle at the hands of the opportunistic Chiefs.

Boller has performed better at times than he did in that game. Much of the fault can lie at the feet of Jackson who played games with the media all week while not naming Boller the starter immediately which resulted in Boller being ill-prepared to start. But still, Boller looked downright incompetent and that can't all be blamed on the Raiders' former coach.

The same can be said for Mario Henderson who after a strong start to his career, he began slipping as defenses figured out how to beat him. Then he came into 2011 training camp overweight, failed the physical and was cut.

After the Chargers lost Marcus McNeil to injury last season and before they signed Gaither, Kamerion Wimbley had four sacks on Rivers in one game. Wimbley had just three sacks the rest of the season combined.

If the Chargers ever have to rely on either Henderson or Boller, they are in some big trouble. The offense lives and dies by Philip Rivers and Rivers lives and dies (so to speak) by Jared Gaither.

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