Although coaches routinely tell us not to look too much into preseason depth charts, the Chargers’ initial listings don’t bode well for wide receiver Gary Banks.
The two-year practice squad veteran is listed as either the seventh or eighth wideout entering Saturday’s preseason-opener vs. Chicago.
While on the surface it seems as if Banks can make up ground over the preseason, the fact that coaches have had two seasons to look at him and didn’t give him the initial benefit of being listed ahead of two undrafted rookies could be telling.
Tulane’s Jeremy Williams and Fresno State’s Seyi Ajirotutu are placed ahead of Banks on the depth chart. They are listed as second- and third-teamers, respectively, while Banks is listed in a group tabbed “other.”
Williams has been very impressive and definitely has the coaches’ attention. Ajirotutu (6-foot-3, 211) is physically more in line with the taller receivers the Chargers have harvested over the years.
Listing Banks behind them is hardly a motivational ploy as coach Norv Turner and several of Banks’ teammates have trumpeted his work ethic all offseason.
If viewing things through an optimistic prism, the coaches could be looking at the younger players to see how they fare in pressure situations, having already known what Banks can do. That said, Banks hasn’t had many game reps, even in the preseason, and at 28 and knowing this could be his final chance to impress the Chargers — or any other teams watching — not getting vital reps hurts his chances.
The depth chart could end up being a ruse once it gets beyond the first or second team. However it stands, knowing Banks and his competitive nature, he’ll keep pushing.
– Steve Wyche