With the season looming now is a perfect time to actually set the stage for players who might win starting jobs or make the roster.
Training Camp is almost over, that said, can we please separate the boys from the men?
- Nate Kaeding vs. Nick Novak – Battle for Kicker. Novak kicked his way to a 27 of 34 season, while Kaeding was out with an ACL tear. Novak filled in well for the starter so much so, the preseason will decide who stays and who goes. As of right now Kaeding still has the inside track to the job. As he did when training camp started. It doesn’t help that Novak missed his only attempt on last Thursday’s preseason opener. Kaeding would have to do an atrocious job from now until the end of preseason in order to lose.
- Randy McMichael vs. Dante Rosario – Back up Tight End. Randy McMichael had some solid playing time for us last year, especially when Antonio Gates was missing in action (hopefully there isn’t too much of that this season). But if there is, I feel really good about everyone behind the big man. The Chargers may have the best depth at the position in the league. Dante Rosario was picked up in free agency and will duke it out for the second spot on the tight end depth chart. I honestly feel that McMichael has the inside track baring some type of injury. Though, the roster may carry four tight ends for the first time in recent history.
- Dog fight at Wide Receiver – A battle of our top three receivers to see who will be our number one. Robert Meachem has the upper hand but don’t count out any of the other candidates. Malcom Floyd is solid piece in the San Diego offense, and is one of Philip Rivers favorite targets his 6’5 frame gives him a big advantage over our other receivers. Last, Vincent Brown, solid receiver and can line up in any of the receiver slots. He’s been productive and probably could work his way up the depth charts rapidly.
- Mario Henderson vs. Michael Harris – Mike Harris went undrafted and has shown up to Chargers training camp ready for war. After getting good quality starters minutes in the preseason opener, the rookie still looks good, he may be a back up tackle on our 2012 squad. Mario hasn’t been so impressive however, I do not see a scenario where he gets cut (only for the sake of depth).
- Gamble vs. English – Battle for Outside Linebacker. While Gamble impressed last year around this time, it’s little bit of a different situation this year. The team drafted a premiere pass-rusher, so the need for the kind of player that Gamble is scarce. With English and Gamble both vying for playing time, both can not make the 53-man roster. Because there is so much invested in English and the potential is there, more leeway has been given to the former first rounder. Gamble is a solid player, but the boom potential for English is still there and the team would rather reap the benefits than see him go. Though, if he slips during the next few weeks and Gamble has an outstanding remainder of a preseason we could be looking at #53 during the regular season.
- Marcus Gilchrist vs. Shareece Wright – Battle for nickel/slot Cornerback. In the time that Marcus Gilchrist has missed, Shareece Wright has taken full advantage of it. Wright is shooting for a job to get him more time on the field this season. Gilchrist might have to take a back seating to the surging Wright, because he has impressed in every second that he has been given to show what he’s got. This could play out all the up until the season opener, the one not chosen as the nickel corner will become a reserve for the two starters. It’s a scary thought heading into the season with only four corners on your depth chart. Only time will tell who ends up at the line as the nickel.
- Lastly, Cam Thomas vs. Antonio Garay vs. Aubrayo Franklin – Battle for starting Nose Tackle. Now this situation is a good one to have. There are so many possibilities of how this battle could play out while giving a productive defensive line up. If Cam takes the job, Aubrayo could become the back up and the team could move Garay to Defensive End in certain situations. I like the first scenario more than any of the others because Garay could actually play that position for us. In all the other scenarios Cam or Antonio become either the starter or the back up and Franklin moves to the bubble. Which in my opinion doesn’t give a lot of versatility to the group which ever way this pans out I am sure Coach Pags will handle it well.