May 11, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner (center) talks with tackles Cordell Bell (73) and Charles Burton (72) and quarterback Jarrett Lee (16) at rookie minicamp at Chargers Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
It is no secret that the Chargers are deeper at many positions than they have been in quite some time. Not just deeper due to having the players in place, but deeper due to the fact that the quality of depth has even the most novice of fans chomping at the bit.
In this article, I am not going to go over every position on the team. And forgive me if I miss one of your favorite camp battles.
I will, however, go over the ones that stick out in my mind.
Let’s get this Charger Express rolling!
QB: I only bring this up to say that I doubt we will keep 3 quarterbacks. I’d also like to add that Lee has been said to be very accurate up to this point. That being said, I feel as though the Bolts have their fingers crossed that Volek doesn’t have any other teams calling him. Just a hunch. I must admit that I am a bit nervous about Barry Gibb filling in for Rivers in case of an emergency.
RB: Of course, Mathews is a lock to not only make the roster, but to receive more touches than he has in previous seasons.
The intriguing decisions are at both the backup RB spots and practice squad spots. Currently the Chargers have Ronnie Brown, Curtis Brinkley, Jackie Battle, Michael Hayes, and 7th round draft pick Edwin Baker all trying to earn their way onto the roster.
Does the acquisition of Battle mean that he is undeniably a lock for the team? I have my doubts about that being a sure thing.
If Brown stays healthy do the Bolts look to Brinkley as the 3rd RB? Has Battle been signed to provide insurance in case of Brown’s health throughout training camp?
Or has Brinkley become the odd man out knowing that he is ineligible for practice squad duty?
The word out of Chargers Park is that both Hayes and Baker have shown promise. Hayes might have the edge due to showing good hands coming out of the backfield.
Both Hayes and Baker are rookies and would indeed be practice squad eligible. But would the team be willing to use two practice squad spots in an effort to keep them both?
Questions abound at the RB position and, in my opinion, this will be the most difficult roster spot to evaluate.
FB: The Chargers brought in LeRon McClain via free gency to fill the starting fullback position. Although Jacob Hester was re-signed, is he a lock for the team? Battle is not a small man by any means and could possibly serve as the backup fullback. My hope is that Hester is retained due to his play on special teams. Battle is no slouch on special teams either. Another interesting position to figure out.
WR: We are all under the assumption that we will definitely be keeping Floyd, Meachem, Brown, and Royal. Book it.
But it will certainly be worth watching the other receivers that are kept on the active roster. Richard Goodman would definitely be a choice of mine for the squad.
Newly acquired options in Roscoe Parrish and Michael Spurlock have chances as well. Parrish would be a returner and the same could be said of Spurlock. Not to mention the fact that special teams coach Rich Bisaccia is already familiar with Spurlock from his Tampa Bay days.
As far as the practice squad is concerned, at wideout, Mike Willie has that 6’4″ frame that the Chargers are known to love. The San Diego Union Tribune has stated multiple times that he has been making plays when given the opportunity.
TE: Antonio Gates is healthy according to multiple sources and ready to have a strong 2012 campaign. Green is a lock due to being drafted as the eventual replacement of Gates. He could end up contributing sooner rather than later.
After bringing back Randy McMichael, the Bolts still went out and grabbed Dante Rosario out of free agency. Norv has been gushing about his ability to make plays.
I’m a big McMichael fan but if Turner has fallen in love with Rosario that could be trouble for #81.
The Chargers also have Kory Sperry and Brad Taylor at the TE position.
OL: Although there is a large group of Bolts Fans that would like to see competition at the offensive line positions, I just don’t see it happening. Gaither is the LT and will be backed up by Mario Henderson.
Much to the chagrin of many fans, Clary is penciled in as the starter at RT. I actually feel that Clary is a decent RT. Nothing more and nothing less than decent.
Patrick Green of RockTheBolt.com sent out a tweet the other day that Chargers Fans have this idea that we should have a probowl player at every starting position on the team. That is not verbatim, but it was something along those lines. He’s right. It’s just not possible. It doesn’t work that way.
Clary has his obvious shortcomings but has also started every play for the Chargers the last two seasons.
Vasquez is a stud at RG and will only continue to improve. The big man drafted out of Texas Tech was already a good pass-blocker and has been working hard to improve in the running game.
Hardwick is one of the best centers in all of the NFL. Not much more needs to be said knowing that to be a fact.
Behind him it could be interesting to see if we retain either Baxter or Molk as the backup. Putting Molk on the practice squad would be a mistake. If the team were to do that I would assume that he would get snagged up rather quickly.
Although he was drafted in the seventh round, I believe that he was picked to eventually takeover as the starting center after Hardwick eventually retires.
Now that Dombrowski has been moved to guard he will hopefully provide depth behind Tyronne Green at LG.
Green performed quite well when filling in for All-Pro Kris Dielman in the last third of the 2011 season.
The starters on offense are basically written in stone. Barring a complete disaster, it is safe to say that we already know who the starters will be this season.
It is the back up players that are the question marks. A.J. Smith has done a great job this offseason in providing quality competition at almost every position on offense.
In the next couple days I will follow this article up with a look at the defensive camp battles. The starters on defense are not quite as predictable at a couple of spots.
I must admit that the season is finally here! And I can’t wait to see what this offense is capable of doing.
Thanks a lot for reading.