San Diego Chargers tight end Dante Rosario (88) scores a touchdown as strong safety Brandon Taylor (28) reacts during training camp at Charger Park.
If you remember correctly, about a week ago there was a video of me talking about the 5 most important position battles for the San Diego Chargers this preseason. Here it is:
After the jump, I'll look at how those position battles may have changed after the first week of practice and add in a few more battles that have started to become important.
This job was Bigby's to lose and still might be, but he's been spending more time on the sidelines with injuries than he has spent practicing. Considering "injury risk" was the main reason Bigby hasn't been a starting safety in the last few seasons, it's safe to say that the team should start preparing Taylor to be the starter. There's a good chance Bigby won't magically learn how to stay healthy.
This one has been made more interesting by the fact that the team can use Hadnot as a Center as well. He actually started an entire season at the position for the Miami Dolphins and wasn't terrible. His experience and that versatility should undoubtedly keep him on the team (and it explains why Scott Mruczkowski wasn't brought back).
Norv Turner has declared that this one is already over, naming Green the winner, but anything can happen in the preseason. Let's call him the almost-sure-thing to win this battle.
Antonio Garay vs. Aubrayo Franklin vs. Cam Thomas
Here's where it kills me that I haven't made it out to a practice yet, because I have yet to see anyone comment on how this rotation is currently being handled. Every whisper I hear or article I read seems to insinuate that these three, plus Kendall Reyes, Corey Liuget, Vaughn Martin and someone else, will be rotated equally. Obviously though, guys that are playing well will get a little more time to take advantage of their productivity. All these linemen will be in some weird hybrid 3-4/4-3/2-5/5-2 scheme that John Pagano is going to drive opposing offenses crazy with.
Yeah, I know. The update is that I don't know if there is an update. This should change after I go to FanFest tomorrow. I'll have my eyes trained on this group.
This position battle will be determined by health and performance in preseason games. However, there haven't been any preseason games yet and both guys have been healthy.
Nate Kaeding vs. Nick Novak
Always read between the lines with the Chargers media. Every comment on this competition has been "This is Nate Kaeding's job to lose." Playoffs aside, when has Nate Kaeding looked like a guy that could lose a FG kicking competition to anyone? Barring injury, this one is locked up in Nate's favor.
Larry English vs. Larry English vs. Daryl Gamble
No, that's not a typo. Larry English is up against both himself and Gamble to claim that 5th OLB spot on the team, should it even exist. The early returns have been much of what we've come to expect from Larry English, where he flashes potential before his body gives out on him and he returns to his worn-in spot on the trainer's table.
If English can't get healthy and Gamble doesn't impress, it wouldn't be a big surprise to see the team go with just 4 OLB on the final roster.
Mario Henderson vs. Mike Harris
This one is fun. Henderson, renowned for eating his way off an Oakland Raiders team that employed JaMarcus Russell, has been getting out-worked and out-hustled by Harris, an undrafted free agent rookie out of UCLA that has all the physical gifts to be an NFL Tackle.
Quite honestly, I've been nervous about the Henderson signing since before it even happened (remember that the two sides talked for months before it ever officially happened). I'd be much more comfortable with a hard-nosed kid working his way into that position, and the coaching staff apparently feels the same as he's been filling in for Jared Gaither for most of this first week. Could he challenge for a starting job? Not yet.