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San Diego Chargers Position Battle Review (Post-preseason Game 1)

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"Kill the Quarterback. Hit the tight end so hard his girlfriend dies. Kill everybody."
"Kill the Quarterback. Hit the tight end so hard his girlfriend dies. Kill everybody."

Let's get caught up with the position battles that we've been following after the first San Diego Chargers preseason game of 2012.

Strong Safety

Atari Bigby vs. Brandon Taylor

I'd love to tell you that both of these guys performed better than expected, but the truth is that they both played about as well as you could've guessed. Both guys played about a half of football, each had 2 tackles and Bigby fell on a fumble at some point.

All in all, I thought Bigby looked stellar against the run and weak against the pass (which is what Packers fans have been claiming as his M.O. when he started there). I thought Brandon Taylor looked lost, couldn't get off blocks (normal for a rookie) and was rather lucky that the opposing QB was Graham Harrell.

Change: None. Bigby is still in the lead, and he's still a flawed player who has a tough time staying healthy.

Left Guard

Tyronne Green vs. Rex Hadnot

Not really a competition anymore. Hadnot might actually be fighting for a roster spot as a G/C, which is weird considering his experience. Green didn't look like anything special, but he did a pretty good job of helping the rookie Left Tackle when it was needed. Hadnot looked strong in pass protection, but wasn't facing anyone that is all that good at getting to the QB.

Change: None. It's still Green's job barring a major injury.

Nose Tackle

Antonio Garay vs. Aubrayo Franklin vs. Cam Thomas

Kind of a weird one. Garay (1 tackles) got most of the snaps with the first time and Thomas (2 tackles) played most of the time with the second and third team. Thomas looked good, but inconsistent. Garay looked consistently mediocre, albeit with a small sample size. Franklin was nowhere to be found. If he got on the field, I didn't spot him. His name is nowhere in the box score.

Change: Despite talk that Garay could be moved to DE when Franklin was signed, it looks like Franklin is fighting for a roster spot with limited snaps. Thomas seems locked in as the backup NT either way.

Back-Up Tight End

Dante Rosario vs. Randy McMichael

Did McMichael even play? I didn't see him anywhere. Looked like Rosario was the #2 TE last night, and he did a fine job of blocking (which was surprising). He caught a pass for 9 yards and showed off some soft hands in doing so.

Change: Where I used to think this was McMichael's job to lose, I feel like Rosario took the lead somewhere along the line. I don't know that McMichael is very attractive as a #3 TE, either. Keep that in mind, people talking about Ladarius Green possibly getting cut.


Nate Kaeding vs. Nick Novak

There was one field goal attempted, a 35-yarder that was missed by Novak. Nate Kaeding made his two extra-point attempts and Novak made one as well.

Change: Novak is seen as a big loser in this because he missed a kick, but Kaeding wasn't even given a shot at a kick. I don't think it changed much, but I think Nate had a big lead going into the game anyway.

Outside Linebacker

Larry English vs. Larry English vs. Darryl Gamble

Larry English's day essentially came down to one play. He picked up a sack (should've been half a sack) on a play that should've been called back. On the play, Melvin Ingram put his hands in the face of the RT and chased the QB right into English. Good on English to be there waiting for him, but it wasn't an impressive play by anyone. English finished with 1 tackle, 1 sack and 1 QB hit...all from that one play.

Gamble had an okay day, getting some pressure against sixth-string tackles and collecting 2 tackles.

Change: None, really. English has this spot if he can stay healthy, and so far he's 1-for-1 as far as games played.

Backup Tackle

Mario Henderson vs. Mike Harris

Harris got lots of help as the starting LT and then less help when the first-teamers left and he stayed in the game. He looked very quick and smooth moving laterally, but didn't show much punch at the point of attack. He's a suitable backup for a team that throws the ball as much as the Chargers do, and he'll get better as the preseason wears on.

Henderson was....out there, I guess? He was supposed to play both RT and LT, so he probably did. Didn't see anything horrible, nor did I see anything overly impressive.

Change: If nothing else, Jared Gaither has made the team nervous enough that they might consider keeping both of these guys. I think Henderson has a slight edge, but Harris is quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Now we're all caught up. Were any new battles created? I suppose you could argue that there's a decent battle going on for the #5 WR position that may or may not exist. Kendall Reyes made a case to be a starting DE in the first half before disappearing against the second-team Packers. That's about it.