We're through a day of Training Camp for the San Diego Chargers, and I just realized that we don't have a real good list of what position battles are actually going on down at Chargers Park. Now, with a new GM and coaching staff, it might be harder to tell who is competing for what spot, but I think I can at least make some guesses.
Backup QB: Charlie Whitehurst vs. Mike Hermann
This one is far less crucial than some of the others that are below, but it's still very real. The signing of Mike Hermann was not a normal signing, they used money to pry him away from the Oakland Raiders, and he's doesn't have a very normal story.
If Philip Rivers isn't going to be the long-term solution at QB, there is absolutely no reason for Charlie Whitehurst to be on this team. Whitehurst is also somewhat expensive for a backup QB and might not be much of an upgrade over Hermann. All Hermann has to do is have a camp/preseason that is close to as good as Whitehurst's and the coaches will have to consider him for the #2 spot.
Late Addition: Brad Sorensen has just as much of a chance as beating out Whitehurst as Hermann does, if not more.
Left Tackle: Max Starks vs. King Dunlap
Starks has the better track record, Dunlap has more potential. Both will be given a fair shot, with the loser taking over as backup swing Tackle.
Dunlap started camp as the LT for the first-team, but that's probably because Starks hasn't been around very long. I think the team wants Starks to win this job, but they'll be happy if both of them have good, healthy camps.
Nickel Cornerback: Steve Williams vs. Johnny Patrick
There's a number of other guys up for this spot too, including:
- Cornelius Brown
- Greg Brown
- Marcus Cromartie
- Greg Gatson
- Josh Johnson
- Kenny Okoro
I just happen to think that Williams (draft by the team) and Patrick (claimed off waivers from the Saints) happen to be the two favorites. Williams is actually very well suited to be a long-time Nickel CB in the league, whereas his potential to play on the outside is a bit questionable. He's my favorite to win the spot.
Everyone who doesn't win the Nickel CB role will be fighting for the 4th (and probably 5th) CB spots. Assuming that my guess about Williams and Patrick being the top two guys is correct, that leaves one spot for the six others. Keep your eye on Marcus Cromartie.
Backup NT: Kwame Geathers vs. Byron Jerideau
This is a bit of a crapshoot. Both guys are rookies. Both guys went undrafted. Geathers is taller (6'6") than Jerideau (6'1"), but who knows if that's a good or a bad thing. They both weight about 335 lbs.
I think Tom Telesco liked both of these guys and signed them both in the hope that one of them turns out decent and healthy. Whichever that is will probably win the job in 2013.
Fullback: Le'Ron McClain vs. Chris Gronkowski
This is a bit like the Whitehurst/Hermann thing, except that Gronkowski already knows Mike McCoy's offense and is much better suited for it than McClain is.
I can't imagine McClain being this team's Fullback a month from now. If he is, I imagine it's because he's earned it with a great camp.
Backup Interior Offensive Line: Everybody
I have no idea who should be at the top of this list.
- Colin Baxter
- David Molk
- Rich Ohrnberger
- Brandyn Dombrowski
- Johnnie Troutman
- Steve Schilling
Those are the six guys fighting for (probably) two spots, assuming the starters are Chad Rinehart, Nick Hardwick and Jeromey Clary. Whatever the team thought of those six last year can probably go out the window, with a new Offensive Line Coach and a new offense.
Inside Linebacker: Manti Te'o vs. Jonas Mouton
Just kidding. Mouton's knee injury in the first day of Training Camp sealed it. This job is Manti's.
Backup Outside Linebacker: Larry English vs. the world
English probably gets one of the two backup OLB spots regardless of if he's the third best OLB in camp or not, but there will be one or two other backups and there's not a lot to choose from.
- Frank Beltre
- Thomas Keiser
- Devan Walker
- Tourek Williams
There are your four guys competing for one or two spots behind English.
Kick Returner/Punt Return: Eddie Royal? Richard Goodman? Steve Williams?
This one is anyone's guess. By the end of camp, I imagine the Special Teams coaches will have two or three guys that they like for the return job(s), and the ones that win the job will be the guys that stay on the team because they can contribute to offense/defense as well.
Wide Receiver: What a mess
Alright, let me try to take a stab at the WR depth chat this season.
WR1: Malcom Floyd
WR2: Danario Alexander
Slot WR: Vincent Brown
WR4: Keenan Allen
Bench: Robert Meachem, ????
My guess is, spread passing offense means that the team will carry six WRs. Not sure if it will carry four TEs, but Dallas Walker could make a case to make the team, which would probably limit the Chargers to five WRs.
Anyway, here are the guys fighting for the spot of "sixth WR":
- Deon Butler
- Dan DePalma
- Luke Tasker
- Mike Willie
- Richard Goodman
- Eddie Royal
I guess there's an outside chance that Meachem doesn't make the team, but I don't see it. If this entire group stays healthy, it will be a tough decision on the final cut day.
More from Bolts From The Blue:
- Keeping Tabs on the AFC West: Did the Denver Broncos upgrade when Mike McCoy left town?
- San Diego Chargers Daily Links: July 26, 2013
- Did the San Diego Chargers Improve Their Defensive Line?
- Tweets from Day 1 of San Diego Chargers Training Camp 2013
- Photos from Day 1 of San Diego Chargers Training Camp 2013