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What questions remain about the San Diego Chargers roster?

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Free agency has come and gone, as has the 2014 NFL Draft, so now would be a good time to figure out which questions remain about the San Diego Chargers roster heading into training camp.

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Who is the Fullback?

As of now, there are two Fullbacks on the roster: David Johnson and Zach Boren.

Johnson, signed from the Pittsburgh Steelers, hasn't actually taken a snap at FB since 2010, as he was converted into a TE.

Boren was a starting FB for the Ohio State Buckeyes for 3 seasons before the coaching staff, mid-season, switched him to LB. He excelled there as well, but apparently not enough to warrant being drafted. He was signed by the Texans after last year's draft but couldn't make the roster out of training camp.

That's not a lot of experience at that position. Instead of saying that I think the team will bring in someone else, I'll predict that they'll keep someone like Johnson that can contribute in other ways and then they'll hardly use a FB in the offense, if at all.

Who is the backup QB?

I know some people are going to call me crazy for asking this, but I beg of those people to provide me with any sort of proof that Kellen Clemens is actually a good QB.

A product of the same Oregon team that made Joey Harrington seem like a good pick in the first round, Clemens was a second round pick in 2006. In the 8 seasons since, he has started 21 games (8-13), and thrown 15 TDs against 20 interceptions. I feel like we may need to return to a very basic principle when dealing with Clemens this preseason: Just because you know a player's name does not actually mean that he's good.

In addition, I'm simply not a fan of pocket QBs that are 6'2" or shorter. You occasionally find a freak like Drew Brees, but most of the time you end up with Mark Sanchez.

What is left to be said about Brad Sorensen? Him knowing the offense from last year will make it an easier transition for new OC Frank Reich, and he showed in the 2013 preseason that he's an accurate passer. His 6'5" frame doesn't hurt any, either.

I understood the team picking Whitehurst over Sorensen last season, but I will not understand if Clemens makes the team over Brad this year unless Sorensen gets injured or isn't the same player that we saw.

Can Jeromey Clary keep his job?

Jeromey Clary, who was the starting RG for the Chargers last season when he wasn't filling in at RT, is set to cost $6.25 million against this year's cap.

By comparison, the other guards on the roster....

  • Chad Rinehart: $1.75 million
  • Rich Ohrnberger: $635k
  • Johnnie Troutman: $543k
  • Chris Watt: $525k

Quick math tells me that's less than $3.5 million for those four combined, and all of them are probably better at guard than Clary (PFF backs this up, with Clary finishing as the worst offensive performer on San Diego's team last season).

If the team were to cut Clary, he would cost for $1.7 million against the cap, freeing up $4.55 million in cap space. The fact that he hasn't been released yet is still a head-scratcher, and the only way I can see him remaining as the starting RG is if he has an outstanding camp and preseason.

Who is the nickel CB?

Over the last few years, what the Chargers (and the rest of the NFL) has seen is that the nickel CB spot is very important. It's no longer where you put your third best CB, and now teams actually search for guys in the draft and free agency that have skills to fit the nickel CB position. San Diego has a handful of these guys.

There Marcus Gilchrist, who has had inconsistent success at the position, Richard Marshall, who played alright there for a brief period last season before being asked to start, and Steve Williams, who was seemingly drafted to be the team's nickel CB last season before going on IR before the first preseason game.

The obvious answer is to say that these guys will battle it out in training camp to determine the winner, but it's not always that easy. Someone has to get the first shot, and the inside track on winning the face, and you can usually find out who that person is by looking at contracts. Marcus Gilchrist is in the last year of his rookie contract, after being drafted by the previous regime. Richard Marshall signed a 1 year deal to stay with the Chargers for just $855k this past offseason. Steve Williams, Tom Telesco's fourth draft pick since taking over as the team's GM, is entering year 2 of a 4-year deal.

Obviously, Williams is going to be given a chance to win that spot. He may even be given more than one chance, because it will be in the best interest of the team to give him regular-season reps this year with both Gilchrist and Shareece Wright facing free agency next year.


That's my short list of questions about the current roster that have been making me think lately. There's other questions too, such as who will be the third TE and who will be the fifth WR, but they'll be answered with injuries/performance in training camp.