As OTA's wind down and players being their month "off," some of them will be putting in extra work on their own to try and gain the advantage for the upcoming battle they'll face in training camp. Most of the battles, especially on offense, won't be for who wins starting positions, but who will make the final 53 as the first line of reserves, and who will get a chance to be a member of the practice squad.
I already took a way too early look at who I think will be the final 53, but as I mentioned in that piece, there is a lot that still needs to happen between now and that final cut.
Barring injury, the starting 5 are pretty much locked in. I am also pretty confident that at least three backups will be kept on the active roster, and those 3, Max Tuerk, Chris Watt, and Chris Hairston, are pretty well locked in as well. So the camp battle here will be for who gets to join the practice squad. Linemen currently on the roster that are eligible are: Spencer Pulley, C (UDFA), Donavon Clark, OG (6th rd pick), Vi Teofilo, OG (UDFA), Brett Boyko, OT, Tyreek Burwell, OT, Tyler Johnstone, OT (UDFA), Mike McQueen, OT (UDFA). I would think 3-4 of these men will wind up on the PS. It should be an interesting battle, but right now I'd give the edge to Clark, Teofilo, Burwell, and Johnstone.
This could wind up being an interesting position to watch. Any battle here is very likely a PS battle as well. Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, and Brandon Oliver will be the running backs on the active roster. So Dreamius Smith and UDFA rookie Kenneth Farrow are likely in a head to head battle for one spot on the PS. I would think with Gordon recovering, and just general caution to protect their RB's, they will get minimal preseason carries so Dreamius and Farrow will get a chance to stand out in the preseason games.
Lot's of competition here. There are 11 WR's currently on the roster, only half of them will make the active roster, so that leaves 5 or 6 guys vying for what is likely only 2 PS spots. How they perform on special teams will be the deciding factor here. I would hope the team would prefer not to have Keenan Allen or Travis Benjamin returning kicks to try and keep them healthy, so that means someone else is going to have to step up. DeAndre Reaves, UDFA out of Marshall, averaged 29.6 yards per kick return over the last 2 years, bringing 3 back for TD's, and was able to contribute as a receiver as well last season so he COULD stand an outside chance at making it if the team decides to have 6 WR's, however, his direct competition for that role, Javontee Herndon, has shown promise as a returner/receiver for the Chargers already.
This is another position with a lot of guys fighting for very few spots. There are 7 TE's on the roster right now, 2 of those are locks, Gates, and Henry, so that leaves five guys fighting for what is probably only one roster spot and one practice squad spot. Jeff Cumberland and Sean McGrath are likely fighting for the active roster spot, while Asante Cleveland, Tim Semisch, and UDFA rookie Matt Weiser fight for a PS bid.
This will be my favorite competition. Derek Watt and Chris Swain are going to have a legitimate battle. Yes Watt was drafted, and Swain wasn't, but Watt was a 6th round pick, so he doesn't start with too much of a head start there. The interesting part of this battle is how different they are in how they play the position. Watt has more experience as a traditional lead blocker and a receiver. The Swain Train is the far superior rusher and plays with more strength/nastiness. This will come down to who is doing better on special teams, and who the coaching staff believes is the better fit for their scheme. However, as I said in my final 53 prediction, there could be a scenario where they both make the final roster.
Zach Mettenberger and Kellen Clemens are going to have a battle for the backup spot. I would say at this point that this is an even and open competition, whoever makes the least mistakes gets the nod. This will be the easiest, but probably most painful competition to watch. Neither player is going to be a superstar, and both of them will be trying to compete with mostly the B and C teams as their supporting cast.
As you can see, on offense, most of the competition will be among the reserves. Who are you guys pulling for?