The preseason is halfway over, and the training camp battles have begun to take shape. Some battles seem to be settled, while others are still up for grabs.
The Chargers have plenty of players battling for a small amount of open roster spots. The final two games are going to cause many players to put it all on the line so they can make the final 53. Here is how the battles stand prior to week three of the preseason.
The backup quarterback situation does not look good. Initially, it looked like a two-man battle between Zach Mettenberger and Kellen Clemens. Due to the poor play of the both Clemens and Mettenberger, Mike Bercovici has entered the fold.
Bercovici has played pretty well so far in games, and it looks like he will at least be on the practice squad. Mettenberger is probably the odd man out of this battle now because he has been absolutely dreadful. Clemens has been with the team a while and even though he hasn’t been great either, the coaches know what to expect from him. Bercovici on the other hand isn’t ready to become the main backup but is definitely a project the Chargers should invest in.
When training camp opened up, Derek Watt and Chris Swain were battling for the starting fullback position. Watt, being drafted in the sixth round was at an advantage to win the job, and it seems like he still has a firm grasp on it. Swain has barely been on the field so far this preseason, and Watt has seen a lot of time with the ones.
Although he hasn’t been great in preseason, I fully expect Watt to be the starter come week one. I like Swain a lot, but I think the Chargers have committed to Watt for at least this season.
Depending on what the Chargers gameplan is, they could keep three or four extra offensive linemen. Before Donavon Clark’s injury, it looked like he had a real shot to make the team but now things are going to get very interesting.
Now, let’s say the Chargers decide to keep three extra linemen. Third-round pick Max Tuerk is a lock and so is tackle, Chris Hairston. That leaves one final spot and the man who most likely gets it is Chris Watt. He is a versatile interior lineman who can play both center and guard. If a fourth lineman were to be added, the favorites are probably guard Kenny Wiggins or tackle Tyreek Burwell.
The Chargers wide receiver position looks pretty settled at this point of the preseason, but there is a chance that one more player can sneak onto the roster.
With Tyrell Williams exploding onto the scene, the Chargers now have four solid options at wide receiver. Throw wideout Dontrelle Inman into the mix and the Chargers have five viable options at receiver.
The other players that are trying to grab onto possibly one last spot at receiver are Javontee Herndon, who has been injured for a big portion of camp, DeAndre Reaves, and Isaiah Burse. I think one of these players could sneak onto the roster as a returner. Burse probably has the best chance at the roster at the moment; he has been targeted in games a lot, but sadly, the quarterbacks have had trouble getting him the ball.
The season-ending injury to Jeff Cumberland has made the tight end position one of the best battles on the entire roster. Sean McGrath, Asante Cleveland, and Matt Weiser are the three players fighting for that final roster spot.
All signs point to McGrath as the third tight end but if another tight end has a great two weeks in practice and during games, maybe the Chargers take a flyer on them. None of these players will see the field much with Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry ahead of them.
Sadly, I’m going to assume that Joey Bosa isn’t going to be on the roster come week one. That leaves, Corey Liuget, Brandon Mebane and Darius Philon as the starters. Who plays behind him is far from decided.
Up the middle, Ryan Carrethers should be sitting behind Mebane. Sean Lissemore is on Injured Reserve and Damion Square is suspended four games, but the Chargers have buried Carrethers with the second and third team, which is alarming. The other backup positions should be occupied by Tenny Palepoi.
Arguably the biggest question marks on this Chargers team is at the safety position. Dwight Lowery and Jahleel Addae are going to be the week one starters, but the rest of the position is a mystery.
Darrell Stuckey and Adrian Phillips have been the primary backups, and I fully expect them to make the team. Stuckey makes the team more for his special teams prowess than anything else. I prefer not to see him on the field much when the team is playing defense.
The other two safeties that I really enjoy watching are Dexter McCoil and Adrian McDonald. It has been a shame that we haven’t gotten to see much of them as they have played briefly in the first two games. McDonald has played even less than McCoil, and although both have shown flashes, I don’t know if the Chargers keep five safeties on the roster. If they do keep five, expect McCoil to make this roster as a linebacker-safety hybrid.