As we inch closer to the regular season, there are some questions about the depth chart that remain unanswered. The Chargers have a week and a half, including 2 preseason games, to get it figured out. I already went over the tight position battles yesterday, but there are some other questions near the top of the depth chart that also need answering.
What is the team going to do at TE?
Virgil Green is obviously TE1, and by all appearances Sean Culkin is TE2, but none of the TEs have stood out this preseason. The games don’t seem to be helping either. Through 2 preseason games all of the TE’s combined only have 11 targets. If you take away the 3 targets for Green who is cemented in at TE1, there have been 8 targets to the TEs that are actually trying to earn a spot. Practice is one thing, but the Chargers are going to need to gameplan some more looks for this TE group because they need to figure out if they need to throw money at Gates to come out of retirement before the regular season.
Who are going to be the starters at Safety? And Where?
Until this week of practice, 1st round pick Derwin James had been playing with the 2nd/3rd team units on defense. He is now finally playing with the 1st team and figures to be in the Strong Safety spot. Although it seems in the joint practice today it seems he was deep a lot of the time when Jahleel Addae was on the field, then moved up in the box more when Rayshawn Jenkins was on the field. Which leaves Free Safety. What is the team going to do there? Addae is a talented safety, but Free Safety isn’t really his best position, as evidenced by the 2 big receptions he gave up in preseason week 2. Watkins, who was getting 1st team snaps in week 2, tore his ACL in the game and is gone. Rayshawn Jenkins is the other option and is still kind of an unknown. Regardless, it is likely going to be Jahleel Addae starting at FS due to the contract he currently has.
Who is going to backup Philip Rivers?
Hopefully there isn’t actually much of a question here. Head Coach Anthony Lynn has verbally supported Cardale Jones multiple times, and after yesterday’s practice Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt also said that the race is basically even, however based on both their practice and game performance, Geno Smith is looking like the superior QB. The game this week will likely be Jones’ last chance to make a statement, but this competition is likely over.
Will Forrest Lamp be ready for week 1?
Forrest Lamp finally resumed practicing this week after going down early last offseason. The hopes were that Lamp would come in and be an instant starter on the Chargers OL. He is finally back now, but he is essentially still a rookie. He was working with the 2nd team in the team period today in the first joint practice with the New Orleans Saints, and following practice the way Lynn talked about him, it doesn’t sound like he’s considered 100% yet. Sure it’s not the end of the world if Michael Schofield is starting at RG week 1, but it sure would be nice to have the 2nd round pick and potential All-Pro there instead.