<strong>June 21, 2005</strong>
Source Link: <a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team?statsId=24">Fox Sports</a>
There have to be questions about whether the Chargers will be able keep both Jesse Chatman and Michael Turner. Especially considering the obvious talents of fourth-round draft pick Darren Sproles, there appears to be too many running backs vying for time behind Pro Bowl RB LaDainian Tomlinson. Chatman has been a solid backup when called on and an adequate kick returner in his three seasons, but the team thinks highly of Turner. There almost certainly is not room for four running backs. . . .
It was good news that Reche Caldwell looked good and felt good after five practices in three days. Coming off ACL surgery, Caldwell proclaimed himself "95 percent" healthy at the conclusion of minicamp.
<strong>SCOUTING REPORT:</strong> The Chargers' got almost exclusively positive results from first-year starter Mike Scifres, who led the AFC in net average in 2004. It has been impressive watching Scifres continue to boom long and high punts through this offseason. His placement is impeccable as well. His 29 punts inside the 20-yard line tied for most in the AFC.
<strong>OFFENSIVE ADJUSTMENTS:</strong> An offense that ranked 10th in the league last year appears to have gained at least one more weapon in Sproles. He appears to be a tiny Tomlinson -- quick and shifty -- and could on occasion be used in the slot. Considering the return of Tomlinson (53 catches, second on the team) and tight end Antonio Gates (team-high 81 catches), that's quite a few potential receptions by guys that aren't receivers.
<strong>INSIDE DISH:</strong> The outlook is fairly rosy for the Chargers, who have a bunch of young players and plenty of room under the salary cap. But this season and its aftermath will bring some difficult and crucial decisions. The team should get an extension with Gates inked this summer, but it will likely wait to see G Toniu Fonoti show he can be as dominant as he was in 2004. Gates is a restricted free agent after 2005; Fonoti is unrestricted. Receiver Reche Caldwell is an unrestricted free agent after this season as well, and a full season as good as his six games prior to injury in 2004 will make him a costly keeper. And, of course, the team will have to decide whether Drew Brees or Philip Rivers is its quarterback of the future following this season.
<strong>WIDE RECEIVERS ANALYSIS:</strong> Grade: B+. The team has enough solid pass catchers but no shockingly good No.1. The team awaits the possible emerence of Reche Caldwell.