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Chargers camp preview

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/trainingcamp07/insider/news/story?id=2931741&amp;lpos=spotlight&amp;lid=tab2pos1" target="_blank">ESPN</a>

    <img src="http://i2.chargers.com/assets/178/33125_699w393h.jpg" title="Chargers at minicamp, chargers.com photo" alt="Chargers at minicamp, chargers.com photo" height="162" width="284" />

    By Jeremy Green, Scouts Inc.

    Three Burning Questions

    <strong>Do the Chargers have enough offensive firepower at WR to get over the hump this season?</strong>
    One of the biggest reasons San Diego lost to New England in the playoffs was marginal play at wide receiver. Eric Parker has been a starter, but he should be a No. 3 at best. Vincent Jackson improved last season, but he needs to be more consistent. The wild card will be rookie Craig Davis. Even though young receivers take some time to develop, the Chargers need him to make solid contributions if this offense is going to take that final step.

    <strong>Can new head coach Norv Turner deliver?</strong>
    Say what you want about former head coach Marty Schottenheimer's career playoff record, but he still led this team to an NFL-best 14-2 record in 2006. He has also had a lot more coaching success than Turner. Turner will have to win over this team, and if the Chargers start out slowly, grumbling from players could emerge.

    <strong>Is Philip Rivers ready to take the next step and become an elite NFL starting QB?</strong>
    He showed signs of becoming that guy during the first half of last season. Over the second half of the season, especially late in the year, he struggled. His accuracy was not as good and he was not throwing the deep ball as effectively. Rivers will have to prepare himself much better this season, both physically and mentally, so he does not wear down. Rivers does not have a big-time arm, but his intangibles are off the charts, and he needs to rely on those intangibles to play better down the stretch. If he can do that, we think he can eventually develop into an elite NFL starting QB.

    The player under the microscope

    WR Craig Davis. It is tough to put a rookie under the microscope, but the Chargers don't have a lot of players who fit the category because they are as deep and talented as any team in the NFL. Davis is a rookie with excellent speed, but some experts feel he was a reach in the bottom of the first round. Davis has the speed to make an immediate impact, and that is what this offense is searching for. The Chargers need Davis to be able to stretch the field, which will open things up for TE Antonio Gates in the middle of the field and prevent teams from trying to sneak eight men into the box to slow down RB LaDainian Tomlinson.

    Breakout player

    Vincent Jackson. With the departure of veteran WR Keenan McCardell and no legitimate No. 1 receiver to speak of, Jackson has a chance to seize the role as the Chargers' go-to receiver. Jackson has improved his route-running skills and is now a receiver whom Rivers feels he can rely on. Even though the team selected Davis in the first round, Jackson is the odds-on favorite to develop into Rivers' favorite target.

    Comeback player of the year

    FS Marlon McCree. With the departure of safety Terrence Kiel, McCree is now the clear leader in the secondary. He will likely be playing next to rookie Eric Weddle. McCree did not have a terrible 2006 season, but his tackle and interception numbers were down from 2005. Kiel was more of a box player, which forced McCree to play more in coverage. Even though Weddle is a rookie, his athletic ability and range should allow McCree to be a much bigger factor in run support this season.

    Offensive philosophy

    Even though San Diego has a new head coach, don't look for much to change on offense. Turner installed this offense when he was with the Chargers in 2001, and it is a system that will continue to be built around Tomlinson, the best playmaker in the NFL. Former running backs coach Clarence Shelman will take over for Cam Cameron as the play-caller, but Shelman was with the team last season and will call a similar game plan. The basic offensive philosophy will be to pound the ball between the tackles in an attempt to open up the vertical passing game. Whether the vertical passing game is there will depend on how quickly Davis develops. With Tomlinson, Gates (the best pass-catching tight end in the NFL) and potentially Davis at wide receiver, the Chargers are looking for the "big three" concept in terms of playmakers.

    Defensive philosophy

    The Chargers also have had changes on defense. Former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is now the head coach in Dallas. New coordinator Ted Cottrell is a veteran coach and a Phillips disciple. Even though both work off the 3-4 concept, Phillips is a much more aggressive play-caller than Cottrell has been in his recent stints as a coordinator. If the Chargers are going to maintain their spot as one of the best defensive teams in the NFL, they will have to maintain the defensive philosophy that has worked in the past. The Chargers' secondary is still a bit suspect, but the defense has been able to compensate for that by getting excellent pressure from the front seven. If the Chargers become less aggressive on defense, the secondary will be exposed.

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