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Intrigue abounds as Bolts kick off

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 10:30 p.m.

    At least a little suspense permeates every training camp, and there seems to always be a September surprise.
    But this Chargers camp more than most arrives today with the promise of intrigue.
    Rookies and veterans coming off injury have been working since Monday. Veterans had until midnight Thursday to check in to the team hotel. The first full-squad workout is today.
    And while we’ll exert a lot of energy wondering and worrying about Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson, who almost certainly won’t be in camp, as well as the departures of LaDainian Tomlinson , Jamal Williams and others, there are plenty of other story lines to keep our attention between now and September.
    The successor’s success

    Once Ryan Mathews signs, he will begin in earnest his odyssey to forge his own identity playing the position everyone here has identified with two letters for so long.
    The 12th overall pick’s ability to break big plays as well as pound inside is the greatest reason the Chargers believe they can improve on their 3.3-yard rushing average, which ranked last in the NFL in 2009.
    While he matriculated well during offseason practices, and his position is not as complicated as some, Mathews would do well to arrive sooner rather than later and show everyone (himself included) what he can do at this level.
    Side note: Also compelling will be the battle for the third running-back spot. After the Chargers get Mathews comfortable, don’t look for them to run veteran Darren Sproles much in the preseason. They want to see what Shawnbrey McNeal, Marcus Mason and Curtis Brinkley can do.
    Running for cover

    There are some pretty big chips on some pretty big shoulders.
    The offensive line spent the last year-plus taking subtle swipes from the man a few of them helped to a record-breaking season in 2006 and not-so-subtle swipes from media and fans.
    It’s difficult to calculate whether head coach Norv Turner has spent more time praising them for accepting what they’re asked to do as pass blockers or defending them as capable run blockers. But the fact is, Turner and everyone else involved is committed to changing the persona of this line.
    Even beyond re-establishing their manhood, everyone on the line (save for perennial Pro Bowler Kris Dielman) has an intriguing subplot.
    Brandyn Dombrowski, the likely fill-in for McNeill, is looking to start at his third position in a calendar year. Nick Hardwick is coming back from major injury, Louis Vasquez is working to be more consistent now that he’s not a rookie, and Jeromey Clary is always trying to prove you (yes, you) wrong.
    Crowded line

    There are 10 defensive linemen in camp. Only Derrick Jones hasn’t been a significant contributor for the Chargers at some point over the past few years.
    Of the nine viable candidates, the Chargers will likely keep seven. That means someone like Ryon Bingham, Alfonso Boone or Travis Johnson could be gone. Bingham, on injured reserve last year, has played a lot. The Chargers do not go to the playoffs in 2009 without Boone and Johnson.
    The competition for the final couple of spots will be the most brutal in camp.
    The fifth man

    There has not been this good of a chance for a wide receiver to crack the roster since before Turner arrived in 2007.
    Not only did the Chargers have a full complement of legitimate wide receivers, they had special teams standout Kassim Osgood , who was a receiver. Osgood is gone; so is Chris Chambers. And, of course, Jackson is staying away.
    It is assumed veteran Josh Reed will make the team behind incumbents Malcom Floyd , Legedu Naanee and Buster Davis. That would leave a fifth spot for a rookie, all of the candidates having been undrafted.
    The official word is that the race is wide open. Really, there are no more than four candidates. They are Seyi Ajirotutu, Gary Banks, Ernest Smith and Jeremy Williams — and the other three have a lot of work to do to pass Williams.
    Safety dance

    There was a thought by some in the organization after his first season that Steve Gregory was not long for the NFL. But his work ethic, smarts and discipline have kept him around.
    The guy was essentially a starter (at nickel back) the final 11 games of last season, during which time the defense improved and the Chargers went 11-0.
    Gregory will likely start camp as the No. 1 strong safety, but he faces serious competition from Darrell Stuckey, who is faster, a little bigger and whom the Chargers invested in with a fourth-round pick in April.
    Gregory will play a big role in a defense that often features extra defensive backs, but the next five weeks will say a lot about the look of a secondary that has been in seemingly constant flux for going on six years.
    Cro no mo’

    Antonio Cromartie was supposed to be the future, seemingly destined to be the highest-paid corner in the NFL. But after a 2007 season in which he had 10 interceptions, Cromartie had five picks over the past two years and in March was traded to the New York Jets.
    Finally, Antoine Cason, the man the Chargers drafted in the first round the spring after Cromartie’s breakout year, gets his shot. He won’t be as spectacular as Cromartie, but he can get the ball, is expected to be more consistent and will certainly be more physical.
    Cason was benched after five games as the No. 1 nickel in 2009, but playing cornerback is an almost entirely different position, where he can be more aggressive, will go against different receivers and has the sideline with which to work.
    A good showing in the offseason has already virtually assured Cason the starting job, but an impressive camp and preseason would be a boost for him and the defense.
  2. LightEmUp

    LightEmUp Banned Banned

    Apr 9, 2010
    Still bashing LT.

    Pathetic journalism. Grow up Acee.

    Just to remind the dead horse journalist. Those two initials you wont say gave you ink ammunition for 9 years. Put fans back in the seats and dug the Chargers name from the dirt into the households of homes all across the world.

    Shut up about LT Kevin. Your not going to ruin his name in SD.



  3. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

    Jul 27, 2007
    I didn't really read that as a "diss". If he wrote "the position everyone here has identified with two letters for too long." then that I would interpret that as a diss. But I didn't read anything sinister into it. Just my two pennies....
  4. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard FORMER Charger fan at 7000'

    Jul 12, 2007
    Really? I didn't see anything in there that looked like bashing of LT.
  5. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    Tomlinson ruined his own name. He should have shut his mouth and left. Or left and shut his mouth.
  6. Scott the Rock

    Scott the Rock BoltTalker

    Oct 19, 2008
    Most people think of Taylor when you say LT. Tomlinson is "Baby LT".
  7. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    That is why I said Tomlinson. :lol:
  8. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    LT means Left Town for both LT's. Ours left San Diego for New York. Theirs is leaving New York for Ossining.

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