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Questions heading into Chargers’ training camp

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    <strong>July 19, 2005</strong>
    Source: <a href="http://chargers.scout.com/2/396253.html">SD Bolt Report</a>

    The San Diego Chargers have moved training camp from Carson, outside of Los Angeles, to their regular training complex on Murphy Canyon for the first time and fans are expected in droves. But there will be questions abound as they look to defend the AFC West.

    n recent training camps, the Chargers' coaches have run from position to position, basically trying to stick their fingers in numerous leaky holes with questionable players.

    No longer.

    On the heels of a remarkable season which produced a 12-4 mark and their first AFC West title since 1994, the Chargers enter camp with a strange calm.

    All 22 starters are returning from last year's club which went from worst-to-first. But that doesn't mean there isn't work to be done.

    Is there a go-to wide receiver on the roster?

    Keenan McCardell, a two-time Pro Bowler, would certainly seem to fit the bill. And the veteran the Chargers acquired just prior to last October's trading deadline is the favorite to seize the role.

    But McCardell can't outrun Father Time, and some wonder if the 14-year pro has the stamina to be a factor in all 16 games. He was slowed by a bum hamstring late last year, and did very little in the offseason minicamps because of it.

    The Chargers, though, were likely just being cautious. But his health, at his age, is worth watching.

    Eric Parker had a breakthrough year last season, setting career-highs in receptions (47), yards (690) and touchdowns (four). Parker is fearless, which is good and bad for the Chargers.

    They love his tenacity in going up for passes in traffic, but there's concerns his 6-foot, 180-pound frame can take the punishment.

    Reche Caldwell is another candidate. After a solid start last season, a serious knee injury derailed his year. How fast he rebounds - so far, so good - is a key.

    And what about newcomer Vincent Jackson? Although the second-round pick won't be in the running to be the top receiver, his sturdy body and athleticism can't be overlook. Same goes, though, for him trying to make the jump from Division I-AA Northern Colorado to the NFL.

    Who starts at safety?

    Jerry Wilson is a solid leader of the secondary, but far from spectacular - 75 tackles, three interceptions. Bhawoh Jue had fell from the Packers' good graces after getting beat repeatedly for big plays.

    Veteran Clinton Hart and third-year pro Hanik Milligan could also be factors.

    Simply put, the team needs more talent at the position as Wilson has been a step slow in containment over the top. He understands the responsibilities better than any other member of the secondary but does not possess the makeup speed to effectively cover any deficiencies.

    Hart has just that – heart and could be a darkhorse to start. Jue was the only player targeted in free agency and will be given every opportunity to be this year's Steve Foley.

    The return game – is Darren Sproles more than a camp wonder?

    The former Kansas State star can make people miss, which is a key when playing in the NFL at 5-4, 165 pounds. He turned in more than a few shifty moves during the offseason workouts, which made him stand out among the fresh Chargers faces.

    Sproles figures to get some looks in the Chargers' third-down packages. But his biggest contributions will likely come as a returner. And given the team's lack of production in that area, it couldn't come at a better time.

    He drew raves for his performance in camp and must prove it wasn't just camp that will bring praise.

    Lightning Quicks:

    Hall of Fame WR Lance Alworth became the second Charger to have his jersey number retired; QB Dan Fouts' is the only other Charger. No Charger will ever wear Alworth's No. 19 again. "To me, it lets me know they enjoyed watching me play," he said. Alworth, a successful businessman in real estate, said the honor was greater than being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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