OL Jeromey Clary (USA TODAY Sports)
A veteran running back is ready and willing to come to San Diego ... will Tom Telesco make the deal? Also, how safe is Jeromey Clary at right guard? And will some new faces help the Chargers finally shake the injury bug? These answers and more inside.
Willis McGahee, released Thursday by the Broncos, listed the Chargers among five teams he would most like to join. If the 10-year veteran lands in San Diego he will be reunited with Mike McCoy, who he played under the last two seasons in Denver.
McGahee missed the last two months of the 2012 season with a knee injury but is healthy now and running without restrictions.
The Chargers appear set at running back with Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. But it is possible McCoy views McGahee as an upgrade over Brown, especially since Brown's role as third-down back is expected to be usurped by Woodhead.
McGahee is the powerful, one-cut runner San Diego is missing in its rotation. His toughness and leadership will make Tom Telesco consider him at the very least. If he does sign, it would only add more heat to a Chargers-Broncos rivalry that escalated this offseason when Louis Vasquez, Quentin Jammer and Shaun Phillips all joined the reigning division champions.
The Right Pairing
The Chargers spent time this week looking at different combinations on the offensive line. But one thing is clear: the team likes the pairing of RT D.J. Fluker and converted guard Jeromey Clary.
Coach McCoy has resisted suggestions that Fluker begin his career inside at guard, which would prevent him from having to play in space and deal with speed rushers off the edge. The Chargers brass recognizes that tackle is the premium position and wants Fluker to grow into a dominant player there. That is why it makes sense to let Fluker line up next to Clary, who has made 78 starts at right tackle. Clary is a heady player who will make sure Fluker always knows his assignments and keys.
The alignment should also help Clary, whose most glaring weaknesses are a lack of foot-speed and athleticism. He has two years left on his contract -- $4 million in 2013 and $4.55 million in 2014 -- and must excel in his new role to justify San Diego's decision to keep him. If Clary flounders, McCoy will pick his guards from a group that includes Chad Rinehart, Rich Ohrnberger, Johnnie Troutman and Steve Schilling.
What's up, Doc?
Chargers doctor David Chao stepped down this week and will be replaced by Christopher Wahl, the chief of sports medicine at the UC San Diego Health System. The team must hope Wahl is not nearly as busy as his predecessor, who performed more than 200 surgeries on Chargers players over the last 10 years.
This year's Chargers team is low on depth in several key areas, especially defensive line, outside linebacker and cornerback. An injury to a key player at any one of those positions would be devastating.
New strength and conditioning coach Kent Johnston is also taking a proactive role in helping stem the tide of injuries that has devastated the team in recent seasons.
Are the Chargers better off without Dr. Chao? Discuss inside the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.