Three to Watch: Gambling on Green Starters

Even with one of the most stable rosters in the NFL, the Chargers will break in a trio of first-time starters in 2008. On offense, two players who emerged as starters late last season will now handle those roles on a full-time basis. On defense, the League's best ball-hawking secondary has a new linchpin.

1. FB Andrew Pinnock

In his first training camp as an unquestioned starter, Pinnock has been limited as he works his way back from off-season knee surgery. However, when Pinnock is on the field, he injects the offense with a versatility that was absent in the Lorenzo Neal era.

Pinnock is not as powerful as Neal, but he is more effective blocking in space and far more dangerous with the ball in his hands. Pinnock started three games in 2007, with the Chargers averaging more than 180 rushing yards in those contests.

2. OT Jeromey Clary

Clary was active for 16 games last season, starting the final five in place of the struggling Shane Olivea. He has shown coaches he is capable of getting the job done and cemented his starting spot at right tackle this off-season despite the arrival of 10-year veteran L.J. Shelton.

Numbers often speak louder than words and Clary's reveal that Philip Rivers had a passer rating of 93.1 when he was on the line, as opposed to an 82.4 behind Olivea.

3. FS Eric Weddle

Weddle is a smart defender and plays with great intensity. He played 15 games last season and turned in 53 tackles, one sack and an interception. Playing mostly as the dime back, he provided solid coverage and sure tackles over the middle.

Taking over for Marlon McCree, Weddle will be expected to provide better help over the top and stronger man-coverage against pass-catching tight ends. Also, as he proved last season, he can be a dangerous weapon as a blitzer on third downs.

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