LB Jyles Tucker (Stephen Dunn/Getty)
With only two preseason games left before the final cuts are due, several Chargers players are coming down to the wire when it comes to sealing their spots on the active roster. Samantha Fillerup profiles five players to watch in the primetime Monday night game against the Seattle Seahawks.
1. OLB Jyles Tucker
Tucker has established himself as a pass-rushing force, but he was much less effective versus the run against the St. Louis Rams. He was slow to diagnose plays and get off his blocks. To his credit, he recorded a sack in the second quarter, but he needs to show he can make the necessary stops against the run.
Tucker's performance becomes all the more critical with Shawne Merriman's availability in doubt. If Merriman is forced to miss some or all of the regular season, Tucker will have to step into the starting lineup and pick up the slack. The game against the Seattle Seahawks is the perfect opportunity to prove he is ready.
2. WR Buster Davis
Davis caught two passes for a team-high 40 yards against the Rams. He will need to show he is a consistent threat is he is going to hold off Legedu Naanee for the right to be the first receiver to come off the pine. His biggest challenges are to run better routes and to work harder to make himself available to quarterback Philip Rivers.
Davis is also in a battle to be the starting punt returner. He made a good case for himself last week, bringing back his only return for 36 yards. Another strong showing like that and Davis will give Darren Sproles a run for his money.
3. OT Jeromey Clary
Clary needs to elevate his play if he plans to remain the starting right tackle. In last week's game versus the Rams, Leonard Little got inside Clary's head, netting one sack and coaxing Clary into a false start.
Clary has another tough task against the Seahawks, where he will face Patrick Kerney, who finished second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks last season. Clary will have to prove he has the quickness to stay with speed rushers off the edge; otherwise, L.J. Shelton will be breathing down his neck.
4. CB DeJuan Tribble
Tribble has the raw talent to be a core contributor to the dime defense and on special teams. Nonetheless, he needs to start producing in the preseason if he hopes to nail down a spot on the active roster. He has yet to register a pick or a pass breakup.
Tribble is currently the ninth defensive back in the rotation. However, the Chargers may keep only eight in the secondary to make room for another defensive linemen or linebacker. Tribble needs to prove to the coaching staff he is too good to cut.
5. KR Mark Jones
Jones has made an immediate impact as a punt returner but must find a way to stand out from his competition. He was off to a good start with his performance in the preseason opener, when he returned three punts for 57 yards. He was held in check last week, though, returning two punts for 6 yards and one kickoff for 25 yards.
Jones is fighting an uphill battle in his quest for a roster spot because of his inability to contribute on offense. If he can bring back a kickoff or a punt for a score against the Seahawks, he will at least give himself a fighting chance.