Questions Linger as Training Camp Opens

SS Clinton Hart (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty)

San Diego Chargers rookies and select veterans report to training camp on Monday, with the first full-squad workout on Friday. SDBoltReport.com sets the table for camp's kickoff by laying out the top-six questions that need to be answered by the time the team breaks camp on Aug. 28.

1. Who will start at right guard?

Former Pro Bowl alternate Kynan Forney is penciled in as the starter, but he'll receive a strong push from third-rounder Louis Vasquez and swingman Scott Mruczkowski. It seems inevitable that Vasquez will take the position sooner than later, but first he must acclimate from Texas Tech's spread offense. The Chargers would like to tab a starter and stick with him so the line can develop some cohesiveness.

2. How will the safeties shake out?

Changes are in-store for the safety rotation. Sixth-round pick Kevin Ellison will push Clinton Hart for the starting job at strong safety. Regardless of that battle, Ellison's addition threatens to knock either Steve Gregory or Paul Oliver out of the dime back package. All these aforementioned players -- along with Eric Weddle -- will partake in a high-stakes game of musical chairs.

3. Who powers the platoon?

The Chargers will rely on several players to replace RDE Igor Olshansky, including Jacques Cesaire, Ryon Bingham, Ian Scott and Vaughn Martin. Both Cesaire and Bingham are proven cogs in the defensive machine, so the intrigue surrounds Scott and Martin. Scott looks to resurrect his career under the guidance of Ron Rivera and Don Johnson, whom he thrived under while in Chicago, while Martin looks to quickly fulfill his potential while making the daunting jump from Western Ontario.

4. Which undrafted rookies will stick?

Several undrafted rookies have the potential to defy the odds and earn a spot on the final 53-man roster. TE Kory Sperry has a chance because of his ability to control the middle of the field. LB Darry Beckwith is a contender, as well, especially now that Matt Wilhelm is out of the picture. Additionally, OT Dan Gay has a fighting chance, given that the tackle position will be in flux after the season.

5. Which wide-out will be left out?

Norv Turner typically keeps only five receivers active on game days. Starters Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers are locks, as is special-teams ace Kassim Osgood. That leaves room for two of these three players: Buster Davis, Legedu Naanee and Malcom Floyd. Davis has the most to prove as a former first-round pick; Naanee has reportedly enjoyed the strongest performance so far this offseason; and Floyd is the most proven of the three performers.

6. Who eats up L.T.'s table scraps?

Turner said he'd like to give LaDainian Tomlinson 320 carries this season, which cranks up the pressure on those looking for leftovers. Darren Sproles hopes for an increased role after making the most of every touch last season. Fourth-round pick Gartrell Johnson expects to contribute, as well, and is the most powerful back in the rotation. Also, hybrid back Jacob Hester and former Pro Bowler Michael Bennett are chomping at the bit. Some talented players are sure to be left wanting; the identify of those players will be revealed as training camp unfolds.


What questions do you want to see answered? Talk about it in the message boards.


Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and 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 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

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