San Diego Looks To Re-Charge Offense
By Andrew Burer
The San Diego Chargers have wrapped up their first three-day minicamp under new head coach Mike McCoy. In a little more than a month, the real test begins with training camp.
Normally, there’s not much to take away from minicamp, but it’s different this year. With a new coaching staff and a new offense, the Chargers have a lot of work to do.
“We’re off to a good start,” said McCoy. “The players have bought in. That’s the most important thing. It’s all about the players and letting those 22 guys play and fly around the football and make big plays. That’s what it’s all about, but they’re buying in, doing a great job and I’m looking forward to training camp.”
Perhaps the biggest question heading into training camp is quarterback Philip Rivers’ progress with learning the new offense. Quick drops and shorter routes will highlight the passing game, so it won’t be as vertical as it was under former head coach Norv Turner.
During minicamp, the focus was learning and establishing various base formations, and according to McCoy, Rivers and the rest of the offense are quickly picking up the new system. McCoy also praised Rivers’ passion and willingness to learn and even guaranteed that he would have a “great” season. The Chargers will expand the playbook come training camp.
Aside from Rivers’ grasp of the new offense, other questions with the unit remain.
Who will start on the offensive line?
At this point, the only guaranteed starter is center Nick Hardwick. It’s likely that former Steelers left tackle Max Starks will anchor the left side of the line with former Bills left guard Chad Rinehart. Jeromey Clary, who is moving from right tackle, should man the right guard position while first-round draft pick D.J. Fluker will fill in at Clary’s old spot.
Brandyn Dombrowski, Johnnie Troutman, Steve Schilling, King Dunlap and Mike Harris round out the rest of the candidates who will compete for a job during training camp.
At wide receiver, incumbents Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd should see the most snaps once the season begins. The No. 3/slot receiver could be anyone among these candidates: Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown, Robert Meachem, and second-round draft pick Keenan Allen will all fight for roles during training camp.
However, given Floyd and Alexander’s injury history (Floyd’s 14 starts last year eclipsed his previous season high of nine, and Alexander has never started more than seven games in a season), the Chargers will likely have a variation of starters throughout the season.
San Diego begins training camp on July 25th.