Team Report: Inside Slant


Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2006
Reaction score
Team Report: Inside Slant


--Build Philip Rivers' confidence: Everyone within the Chargers is certain -- publicly, anyway -- that Philip Rivers will slide into the starting quarterback role for the first time and off the Chargers will go.
But NFL observers know that any first-time starter at this position will go through some growing pains. And Rivers will, too.

What the Chargers need to do is supply Rivers with a playbook that is maybe not as thick as the one he'll be toting around at midseason. What needs to be done is get Rivers playing with the confidence he'll need to overcome the expected bumps and obstacles.

So the staff will seek to find his comfort level with a package of plays he and his offense can execute with authority.

It's doubtful Rivers would stumble so much that backup A.J. Feeley would be asked to step in. That's why it's critical Rivers isn't asked to do too much right away.

Not only does Rivers have to be at ease, but it's important he shows his teammates he's up to the task as well. That allows the team to solidify its confidence in someone with 30 NFL pass attempts and three fewer touchdown completions than running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

Rivers' teammates have been effusive in their praise of his leadership abilities and skills. But talk is cheap this time of the year -- Rivers needs to prove he can be the Top Gun, and this camp will provide him ample opportunities to do just that.

--Find a left tackle: While most point to the quarterback position as the offense's most critical spot, an argument could be made that it's really left tackle. Does it really matter if the quarterback has the potential to lead a team if he keeps getting creamed by blind side hits?

That's why the Chargers need to determine if veteran Roman Oben, journeyman Leander Jordan or rookie Marcus McNeill is the left tackle.

The Chargers pray it is the savvy Oben. But he is being asked to rebound from two surgeries on his left foot, and after 10 NFL seasons, that is no slam dunk.

Jordan would be next in line, but his inconsistency has some Chargers insiders closing their eyes when their quarterback drifts back to pass. The prospect of having Jordan play every down in every game made the Chargers so squeamish they drafted McNeill in the second round.

McNeill, at 6-feet-7, 337 pounds, has the measurables. What he lacks is the experience and asking him to protect a first-year starting quarterback against the NFL's top speed rushers is a path the Chargers don't want to take right now.

--Shore up the secondary: The Chargers spent a No. 1 pick on a cornerback with one NCAA start. That reveals what the Chargers think of their current batch of cornerbacks, with the selection of Florida State's Antonio Cromartie.

Expecting the raw Cromartie to contribute immediately is but a pipe dream. Instead, Quentin Jammer and Drayton Florence will return on the corners, with a new face playing behind them.

Marlon McCree was the highest profile free agent the Chargers snagged over the offseason. He will likely play the strong safety spot; Terrence Kiel is the incumbent but is far from spectacular. Bhawoh Jue and Clinton Hart will possibly be squaring off for the free safety position. But Jue is coming off micro fracture knee surgery and Hart has never been a full-time starter.

CAMP CALENDAR: July 24: Rookies report. July 25-27: Rookie practices (not open to the public). July 28: Veterans report. July 29: First full squad workouts at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Aug. 3: Night practice. Aug. 9: Night practice. Aug. 22: Night practice. Aug. 5: Practice and Fanfest at Qualcomm Stadium. Aug. 11: Light workout on the USS Ronald Reagan. Aug. 25 Camp ends.
This thread has been closed due to inactivity. You can create a new thread to discuss this topic.