San Diego Chargers: 5 Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise After OTAs
With OTAs almost over, not a lot of news has come out of San Diego. This isn't a surprise with Manti Te'o being sheltered from the media.
After the horrific ACL injury to Melvin Ingram, the San Diego Chargers are looking for his replacement. Defensive end Dwight Freeney has been signed, but has not yet arrived to OTAs for personal reasons. Mike McCoy and his team want to put Ingram's injury behind them and prepare for the season. According to Chargers.com, the team is "off to a good start."
McCoy is impressed with the hard work coming from the drills. He also loves the way the players have handled the change to a new system.
Most news about the San Diego Chargers usually involves Philip Rivers. The loudmouth quarterback is ready for Ken Whisenhunt, new offensive coordinator, and Mike McCoy's new offense. For a guy who WANTED Peyton Manning in the same division for competition, learning a new system is a challenge he's up for.
In an article written by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, he quotes Ken Whisenhunt when asked about Philip Rivers.
"I think he can be a Pro Bowl quarterback. I think he can play at that level again."
When asked about Rivers' recent struggles in the same article, Whisenhunt had this to say.
I think it's unfair to really say the QB was at fault. I know he had some interceptions, but he didn't get a lot of protection, he didn't get a lot of help and that was difficult.
So, I'm excited, just on my time with him, in talking with him and meeting with and being on the field with him. He's a good quarterback, and I expect him to have a good year.
New coaches are already seeing the Philip Rivers of old. I'm telling you, all No. 17 needs is confidence in his team.
As of now, Max Starks will most likely be protecting Rivers' blindside. He's not the greatest, but he's definitely better than both King Dunlap and Jared Gaither. Well, unless Gaither was "healthy" of course.
“He’s doing a nice job" McCoy said after his first day of OTAs in an article on Chargers.com. “He got a crash course last week with the playbook, coming in, being around, so he’s been studying a lot trying to figure it all out."
It's nice to see Starks is ready to compete and get better. At age 31, Starks needs to be thinking long-term if he'd like to play any longer.
If the Chargers fix their offensive line, I'm telling you, they won't be that far away from competing not only for the division but for a championship. Tom Telesco is going with a youth movement, but with such a critical position like left tackle in need of help, Starks can earn a long-term contract next season if does well enough.
Last season was a big one for a player who's had a lot of ups and downs. Danario Alexander is only 24 years old, but has the knees of a 40-year-old. His constant injuries left him available in free agency last year. The Chargers had a depleted receiver unit, so they chose to bring "DX" in to help out.
That decision was one of a few good ones A.J. Smith made in San Diego.
After 658 yards and seven touchdowns in only 10 games, Alexander was expected to be on many team's radars this offseason. Luckily, no team offered him a contract, so he returned to the Chargers after signing his one-year tender. He'll have to prove he deserves a long-term contract before Tom Telesco forks over the money.
Ricky Henne of Chargers.com quoted Alexander in a recent article about the upcoming season. Alexander said
My knee felt great last year and it’s carried over into the offseason." He also showed a characteristic coaches love on a team, leadership: “I want to step up and be the leader of the wide receivers.
Let's hope Alexander, and Ryan Mathews, stay healthy this season.
Sorry, I had to throw that one in there.
The man who has basically doubled the amount of reporters in San Diego is off and running—and quite well to say the least.
Most people felt that Te'o would be the center of attention when he came to the Chargers. That hasn't been the case.
His teammates are not even joking around about his entire story. According to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, Le'Ron McClain told Sirius XM NFL Radio:
"The guy (Te'o) came in, and he's been working since he stepped on the field, stepped in the weight room. He's caught everybody's eye to see that he's a great player."
For everyone comparing Te'o to Junior Seau based on position and ethnicity, stop. Te'o is not Junior Seau. No player will ever be or have the impact of a Junior Seau. Nevertheless, Te'o can still be a productive inside linebacker next to rising star Donald Butler. He'll have every opportunity to get better with defensive coordinator John Pagano.
Who else is extremely excited to see this guy play in 2013?
Vincent Brown, who had a great rookie season, broke his ankle in the preseason and missed the entire 2012 regular season. At the time, many were saying he was the best receiver on the roster.
He's back now and is already practicing with the first-team unit on the outside. Eddie Royal is playing the slot position for now. (Remember, he thrived under Mike McCoy in Denver at the slot position). Chris Wesseling of NFL.com quoted Coach McCoy in a article regarding Vincent Brown.
"We laid out a plan for him early on, and he's one of those kids who want to go full speed, 100 miles per hour every play."
McCoy also expects Brown to be a big part of the offense this year. He absolutely loves this guy, as do most Chargers fans.
This is the second season in a row that Brown has looked impressive in the offseason. It's still early, but he's already making his mark on the new coaches.