Burning Questions for San Diego Chargers' Training Camp
When the San Diego Chargers open training camp on July 25, there will be burning questions lurking about camp.
As the Chargers look to wipe the board clean and start fresh this season, several players are facing added pressure to perform well in 2013 for a variety of reasons. The new regime is also under pressure to succeed in its first year.
Here are the burning questions surrounding the Chargers as they get ready to start camp.
Can Mike McCoy and Ken Wisenhunt Fix Philip Rivers?
Before the Chargers can move forward in 2013, something will have to be done about Philip Rivers.
Forty-seven turnovers over the past two seasons do not measure up to what the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback is capable of, and it's certainly not the level of performance you'd expect from the face of the franchise.
As he prepares for his 10th season with San Diego under a new coaching staff, it's imperative that Mike McCoy and Ken Wisenhunt fix Rivers while they still can.
Both coaches have been extremely optimistic about Rivers in the offseason with Wisenhunt going so far as to say the San Diego quarterback can reach Pro-Bowl status once again.
McCoy recently sat down with the "NFL Total Access" crew to break down film of Rivers, and the feeling you get from the new Chargers head coach is that he's ready to get to work.
Can Ryan Mathews Be "the Guy" for the Chargers?
Three years after being drafted 12th overall by the Chargers in 2010, Ryan Mathews hasn't established himself as "the guy" yet.
Two separate clavicle injuries derailed what was supposed to be a breakout season for the third-year back in 2012, which leads us to believe that this season is the make or break year for Mathews.
Coach Mike McCoy's expectations for his running back in 2013 are, "To have a great year and be the guy." according to NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal.
Will Vincent Brown Live Up to Expectations in 2013?
Almost a year removed from his season-ending ankle injury, the buzz surrounding Vincent Brown has gone through the roof with most experts predicting he'll be a starter opposite Danario Alexander.
According to U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken, Brown is feeling 100 percent and ready to go for training camp.
While it's quite feasible that Brown will earn a starting job this season, the competition is stiff. People tend to forget that Brown had just one good rookie season before all this hype started to build around him.
Can Danario Alexander Repeat 2012 in a Full Season with San Diego?
If Danario Alexander can mimic what he did in eight games last season for the Chargers, he'll be well on his way to finishing 2013 as one of the league's better receivers. The money wouldn't be all that bad either if his performance proves he is deserving of a bigger payday.
Alexander was the team's second-leading receiver in receptions and receiving yards last season and tied with Antonio Gates for most receiving touchdowns. The chemistry between he and Philip Rivers was electric to say the least.
The true test for "DX" will come in the form of a 16-game season with the Chargers.
Has Enough Been Done to the Offensive Line to Keep Philip Rivers Upright?
San Diego's 49 sacks was second to just the Green Bay Packers in 2012. The only difference, however, is that Aaron Rodgers still managed to win football games even after being flattened 51 times. Philip Rivers, on the other hand, wasn't so lucky.
The offensive line has been tweaked enough this offseason to consider it an upgrade from 2012, but will it be enough to give Rivers the protection he needs to make accurate throws?
The lone starters remaining from a year ago are Nick Hardwick and Jeromey Clary, which clearly shows that training camp will be a learning process for this unit.
Will Mike McCoy Be Able to Fix the Offense?
After Mike McCoy works his magic on Philip Rivers, the Chargers' head coach will have to focus his attention on an offense that almost ranked dead last in total yards last season.
While fans might be hoping McCoy can develop the Chargers into last year's Denver Broncos, the reality is San Diego probably won't have the league's second-ranked offense in points per game in 2013.
Still, that shouldn't stop two bright offensive minds like McCoy and Ken Wisenhunt from getting more production out of the team than Norv Turner did.
What Sort of Impact Will Dwight Freeney Have on His New Team?
Is he a linebacker? A defensive end? A pass-rushing specialist? Regardless of how the Chargers use Dwight Freeney, he'll have some sort of impact on defense.
The 12-year pro enjoyed a decorated career with the Indianapolis Colts, and the hope is he'll be able to bring some of that sack-rich history with him to San Diego.
As training camp wears on, the team will be able to determine where Freeney is best suited to play in the Chargers' defense.
Is Manti Te'o as Good as the Experts Say?
Coming out of college, the draft experts raved that Manti Te'o was one of the most instinctive linebackers they had ever seen and his future in the NFL would be bright. That being said, he was passed on by every team in the first round before landing in San Diego.
If Te'o is truly the same player we witnessed at Notre Dame, then he's sure to have an illustrious career as a Charger.
In training camp, Te'o must prove to the front office and the rest of the teams that passed on him that he is NFL-ready and capable of playing at the level of a first-rounder.
Have the Chargers Found a Franchise Offensive Tackle in D.J. Fluker?
D.J. Fluker has the most pressure on him to succeed in his first season not just because he's a first-round pick, but also because of why the Chargers drafted him.
Fluker was drafted 11th overall because he's expected to be that franchise offensive tackle the team can depend on moving forward. He also signifies the first building block in the Telesco/McCoy era.
For training camp to be a success, Fluker must demonstrate his ability to fit that role as a franchise player and cement himself as a leader on the team similar to the way he did in Alabama.
Will Keenan Allen Prove He Was a Steal of the Draft?
A player's draft stock means everything to team executives, and that proved true in the case of Keenan Allen. The knee injury Allen suffered in college was enough to send his stock crashing down in the draft.
The best way for Allen to prove he was a first-round talent is to make strides in training camp. The rookie wideout will be competing with Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem on the depth chart for playing time, which could end up going in his favor judging from how poorly both veterans performed last year.