Predicting the Winner of the San Diego Chargers' Biggest Training Camp Battles
Competition will bring out the best in the San Diego Chargers when training camp gets underway on Thursday.
A new roster should make for some captivating position battles, five of which appear to be the biggest heading into camp. Having more than one player vying for a spot is a good problem for the football team but also a difficult decision for the coaching staff.
The winners of the following training camp battles will see most of the snaps come this season, while the losers could find themselves riding the bench more often than not or possibly looking for a new team.
Here's a look at the five biggest battles heading into camp and how they'll play out.
Top Candidates: Jeromey Clary, Johnnie Troutman, Rich Ohrnberger, Chris Watt
Offseason Buzz: Clary, last year's starter, underwent hip and shoulder surgeries in the offseason and was absent from OTAs. Troutman, Ohrnberger and Watt each took reps with the first team.
Predicted Winner: Clary or Troutman/Ohrnberger
If health allows, Clary should manage to keep his job as a starter. He's been a part of San Diego's offensive line for eight seasons now and provides leadership that the younger players can't offer. But as Eric D. Williams of ESPN pointed out, it's a possibility he starts the year on the PUP list, which would force the Chargers to name a replacement. Troutman and Ohrnberger both played the spot last season, but don't count out Watt to emerge in camp.
Top Candidates: Marcus Gilchrist, Jahleel Addae, Darrell Stuckey
Offseason Buzz: Addae's standing with the team has been on the rise as of late, and most experts close to the situation argue that he'll challenge Gilchrist in camp, including Eric D. Williams of ESPN.
Predicted Winner: Addae
Addae's hard-hitting style was a breath a fresh air in San Diego's secondary last season. His sometimes reckless nature wound up punishing a fellow teammate or two in the process, but it also produced a handful of game-changing plays on defense. Gilchrist was solid his first year at the position, but a defense in need of turnovers will look to No. 37 for more physicality.
Top Candidates: Sean Lissemore, Kwame Geathers, Ryan Carrethers
Offseason Buzz: Defensive coordinator John Pagano indicated that Lissemore is the starter heading into training camp, but Geathers and Carrethers will still compete for playing time in sub defense.
Predicted Winner: Lissemore
Pagano may have pinned Lissemore as the starter early on, but his mind could change if the pair of 330-pounders make strides in camp. Carrethers was drafted for the sole purpose of adding more size in the middle and was convinced he'd win a starting job if he put the work in.
No. 2 Receiver
Top Candidates: Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown
Offseason Buzz: A healthy Floyd stood out this spring, according to Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego. No. 80 looked like his old self catching passes from Philip Rivers and looks ready to resume his career from that nasty hit against Philadelphia that ended his season.
Predicted Winner: Floyd
Floyd has long been a staple of the Chargers' passing attack, and the thought of him pairing with star receiver Keenan Allen has fans ecstatic about what they'll see from the duo in 2014. Brown has an opportunity to rebound from the average year he posted in 2013, but it should be Floyd who ultimately wins the No. 2 job next to Allen.
Top Candidates: Dwight Freeney, Jarret Johnson, Melvin Ingram, Larry English, Thomas Keiser, Jerry Attaochu, Tourek Williams, Cordarro Law
Offseason Buzz: Freeney and Johnson took pay cuts in the offseason to remain in San Diego. Freeney, who is coming off a torn quad, was a limited participant in OTAs but is expected to be ready for camp.
Predicted Winners: Freeney/Johnson and Ingram/Attaochu
Outside linebacker won't be a two-man job, but rather a four- to five-man gig depending on how Coach Pagano manages his rotation. Just getting down to a 53-man roster is going to require a lot of sacrifice at this deep position, but I think San Diego settles on five guys to run with.
Fans were given just a short glance at Freeney in a Chargers uniform before his season was cut short, and Ingram just grazed the surface of his potential when he returned from a torn ACL late last year. Johnson's production has dipped down in recent years, and he played a career-low 11 games in 2013.
Attaochu, the Chargers' second-round pick in May, will be the most intriguing player to watch from this group. He set a school record for sacks at Georgia Tech and was one of the most explosive pass-rushers in the country last season.