Chargers training camp comes with question marks

Chargers QB at Training Camp

It’s a go-to line for every football coach: keep your head on a swivel when around the pile.
Who knew that went for the media, too?

The Chargers opened training camp on Thursday and if you’re a reporter, you’re noggin’ was spinning.

We can’t say what the Chargers’ record will be or if they’ll land in third place for the third straight year. What we do know there are Chargers story lines in every direction:

  • Where are the Chargers going to be playing in 2016?
  • Will quarterback Philip Rivers sign an contract extension before the opener?
  • How will the offense survive with a suspended Antonio Gates missing four games.
  • Can Melvin Gordon run through the big boys like he did at Wisconsin?
  • Will Jason Verrett’s shoulders withstand the physical tool the NFL demands?
  • Will the revamped offensive line mesh into a unit?
  • Will the tepid pass rush be better minus any key additions?
  • Is a grumpy Eric Weddle a productive Eric Weddle?

Question, questions, questions and the Chargers will provide the answers soon.

Regarding 2016, the Chargers continue to show San Diego the hand. They’re not interested in negotiating with the city, so does all this trading deadline chatter include San Diego for Carson?

Rivers wouldn’t bite much on that transaction. All indications are there’s not much meat on the bone regarding his contract talks.

The Chargers are open to an extension but Rivers is playing coy.
“We’re having dialogue,” Rivers said. “If it happens, I would be super excited. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll be super excited about the team right now.”

It’s a squad which will have Gates chillin’ the first four games after he failed a test for performance enhancing drugs.

“I’m not really sure how it got in my system,” Gates said, and as much as well respect him, that explanation doesn’t fly.

While Gates sits, Ladarius Green gets a chance to shine. Maybe he’s fine, but know that Donald Brown had more receptions last year than Green.

Jason Verrett continues to draw praise from all corners. But will this cornerback stay fit? Here’s to his offseason work making his shoulders stronger, after he tore one at Texas Christian and the other one last year.

Love the shakeup with the big uglies but will it be pretty come game time?

Left tackle King Dunlap was kept local at left tackle and Orlando Franklin fled Denver and settles in at left guard. Chris Watt replaces center Nick Hardwick, but Watt made his mark at Notre Dame as a guard. Johnnie Troutman is at right guard, but can he hold off Joe Barksdale? D.J. Fluker remains the right tackle but could he be just as valuable playing inside?

The two men the Chargers count on to pester quarterbacks are Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu. These gentlemen combined for six sacks last year and now you know why this is a huge issue. In the pass-happy NFL, not having a pass rush is a recipe for not making the playoffs.

If Ingram and Attaochu provide an encore like last year, the Chargers’ calendar will be free come January.

Weddle and his beard were in camp, which many wondered about when he was skipping offseason practices. But Weddle is a pro’s pro and while he put a knot in the Chargers’ britches by missing the workouts, it really wasn’t that big deal.

What is grande is Weddle being in the last year of his contract. He’s bent on proving the Chargers wrong by not offering him a long-term deal and he’s playing for a new contract for a new team.
Whew — what a first day and please know camp doesn’t close until Aug. 21.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” coach Mike McCoy said.

 

+ Contact Jay Paris at jparis@bcaradio.com. Follow him on Twitter @jparis_sports.

 

(VIDEO: Chargers tight end Antonio Gates addressed the media for the first time since he was given a four game suspension for taking a banned substance.)

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