The San Diego Chargers have been one of the better teams in the AFC West in recent years, but that hasn't always meant a whole lot given the state of that division. They went from being an 11-to-10-win team to being "that team that won't change it up" rather quickly. Last season, the general manager and head coach combination of A.J. Smith and Norv Turner once again failed to bring the Chargers back to respectability. It cost both of them their jobs.
This offseason, the team finally shook things up in that regard, and now the Chargers once again have their sights set on the AFC West. The problem: that division now contains Peyton Manning, and he's plenty healthy to steer the Denver Broncos to another 10-plus wins. Will the Chargers pose a threat with the new regime or is a rebuilding effort in order?
The Chargers suffered a big offseason injury when Melvin Ingram tore his ACL during OTAs, and they were forced to scramble to get somebody -- anybody -- who could rush the passer. They ended up giving Dwight Freeney a nice contract to come in and fill the hole left by Ingram.
Freeney will wind up being a key addition regardless. Another key addition is cornerback Derek Cox, who has some injury concerns but if he winds up healthy then he'll be a solid starter going forward. Max Starks will likely come in and earn one of the starting tackle spots as a free agent signing.
Ultimately, San Diego is hoping that their draft class pans out sooner rather than later, bringing D.J. Fluker in as a first-round pick to help protect quarterback Philip Rivers and wide receiver Keenan Allen in the third round to provide another target alongside Malcom Floyd.
But again, the biggest changes came in the front office. San Diego hired a new general manager in Tom Telesco, the former director of player personnel for the Indianapolis Colts. They also brought in a new head coach in Mike McCoy, and the front office is concentrating on getting the Chargers back to respectability without the aid of a full-on rebuilding effort.
Training camp location and schedule
The Chargers open training camp on July 24, when veterans are scheduled to report. Their first practice at Chargers Park is on July 25, and there are multiple practices open to the public. A full list of the practices open to the public can be found here. Season ticket holders can attend a practice on July 31 and Aug. 2 that is exclusive to them, and fans can head to Qualcomm Stadium on Aug. 3 for the Chargers' FanFest.
Below, we've got a full practice schedule for Chargers' training camp, via the official website here.
|July 25||9:30-11:30 a.m.||Chargers Park|
|July 26||3-5 p.m.||Chargers Park|
|July 27||9:30-11:30 a.m.||Chargers Park|
|July 28||3-5 p.m. - Chargers Instameet||Chargers Park|
|July 31||3-5 p.m. - Open to invited Season Ticket Holders only||Chargers Park|
|Aug. 1||9:30-11:30 a.m.||Chargers Park|
|Aug. 2||3-5 p.m. - Open to invited Season Ticket Holders only||Chargers Park|
|Aug. 3||10:55-12:50 p.m. - FanFest presented by Bud Light
|Aug. 5||3-5 p.m.||Chargers Park|
|Aug. 10||9:30-11:30 a.m.||Chargers Park|
|Aug. 12||3-5 p.m.||Chargers Park|
|Aug. 17||9:30-11:30 a.m.||Chargers Park|
Strong safety: The Chargers got rid of Atari Bigby and now have a big hole at the strong safety position. There are likely three players up for the job, including Brandon Taylor, Darrell Stuckey and Marcus Gilchrist. The latter is going to be interesting, given that he played as the nickel corner last season. The Chargers have a big need at strong safety and switching him over will likely be beneficial.
Wide receiver: Part of Rivers' struggles of late have been the lacking group of offensive weapons. Danario Alexander probably holds one of the starting spots, leaving Malcom Floyd to compete with Vincent Brown for the other starting spot. Floyd has played well, but Brown is an up-and-comer who saw his chances derailed last season due to an ankle injury. On top of that, there's rookie Keenan Allen, who has an outside chance to win a job, but will get an opportunity to show his stuff in training camp regardless.
Cornerback: With Gilchrist switching to safety, the Chargers have some open spots at cornerback. Derek Cox will be the No. 1 cornerback, but the No. 2 spot isn't exactly guaranteed at this point. Shareece Wright seems poised to grab the No. 2 spot, but Johnny Patrick and Steve Williams could be in the mix as well. After that spot is settled, the rest will duke it out for the nickel corner role.