The San Diego Chargers will kick off the season at home against the Houston Texans on Monday, September 9th. This means that players have July and August to prove their worth and try and make their way into the starting lineup. Any predictions for now are speculation, but there is enough evidence to paint the general picture for the team. Mike McCoy is known for frequently changing up his offensive scheme, so the positions listed may not always be included in the lineup. That being said, here are the likely starters for each position on the offense.
Quarterback: Philip Rivers
This should surprise no one that knows anything about the Chargers. While he may have had some frustrating years, he is still the trusted man under center for San Diego. Rivers is still a respected quarterback in the NFL and doesn’t have any legitimate competition for his starting spot.
Running Back: Ryan Mathews
Mathews has been a frustrating part of the Chargers offense in his 3 year career. Despite this, he will be handed the ball opening day as he still has the potential to become a good running back. However, there is a good chance that he becomes injured or doesn’t play as well as the coaching staff expects. If this is the scenario, look for a lot more carries from Danny Woodhead as his production in New England was crucial to that offense.
Fullback: Le’Ron McClain
The fullback position may not be utilized consistently under Mike McCoy’s offense. That being said, expect McClain to be in that position when it is needed as he is the only fullback that will be on the roster.
Wide Receivers: Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd
Alexander and Floyd are and will remain the main two wideouts for the 2013 season. They have both put up solid production numbers and shouldn’t be out played by the younger receivers on the roster. Depending on the offensive scheme McCoy is running, the Chargers may have four receivers on the field at a time. In these formations the third receiver will almost certainly be Vincent Brown. Brown has been expected to be an impact player on the team before his injury last season. The fourth spot still remains up for grabs. Eddie Royal is the favorite at the moment, but Keenan Allen has much more potential and may prove himself to be an important piece to the Bolts air attack.
Tight End: Antonio Gates
Even though Gates is now 33 years old and not the tight end he once was, he is still one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He is the starter here as long as he is healthy. When the Chargers run a two tight end formation, Ladarius Green will likely step into this role.
Offensive Line: Max Starks (LT), Chad Rinehart (LG), Nick Hardwick (C), Jeromey Clary (RG), D.J. Fluker (RT)
The offensive line for the San Diego Chargers is really up in the air this season. Last season, it was one of the worst in the NFL so its no surprise that three new names are featured in this group. Nick Hardwick is a great center and is probably the only player on the line that has his spot set in stone. Starks also has solid experience in the left tackle position so he will most likely protect Philip River’s blindside come September. D.J. Fluker was this year’s first round draft pick and is expected to help this struggling unit from day one. He may also shift to guard depending on how McCoy thinks he will fit into the offense. Jeromey Clary has not done well in the past at offensive tackle. That being said, he is a good enough lineman to play in the inside where his weaknesses will be less exposed. He should be a solid guard this season.
The last guard spot is there for the taking. Rinehart is listed as my starter for now because he is larger and has more playing experience then Rich Orhnberger. However, neither player has been truly effective in the NFL and there is no guarantee they will be starters. One final lineman to mention is tackle King Dunlap. He didn’t play that well for the Eagles last year, which means he won’t start at tackle for the Bolts, but he could always get thrown in at guard if the Chargers think he can help out the line.
The San Diego Chargers don’t have an offense that will break records and win Super Bowls. What they do have is a few great veteran players and a lot of young potential. While there are a lot of holes (mainly in the line), this team does have the potential to do some considerable damage in the AFC.