Good news and bad news

Left tackle Roman Oben is out of his walking cast -- that's the good news.

Roman Oben appears to be a long shot to be ready for opening day -- that's the bad news.

The Chargers opened training camp last week, still scratching their head as what to do at left tackle.

The squad is hopeful that the blind side of first-year starting quarterback Philip Rivers' will be protected by a savvy veteran entering his 11th season. But eyeing a limping Oben walk around camp tells otherwise.

He might rebound from two foot surgeries which derailed his 2005 season. Or he may not.

And if he is fit for the season-opener in Oakland on Sept. 11, can the Chargers say with any certainty that he will be there Dec. 31 for the regular-season finale?

That's why among the biggest issues at this camp is the offensive line's most critical spot. How the Chargers determine to attack that spot may go a long way in determining Rivers' and the team's success.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer has been doing his best to talk-up Leander Jordan -- despite his inconsistent play last year. Some of his praise is falling on deaf ears and one injured shoulder (Brees') which now resides in New Orleans.

"I'm not going to stand here and say he is going to have a breakthrough year but we have been pleased with his progress," Schottenheimer said of Jordan.

Rookie Marcus McNeill could outlast Jordan in their competition if Oben isn't able to work much leading up to the opener. But McNeill has issues himself, the biggest being he has never played in an NFL game.

So do you really want to make a rare run at the playoffs with a first-year starting quarterback and an even more raw left tackle?

The Chargers might not have any other choice.


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