Preseason Primer: Chargers vs. Green Bay

The gates of Qualcomm will officially open on Saturday and much like the races at Del Mar, everyone is looking forward to the action. While everyone is curious about Philip Rivers' arm and poise in the pocket, he is but a subplot in the San Diego Chargers' aspirations.

  • Among the top questions that only a preseason can answer is whether Marcus McNeill can handle the left tackle position as a rookie. Roman Oben may or may not be here and McNeill will be asked to thwart Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, the brother of Akbar who is currently with the Chargers.

    Kabeer has 58.5 sacks to his credit over a seven-year career and at 6-foot-4, 220-pounds he has the speed to get around less mobile tackles.

    Speed will put the footwork of McNeill to the test and his ability to pass the exam will go a long way towards cementing Philip Rivers' health and the quarterback's ability to find a receiver down the field.

  • Who are the safeties? While many blame the cornerbacks for their shoddy play in San Diego, it is the safety play that has often been lacking. Over the top help is just that and oftentimes the criticism goes back to the cornerbacks who played to their responsibility.

    Those of us watching may not have seen it but it represents a fact – and why Quentin Jammer has been awarded a five-year contract extension. Having to make up for ground lost by the safeties in year's past has made the cornerback play look worse that in it was.

    Marlon McCree will most likely man one position while Terrence Kiel, Clinton Hart and Bhawoh Jue fight it out for the other. McCree has the best cover skills and while the conventional wisdom usually pairs a plus run-stuffer, the Chargers have proven to possess a stout front seven.

    The preseason will hash this out and aid to the ability of the cornerbacks to make plays.

  • Inside backers. While the outside linebacking position is filled with superstars and depth, the inside linebacker position is fit with peril.

    Donnie Edwards has not suited up during training camp and will not be back next season, if not sooner, and Randall Godfrey will officially retire at season's end. Names such as Stephen Cooper, Matt Wilhelm and Tim Dobbins will be given ample opportunity to prove they are the heir apparents.

    Cooper has already shown he is able in spot duty over the last few years and Dobbins is seen at the future at one position. But Wilhelm has made strides over the last two years and the Chargers remain excited about his potential. It should be fun to watch these youngsters make plays on defense and continue the stalwart play among the linebackers.

  • The drama will continue to unfold within the ranks of the undrafted and roster bubble players. The Chargers have churned out quality players from that market before and one player usually comes from the abyss to make the team – making the third and fourth quarters just as entertaining as the first two.

    Who will it be this year? Tune in to find out.

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