Young trio ready for depth-chart leap frog

In approximately two months, the San Diego Chargers will open training camp with a trio of young veterans looking to play a game of depth-chart leap frog. With a new coaching staff comes the second chance to make a first impression. While every non-starter hopes for bigger and better things, only three of them have a legitimate chance to make a move upward.

Charlie Whitehurst will give Billy Volek a stiff challenge for the top reserve spot behind Philip Rivers. As a rookie, Whitehurst impressed during the offseason by showing a strong arm and poise in the pocket. Now, with a year's worth of learning under his belt, he appears primed to fight for the No. 2 spot.

Unseating Volek will be no easy task, as the former Tennessee Titan has 10 starts, 3,509 passing yards and 26 touchdowns under his belt. That kind of experience is hard to go ignore on a team expected to make a deep run into the playoffs. But on talent alone, Whitehurst may be the better choice.

Derreck Robinson is the player most likely to make a jump, as he looks to replace Jacques Cesaire as the top reserve at the defensive end position. Robinson logged significant snaps in 2006 and seemed to outplay Cesaire for most of the season.

Experience is less of an issue here, as both players will get on the field. But should one of the starters go down, Robinson appears most ready to fill in, as he has superior size and pass-rushing ability.

Kassim Osgood is looking forward to the new coaching staff more than any other player. In 2006, Osgood had only two passes thrown his way as a part of Cam Cameron's offense. Now, he should push Malcom Floyd for the No.4 receiving gig.

Osgood and Floyd are opposites in nearly every way. Osgood is physical and disciplined, while Floyd is explosive yet soft and inconsistent. The new offense appears to need a receiver with the former qualifications more than the latter, given the loss of Keenan McCardell's steady hands and the fact that Vincent Jackson and Craig Davis are set to be the team's top deep threats.

While critics may see the Chargers' coaching turnover as the disruption of a well-oiled machine, the aforementioned trio hopes to capitalize on the opportunity to wow the new staff from the get-go. After all, Marty Schottenheimer was known for playing favorites (see Vanover, Tamarick). These three will stick to playing leap frog.

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