Bolts Roundup: Offensive Breakdown

The Chargers head to training camp with very few questions on offense. The team has a franchise quarterback, an MVP running back, an All-Pro tight end and an offensive line that returns all five starters. Mix in some young talent at wide receiver and a head coach widely recognized as an offensive guru, and you have the makings of something special. Here is how the offensive playmakers stack up…


  • Philip Rivers, in his second year as a starter but his fourth in the league should benefit from the arrival of new head coach Norv Turner. Quarterbacks have usually flourished under Turner, the noted offensive guru. Turner is inheriting a quarterback who's coming off a Pro Bowl season and shows all the signs of being among the elite player at his position for years to come.
  • Billy Volek gives the Chargers an experienced backup to run this team with Super Bowl aspirations should something happen to Rivers.
  • Charlie Whitehurst is a young talent who could be used as trade bait down the line, as it's unlikely Philip Rivers is going anywhere any time soon.
Running Backs

  • LaDainian Tomlinson will have a tough time duplicating his MVP season of last year, but don't put it past the future Hall of Famer. With the punishing Lorenzo Neal leading the way and the front line intact, Tomlinson could pick up where he left off in setting the NFL single-season mark with 31 touchdowns.
  • Michael Turner gives the Chargers a dynamite backup and change-of-pace to LaDainian Tomlinson's shifty style.
  • Darren Sproles lost last year to a broken leg and it remains to be seen if he will ever have a significant role in the offense. As a returner, Sproles could fill in as a kick-returner, but has looked shaky on punts.
Tight Ends

  • Antonio Gates continues to be the gold standard at this position with his reliable hands and his ability to shield defenders with his body. Gates led the Chargers in receptions, yards and TD receptions last season and there is no reason he shouldn't do it once again.
  • Brandon Manumaleuna's biggest role is as a blocker, but teams can't go to sleep on him as he slipped out of early blocks to catch three touchdown passes last year.
Wide Receivers

  • Craig Davis came with the team's top pick last spring. The Chargers were impressed with his hands and his ability to gobble up yards after the catch.
  • Vincent Jackson must prove he is up to the task of being a No. 1 guy. Now in his third year, Jackson has shown signs he could be a big-time contributor with his size (6-5) and decent speed. But sometimes he gets sloppy on routes and consistency is always something he is seeking.
  • Eric Parker is reliable at the No. 3 spot, although Chargers fans still can't shake the image of his dreadful showing in the playoff loss to the New England Patriots.
  • Malcom Floyd is worth watching as he is a great red-zone target and seems to have a good relationship with Rivers.
Offensive Line

  • Kris Dielman was the team's key offseason move as he turned down more money from Seattle to stay put in San Diego.
  • Nick Hardwick is a scrappy player coming off a Pro Bowl season.
  • Shane Olivea can be streaky, but also delivers a nasty attitude which others thrive off of.

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