Training Camp Battles Heat Up

The preseason is now underway and training camp battles are becoming more intense with each passing day. The Chargers' top two draft picks are competing for starting spots, but face stiff challenges from Malcom Floyd and Clinton Hart, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, two second-day draft picks face uphill battles in their attempts to make the active roster.


Malcom Floyd vs. Craig Davis for starting WR: This competition has taken a new sense of urgency with starter Eric Parker likely to miss the first month or so of the season with a toe injury.

Floyd has always been a favorite target of Philip Rivers as the two used to spend hours throwing to each other when they were backups. Davis is the apple of the Chargers' eye after they burned their No. 1 pick on him in the April draft.

While many are touting Davis, coach Norv Turner said Floyd has opened his eyes. "Everyone is interested in a couple of other guys, but I really am impressed with Malcom Floyd," Turner said. "Because I think he is taking steps to be a complete receiver. Davis, though, also had a good week. "We want to get Eric back as soon as we can, but Craig is going to be a factor in our football team."


Ryon Bingham vs. Brandon McKinney for backup defensive tackle: These are two players the Chargers hope don't see a lot of playing time. If that was the case, that means Pro Bowl DT Jamal Williams is out. Bingham is the leader in that he is listed behind Williams. But McKinney is having what defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely describes as a great camp.

Darren Sproles vs. Craig Davis for PR: On a team where there are very few position battles, this remains one of the most spirited. Sproles has looked fine in fielding kickoffs -- Michael Turner is still expected to claim that role -- but not so good on punts. That was the same thing that derailed him two years ago, when he was the team's main kickoff returner. But he became so unreliable on punts, that the job went to Eric Parker. The pressure is on Sproles; if he can't make the team as a return guy, there might not be a roster spot for him. The Chargers are fairly confident Davis can handle the role, as he returned punts at LSU.

Cletis Gordon vs. Paul Oliver for No. 4 cornerback: Gordon is in his second year and the team likes his athleticism. Oliver came to the team in the supplemental draft, which means he didn't participate in the offseason workouts. While neither player will probably be counted on heavily this year, the Chargers are looking to the future here. Starting cornerback Drayton Florence is in the last year of his contract and won't be invited back. That means Gordon and Oliver could be in for substantially more playing time in 2008, if they make a good impression this summer.


Davis is seeing increased work with Parker (toe) out of action for the next nine weeks. Davis will return punts and kickoffs in the team's second preseason game...Eric Weddle is staying right with Clinton Hart in their battle for the strong safety job. Weddle is also getting work in the dime packages...ILB Brandon Siler is facing an uphill battle to make the team...TE Scott Chandler could be headed to the practice squad...Looks like FB/WR Legedu Naanee is going to make the club... ILB Anthony Waters is getting more work with Matt Wilhelm (calf) sidelined.

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