Volek has thrived in his first full offseason with the Chargers, thanks in large part to tutelage of Norv Turner. Volek has learned to be more patient and to rely on his check-down options rather than forcing the ball downfield. Through two weeks of preseason play, his 115.8 passer rating is the fourth best in the league.
Also working in Volek's favor is the lack of distinction between the Chargers' first- and second-string pass-catchers. He has worked extensively with Craig Davis, Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Scott Chandler. Add to that list LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, two talents who can dominate with any quarterback at the helm, and Volek has an abundance of weapons at his disposal should he be called into action.
Volek has proven that he can excel with even a modestly talented cast. In 2004, he became the fourth player in NFL history to throw for more than 400 yards in consecutive weeks. He did that with Derrick Mason and Drew Bennett as his primary targets. Imagine what he could do with the likes of Gates, Tomlinson and Vincent Jackson.
The Chargers face a difficult decision regarding Volek's future. He is in the final year of his contract and has a promising youngster, Charlie Whitehurst, eagerly awaiting his spot on the depth chart. However, the Chargers may reluctant to head into the 2008 season without an experienced back-up, especially as the team expects to be in Super Bowl contention for the foreseeable future.
It has long been assumed that Volek would watch the 2007 season from the sidelines and then enter free agency shortly thereafter. Instead, he is making a strong case for a new contract similar to the three-year, $5.4 million pact recently signed by Seattle Seahawks back-up Seneca Wallace.
Volek is one play away from taking over the reins of the NFL's most explosive offense. As he has shown throughout the preseason, he knows exactly what to do with it.