However, the Chargers are facing some tough questions that could prompt changes. Firstly, who is the better backup to Williams, McKinney or Bingham? McKinney has the bulk (6 foot 2, 324 lbs.), but Bingham has the experience and the technique.
When Williams was sitting out during the early portion of training camp, it was Bingham who stepped in at nose tackle and ran with the first-team. The only problem with tabbing Bingham as the top reserve is that it leaves the team without a classic big body to hold down the middle of the defense should Williams go down for an extended period of time.
NT Brandon McKinney
Otto Greule Jr./Getty
If the Chargers feel comfortable with Bingham and Cesaire as the only backups to Williams, that would clear space for the team to keep one of its promising second-year defensive ends, either Andre Coleman or Keith Grennan.
Coleman is intriguing because he is the quickest defensive lineman on the roster. Reminiscent of former Charger DeQuincy Scott, Coleman is a penetrating force who can chase down plays from behind. Grennan is more of a blue-collar run-stopper who holds his ground at the point of attack and can knock down passes at the line of scrimmage.
So how does everything shake out? I believe Coleman can beat the odds and make the active roster. Last season, only 10 of San Diego's 45 sacks came via defensive linemen, and adding Coleman to the mix should bolster that number. That would leave the Chargers with two options to seriously consider: 1) cut McKinney; or 2) keep seven defensive linemen.
If Head Coach Norv Turner keeps 25 defensive players on the active roster, the final spot should come down to either a seventh lineman (Coleman or McKinney) or a ninth defensive back (likely DeJuan Tribble).
Turner's past tendencies indicate he is more likely to keep extra help in the secondary, which means the battles on the defensive line will only get more intense as the final two weeks of the preseason play out.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.