2. Vincent Jackson has emerged as a certified go-to receiver. His breakout began during last season's playoffs, when he averaged 100 yards per game, and has continued into this season. Jackson is less than 90 yards away from setting a new career-high and there are still eight games to play. Jackson is pace to top 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.
FB Mike Tolbert
4. Malcom Floyd has cemented his status as the No. 3 receiver, which could actually be bad news for the long-term stability of the receiver position. Floyd, Jackson and Chris Chambers are all scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2009 season. The Bolts would love to get Buster Davis and Legedu Naanee ready to play by then, but the second-year receivers have struggled to merit playing time.
5. Jeromey Clary has yet to establish himself as the long-term solution at right tackle. Although his play has been steady, he struggles with speed rushers off the edge and fails to collapse the backside of running plays. The latter issue is the more pressing concern, as it negates cutback opportunities for Tomlinson.
DE Igor Olshansky
7. The Chargers have a surplus of young inside linebackers -- Stephen Cooper, Matt Wilhelm, Tim Dobbins, Anthony Waters and Brandon Siler -- yet the position is still a weak link on a struggling defense. Wilhelm misses too many tackles; Dobbins overruns too many plays; Waters is slow to read offenses; and Siler struggles to play in space.
8. Starting safeties Clinton Hart and Eric Weddle continue to struggle and there is no relief in sight. Hart missed two assignments and allowed a 12-yard touchdown to Saints WR Devery Henderson. Weddle provided the comic relief, getting flagged for celebrating an interception that never was. The only backups behind Hart and Weddle are converted cornerbacks Steve Gregory and Paul Oliver, so the Chargers must hope their starters improve over the second half.
9. The Chargers must find a way to jump-start Antonio Cromartie's sagging season. The hope is the bye week will allow his hip injury to heal so he can come back in better shape. If that fails, Norv Turner may consider using Cromartie on special teams or even offense to try to give him a spark. Cromartie's big plays tend to come in bunches, so it may be time for the Chargers to manufacture some.
10. Nate Kaeding showed great accuracy on Sunday, connecting on all three field goal attempts, but his kickoffs were too short. On his six kickoffs -- not including the onsides kick -- the ball landed on average at the 5-yard line. He must get the ball closer to the goal line to give his coverage team a chance to make maximum impact.
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.