2. The fullback role lacks an identity in San Diego's offense. Rookies Jacob Hester and Mike Tolbert are better receivers than lead-blockers, yet they spent the bulk of their time performing the latter task. The Chargers must add a battering-ram type of fullback or switch to the two-tight end set as the base offense.
OT Jeromey Clary
4. Malcom Floyd's needs a consistent role in the offense. Floyd came on strong in the middle of the season, catching 27 passes for 465 yards between Weeks 6 and 15, yet was unable to work his way back into the rotation after recovering from a lung injury prior to the playoffs. Floyd faces an uphill battle because of the San Diego's intrigue with younger receivers Legedu Naanee and Buster Davis.
5. Igor Olshansky is an unrestricted free agent who will not return. The Chargers will look to bring in a replacement with more pass-rushing skills after Olshansky bagged only 11 sacks in his five-year career. This need is especially pressing since Luis Castillo started spending more time at nose tackle in the nickel defense.
6. The Chargers must get better play at the inside linebacker spot next to Stephen Cooper, but the answer is likely to come from inside the organization. The team intends to leave the job open to competition in what will be the first legitimate four-way battle in recent memory. Matt Wilhelm, Tim Dobbins, Brandon Siler and Anthony Waters can each make a case for the first-string gig.
LB Antwan Applewhite
8. Expect the merry-go-round at safety to continue. In his six-year stint as GM, A.J. Smith has already whiffed with safety signings Kwame Lassiter (2003), Bhawoh Jue (2005) and Marlon McCree (2006). Nonetheless, he'll have to dive back into the water this offseason, as Clinton Hart was a huge disappointment while playing in the first year of a new five-year contract.
9. The Chargers cannot allow Antonio Cromartie to go into next season as an unchallenged starter, not after his halfhearted performance in 2008. The challenge could come from Antoine Cason or Cletis Gordon, but Cro' will not be permitted to skate by without showing more discipline and physicality.
10. The Chargers have shown interest in the past in bringing in a kickoff specialist and could revisit that idea this offseason. For one thing, this year's playoff run provided a good lesson in the importance of field position. For another thing, Nate Kaeding has been forced to kick through injuries in the last two postseasons.
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.