As we count down the days until the start of the preseason, let's take a look at some of the more interesting stories surrounding the Chargers this past week.
PHILIP RIVERS RANKED 61st IN NFL's TOP 100 LIST
Philip Rivers made his debut in the NFL.com's Top 100 Players of 2012 list, tumbling from his 26th overall ranking in 2011 down to 61st in 2012 - a fall of 35 spots. With the Chargers missing the playoffs each of the past two years, and with Rivers turning the ball over more in '11 than in any other year in his professional career (20 Interceptions + 5 lost fumbles), one could see why his raising star may have sunk just a bit.
The Top 100 list is comprised of votes from current players, and in a league that asks "what have you done for me lately?" Rivers will have to throw less interceptions, do less trash-talking, and win more games if he is to reclaim a spot in the top 30.
So is Rivers underrated or overrated? Is his trash-talking going too far, especially considering he is a quarterback? Will this ranking light a fire under Rivers and do you expect big things from him?
Source: NFL.com & NFL.com
CAN THE CHARGERS REPLACE VINCENT JACKSON'S PRODUCTION
The Chargers simply couldn't afford to keep their immensely talented Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who signed a five-year, $55.55 million free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the off season. Jackson's departure leaves a big hole in the Chargers' passing game as a guy who has the potential to go for 1000 yards with 10 touchdowns every year. Rivers is now without his favorite deep-threat and match-up nightmare.
The Chargers hope to replace Jackson with a combination wide receivers now on the roster. Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Roscoe Parrish and Michael Spurlock were added in free agency, and Vincent Brown and Malcom Floyd are proven complimentary pieces. The team also signed a load of college free agents to camp, and will take a look for those guys to compete with Richard Goodman as the team's 5th receiver.
What is your take on the Chargers new-look receiving corp? Do you think the team will have enough time to prepare together and gel? Who do you expect to emerge from this group and cement themselves as the number one guy?
ANTONIO GATES IS HEALTHY AGAIN
Big news for Chargers fans; it looks like #85 is fully healthy again after finally getting enough time away from the game to heal his foot injuries.
"Gates looks great, he's back. Physically, he's back to where we want him to be. I think, like anybody, going through this off season program helps you get better. (It's) the combination of conditioning, the combination of getting better in the areas you can improve, and being out there with your teammates."
If Antonio Gates can reclaim his Pro Bowl form, he'll be an invaluable contributor to what the Chargers do on offense, with or without the ball. His presence alone will help Ryan Mathews and Robert Meachem avoid double teams and being spied by linebackers and safeties.
Source: UT San Diego
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