San Diego Chargers preseason primer

2006 season recap

Regular-season champions
The Chargers, behind a record-setting year from LaDainian Tomlinson, dominated the AFC West with an NFL-best 14-2 record. But the season ended in disappointment with a playoff loss to New England, which ultimately cost head coach Marty Schottenheimer his job.

Key camp questions

What impact will Norv Turner have on Philip Rivers
Turner has a reputation for developing quarterbacks, from Troy Aikman to Alex Smith. Turner's quarterback tutelage is one of the reasons why general manager A.J. Smith hired him as the team's new head coach. That and a familiarity with the offense that Turner helped create during a stint as offensive coordinator in 2001. Rivers passed for 3,388 yards and 22 TDs in his first full season as a starter, so Turner has some talent to work with.

Will there be a hangover effect from last season's disappointing finish?
The past two Super Bowl champions (Pittsburgh and Indianapolis) battled back from disappointing playoff losses to win the Super Bowl, so fans in San Diego are hoping that trend will continue. Of course, neither the Colts or Steelers had to deal with losing their top three coaches. Still the Chargers have the core of the team coming back and veterans such as LaDainian Tomlinson said the experience was invaluable.

Who will become the Chargers go-to receiver?
The Chargers are another team lacking a big-play receiver, but that problem has often been overlooked with the presence of Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates on the roster. Still, the Chargers are going to need some production from receiver, so it is up to Vincent Jackson, Eric Parker or rookie Craig Davis to take charge of the position.

Key position battle

Eric Weddle vs. Clinton Hart
Weddle was somewhat of a surprise second-round pick to most Chargers fans, but he will be competing for Terrence Kiel's vacated position. Weddle, a one-time cornerback at Utah, earned a reputation as a ball hawk. It shouldn't be long before he becomes a starter for the Chargers, provided that he signs and gets into camp on time.

Rookie spotlight

WR Craig Davis
The Chargers passed on USC's Dwayne Jarrett because they wanted a burner, and Davis certainly has the speed. Look for Davis to emerge as San Diego's slot receiver, which should open up the middle of the field for Antonio Gates.

on the spot

Norv Turner and A.J. Smith
Smith took quite a risk jettisoning Schottenheimer in favor of Turner while the expectations in San Diego are so high. Anything less than a Super Bowl championship, and this duo could feel the same pressure that plagued Schottenheimer.

Fantasy focus

Vincent Jackson
Now the unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver in San Diego after the release of Keenan McCardell, Jackson has a ton of sleeper value. A big, physical presence, Jackson will no doubt become one of Rivers' favorite targets and has a chance to become a viable No. 3 fantasy wideout.

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