2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chargers loaded with rookies, including coach, GM

By BERNIE WILSON - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-23 13:23

SAN DIEGO (AP) - With Manti Te'o plus a new coach and general manager, the San Diego Chargers' training camp will have a definite theme: The Rookies.

Coach Mike McCoy, hired away from his job as offensive coordinator as the division rival Denver Broncos, opens his first camp with the Bolts with a roster revamped by new GM Tom Telesco, hired away from the Indianapolis Colts.

The pair of 40-year-olds inherited a team that went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third straight season. Fans can no longer moan about Norv Turner and A.J. Smith, the coach and GM who were fired the day after the 2012 season ended.

The Chargers will get plenty of attention after moving up in the second round to draft Te'o, the former Notre Dame linebacker who was duped by a hoax involving a fake girlfriend.

Five things to know as the Chargers prepare to open training camp with their first practice Thursday in San Diego.

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1. TE'O TIME: Te'o is the most intriguing player on the Chargers' roster. While fans are buying lots of No. 50 replica jerseys, they're also wondering how well Te'o can play inside linebacker in the NFL after his college career ended with his poor performance in Notre Dame's blowout loss to Alabama in the BCS national championship game. Te'o is penciled into the starting lineup after veteran Takeo Spikes was cut in the offseason. And there's still that matter of the fake girlfriend hoax that embarrassed Te'o and was the talk of the sports world for a few months. McCoy says the hoax will fade away if reporters stop asking Te'o about it. Perhaps to help, the Chargers are giving Te'o his distance from reporters. The Chargers made Te'o available as little as possible during the spring and refused to allow one-on-one interviews. They apparently plan to continue the ``star player'' exemption during training camp. Under that exemption, players with heavy media demands must be made available to the media at least once during the practice week. Quarterback Philip Rivers is the Chargers' other ``star player.'' Despite the Chargers' approach, Te'o has handled himself well in front of the microphones. He hasn't dodged any questions, doesn't seem nervous and looks his questioner's way when giving an answer.

2. CAMP CONCERNS: Telesco wasted no time tearing apart the roster, which meant tossing aside starters and depth in the defensive front seven. The rookie GM released Spikes and defensive tackle Antonio Garay, and let linebackers Antwan Barnes and Shaun Phillips, plus defensive linemen Vaughn Martin, leave as free agents. So the Bolts will be looking to establish depth on the defensive line and at linebacker. They'll also have to sort out their depth at wide receiver. Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd are the presumed starters at wideout. Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal return after disappointing seasons, but they'll be challenged by rookie Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown, who missed 2012 with a broken ankle.

3. OH BOY, O-LINE: Oh, what Rivers would give for a season in which he isn't under siege practically every play. That's what last season was like, when Rivers sometimes had to throw the ball into the ground to avoid onrushing defenders. McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will have to develop cohesion in the offensive line, where there are three new starters: left tackle Max Starks, left guard Rich Ohrnberger and rookie D.J. Fluker, the team's first-round draft pick, at right tackle. Additionally, veteran Jeromey Clary is moving from right tackle to right guard. The only guy staying put is center Nick Hardwick. Rivers was sacked 49 times last year and committed 22 turnovers, giving him 49 turnovers in two seasons.

4. HE'S BIG, BUT CAN HE PASS BLOCK? - Fluker is a big man - 6-foot-5, 339 pounds - and was acclaimed for his run blocking with national champion Alabama. But there have already been questions about how well Fluker can pass block and do his part to keep Rivers upright. Fluker didn't seem to dazzle everyone during offseason workouts.

5. RUN, RYAN, RUN: One Chargers player who desperately needs a reboot is running back Ryan Mathews, who's been plagued by injuries and fumbles in his first three seasons. Once hailed as the heir apparent to LaDainian Tomlinson, Mathews had a rough 2012. He broke his right collarbone on his first carry of the exhibition season, and then broke his left collarbone in a 31-7 loss to Carolina on Dec. 16 that eliminated the Chargers from playoff contention. He finished with 707 yards and one touchdown. His three-year totals are 2,476 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. By comparison, Tomlinson had 4,564 yards and 37 touchdowns through his first three seasons.

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Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is highly unlikely to return to the team next season, sources within the organization said. Head coach Jay Gruden convinced owner Daniel Snyder [ More ]

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 01:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) felt some progress in his sprained left medial collateral ligament Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Fitzgerald was pretty upset [ More ]

Julius ThomasNov 26 01:23p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Phil LoadholtNov 26 12:33p

Minnesota Vikings OT Phil Loadholt (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Geno SmithNov 26 12:23p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will return to the starting quarterback role in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, after QB Michael Vick saw only three starts. The [ More ]

Timothy WrightNov 26 10:43a

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright has 23 catches on 26 targets this season. 'Every time we throw to him it's a touchdown - we'll try to find him [ More ]

R. Griffin IIINov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Colt McCoyNov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

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