By Timothy Downs @Tidow1212 on August 9, 2014
The San Diego Chargers have a wealth of talent at their skilled positions and have reason to believe they can make a run into the playoffs again in 2014. San Diego has a nice blend of youth and experience on both sides of the ball and project to be an exciting team to follow. Here's a look at ten Chargers' to keep an eye on during the 2014 preseason.
Brown had a nice season in limited action for the Indianapolis Colts in 2013, but in San Diego, he will have to compete with Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead for carries and plays overall in the offense -- which could be quite a chore. Brown needs a nice showing in the preseason if he wants solid playing time.
San Diego took cornerback Jason Verrett with the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft to help fortify its secondary, which was exposed at times in 2013. Eric Weddle is undoubtedly the leader of the unit and will take Verrett under his wing. Verrett should prove he was worth the first-round pick in no time.
Woodhead is not an overly effective rusher, but he provides the Chargers with a dynamic option out of the backfield for the passing game. Brown could take carries away from Woodhead in 2014, but Woodhead will not lose his responsibility as Phillip Rivers' check-down option and quasi slot-receiver.
Rivers had an incredibly underrated season in 2013 and if he stays healthy for the entire 2014 campaign, expect him to push for the first 5,000-yard passing season of his career. He has the weapons to do so and should see more possessions with the Chargers' improved defense stalling opposing offenses.
Weddle is among the best free-safeties in the NFL but doesn't garner a ton of attention nationally playing in San Diego, despite being a four-time All-Pro player at the position. Look for Weddle to be a positive influence on Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett in the preseason.
Gates is one of the best tight ends of his generation, but he is heading towards the back-nine of his career, and his duties in 2014 will also include grooming his protege Ladarius Green to his breakout season. Gates still feels he has plenty left in the tank at 34, so it will be interesting to see how he looks during the preseason.
Mathews had the best statistical season of his career in 2013 with 1,444 yards from scrimmage and a total of seven TD's. There is a feeling in the game that Donald Brown's presence will hurt Mathews more than Danny Woodhead, so it will be interesting to see how the Chargers will divvy out the carries during the preseason.
Allen heads into his sophomore NFL campaign having won ROY honors in 2013, and should solidify his name as one of the NFL's elite receivers in 2014 if he and Rivers stay healthy. Allen is simply one of the most dynamic talents to follow this preseason.
Te'o has put the scandal from his college days at Notre Dame in the past and seems to be healthy heading into the preseason. He was impressive at times during his 2013 rookie campaign, but he missed some time with a nagging foot injury. With less roadblocks during the 2014 preseason, we could see Te'o display some dominance as he did in college.
Green carries a ton of hype into the 2014 season, as he is supposed to take over the reins as San Diego's top tight end from the veteran Gates. Green has played for two different coaching staffs over just two seasons in San Diego, so it will be interesting to see what new Chargers' OC Frank Reich has cooked up for Green during the preseason.
Timothy Downs is a St. Louis Rams/NFL writer for RantSports.com. You can add him on Google or follow on Twitter @Tidow1212.
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