The Los Angeles Chargers open training camp on July 28 at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California. Here's a closer look at the Chargers' camp:
Top storyline: The Chargers have not addressed how the team will replace No. 1 tight end Hunter Henry, who suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on the first day of organized team activities in May and is out for the year. The Chargers have to figure out how to fill the void. Signed away from the Denver Broncos in free agency, Virgil Green probably will move into the No. 1 tight end role, however, the Chargers have a group of unproven players behind him. One player to keep an eye on is receiver Mike Williams, who can be used as a big target for Philip Rivers in the middle of the field. Williams looked more explosive during offseason work after an injury-ridden rookie season. The Chargers also could bring back Rivers' security blanket, future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates.
QB depth chart: Rivers is the unquestioned starter, and has not missed a game since taking over as the Bolts' top signal-caller in 2006. However, the Chargers will have competition for the No. 2 job between Cardale Jones, the incumbent, and Geno Smith, who signed a one-year deal to join the Chargers this offseason. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said the competition between those two probably will be decided during preseason play. Undrafted rookie Nic Shimonek out of Texas Tech also has shown some flashes of playing well during offseason work.
Bubble watch: Outside linebacker Kyle Emanuel has been used primarily as a starter the past two seasons as an early down run stuffer. However, Emanuel played only 290 defensive snaps last season, and the Chargers selected USC product Uchenna Nwosu in the second round of this year's draft because he offers more versatility as a pass-rusher in obvious situations. Emanuel finished with 33.5 sacks at North Dakota State but has recorded only 3.5 sacks in three NFL seasons. Emanuel could stick around because of his ability to contribute on special teams.
This rookie could start: The obvious choice here is first-round draft pick Derwin James. Selected No. 17 overall, James played mostly near the line of scrimmage as a strong safety with the second unit during offseason work, as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley focused on the Florida State product learning a new system. However, James should find a way into the starting lineup by the time the regular season starts because of his athleticism, ability to get people on the ground in space and cover talented tight ends such as Kansas City Chiefs pass-catcher Travis Kelce in the middle of the field.
Battle for L.A., Year 2: The Chargers experienced an uphill climb in the first year of the team's relocation from San Diego to Los Angeles. The Chargers lost their first three home games at their temporary home, the 27,000-seat StubHub Center, as opposing fans took over the stadium. Moreover, they have yet to make much headway into carving out a niche in the ultra-competitive L.A. market. Still, the Chargers hope to attract more fans by continuing to be more involved in the community and putting a winning product on the field -- the Bolts have been picked by several NFL prognosticators to win the AFC West.
Legion of Boom 2.0: Bradley oversaw the creation of the Legion of Boom while serving as the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, and has now put together a similarly talented defensive backfield with the Chargers. Cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett have Pro Bowls to their credit, strong safety Jahleel Addae is an ascending player and James is expected to compete for defensive rookie of the year honors. Along with those four, slot defender Desmond King consistently made plays last season as a rookie, and Trevor Williams more than held his own as a replacement for an injured Verrett last season. With Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa consistently creating pressure off the edge, the Chargers could lead the league in interceptions in 2018.