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Mailbag: How Will Craig Mager Be Used in 2016?

Q:  Hi, I have a question about Travis Benjamin. Would you say he is the new replacement after losing veteran wide receiver Malcom Floyd?– Mario Romano

A:   I never like to say one person is the replacement for another, but it's no secret that Travis Benjamin will be expected to fill some of the void left by Malcom Floyd's retirement.  More specifically, he will be looked at to be the team's vertical deep threat in 2016.  However, their styles are completely different.  While M80 thrived at high-pointing the jump ball down field, Benjamin prefers to simply blow past them.  Including special teams, Benjamin's 13 NFL touchdowns average a whopping 52.3 yards per score.  So in the sense of stretching the field, I would say that he is expected to replace that productivity.

Q:  How do you see Craig Mager being used because he didn't see the field as much as I thought he would as a rookie?– Marco Holz

A:   Last year was a stepping stone season for the cornerback who faced a major leap from Texas State to the NFL.  He admitted last year was a learning experience, and that the learning curve was steeper than expected.  Mager never doubted his physical skills, but rather had to get adjusted to the speed and nuances of this level of competition.  Entering 2016, he expects to be a key reserve ready to pinch in when called upon in sub packages.   Believing his time will come to be a starter in the near future, he relishes his role as being a security blanket for Jason Verrett, Brandon Flowers and Casey Hayward, capable of taking the field at any spot:

"I just want to be a security blanket for those guys. If they ever need a breather, or if something happens, they can tap out and I'll go in and they know they won't miss a beat.  So I have to focus and prepare for every single receiver because I don't know who I might have to replace.  I need to study nickel packages, slot receivers, outside players. So I just try to study and learn three little things from each guy.  If I can break it down to that and remember those three things, I'll be good for the game."

Q:  Which draft picks besides the first two picks are you looking forward to watching at Training Camp? – Todd L.

A:   It's tough to pick just one.  I am really eager to watch Derek Watt in action, but I feel it is harder to get a true grasp of a fullback in practice than other positions.  I'm more eager to see him in the preseason game when he is able to make full contact than I am at training camp.  As a result, I'll go with Jatavis Brown due to his raw skillset and athleticism.  I've been intrigued with the inside linebacker ever since General Manager Tom Telesco said the entire draft room would have "revolted" if the Bolts passed on him with their fifth round pick.

Q:  How quiet is it around Chargers Park right now? – Dave Boone

A:  Very!  The facility buzzes for 11 months out of the year, but these few weeks leading into training camp is the only time I'd classify as a dead period.  There is a lot of hard work still being done, but right now is the one chance that most, including players, coaches, scouts and more, get to have some rest and relaxation with friends and family before the nonstop grind begins.     

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