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Mailbag: Who is the MVP of Chargers Camp?

Q:  Who is Ricky Henne's star of training camp this year? -  Kyle Toltera

A:  There were a few players in the running for my camp MVP this year, but I have to give it to the same player I gave the award to last year – Keenan Allen. The fourth-year wideout has had a superb training camp, showing no rust from missing half of last season.  I sometimes forget just how smooth he is on the field.  Keenan was in a tight competition with Tyrell Williams, Manti Te’o, Melvin Ingram and, as always, Philip Rivers, but his performance during the joint practices with the Arizona Cardinals clinched it for me.  KA13 had his best showing Tuesday night at the Q, repeatedly making highlight reel grabs against Patrick Peterson and a highly regarded Cardinals secondary.  The Bolts made a big investment in Allen this offseason when they gave him a four-year contract extension, and he has showcased why he “earned every penny” of it as Head Coach Mike McCoy has said.

Q:  What is the biggest concern for you thus far? – Clint West

A:   It is way too early to make snap judgements no matter if they are positive or negative.  That being said, I think the biggest concern coming out of the first preseason game was the run defense.  The Bolts gave up 288 yards on the ground and three TDs, including big gains of 71 and 41 to the house.  After the game, the defense said they need to improve their run fits and take better angles when going for the tackle.  McCoy pointed toward the run defense needing to improve after reviewing the film as well:

“You can’t give up a 71-yard touchdown, a 41-yard touchdown and have way too many missed tackles.  The great thing about this game, is that it’s all correctable.  It’s a preseason game.  It’s unacceptable but we’re not going to play that way ever again.  The tackling part was poor, but it comes down to everybody doing their jobs.  If it’s a certain run-fit, what gap are you supposed to be in?  If you’re a safety coming down and you’re a certain player in a certain run fit, if it’s 3rd-and-1, make a tackle.  If it’s a first down, no big deal, it’s not 71-yards.  If it’s an opportunity to come free, you have to make that tackle.  It’s not one position; it’s all 11 guys and it’s the same thing on the other side of the ball.  When everyone does their job right, it’ll be fine.  With tackling the way we did, you’ll get (gashed) like we did.”

Q:  Amped up to see my Bolts in action Friday night again in person! Looking forward to seeing Hunter Henry. Who do you want to see against the Arizona Cardinals?– Arturro Giancolo

A:   Hunter is a good one!  I personally will keep my eye on Travis Benjamin.  This is a sneak peek at my “Five Players to Watch” that will be posted Friday morning, but I’m eager to finally see the speedster in game action.  He sat out the Titans game as the Chargers were extra cautious in bringing him back from a minor ailment. San Diego signed him for his explosive playmaking ability to stretch the field and as a punt returner.  Benjamin had a strong week of practice, so now it’s time to see what he can do under the bright lights.

Q:  Are you surprised that Kyle Emanuel is listed ahead of Jerry Attaochu on the depth chart? – Emmitt Bulter

A:   I understand fans love depth charts, and it is one of the most visited sections of our website.  But truthfully it is merely a piece of paper.  Jerry Attaochu, Kyle Emanuel and Melvin Ingram will all see significant action and share the load.  I wouldn’t put too much stock in who is listed as a starter at OLB as the Chargers are going to count on all three of those guys equally.

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