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McCoy Already Strategizing for 53-Man Roster

Take a look at all of the Chargers players that will be at training camp this year.

Head Coach Mike McCoy sat in his office Tuesday morning, overlooking a silent, empty practice field. 

Luckily, that's about to end.

In just a few short days, 90 players will battle it out in front of thousands of raucous fans for the right to be a San Diego Charger.

For months, fans have come up with their own mock 53-man roster. The head coach is no different. While the Chargers have until Sept. 2 to decide their final roster, McCoy already has endless scenarios running through his head.  

"I constantly keep a 53," he said.  "I always have it in the back of my head.  I did it at the end of the OTAs, and the end of Mini Camp.  It's also constantly evolving. Guys get hurt, and how the players perform change as well. There are so many scenarios, so it means nothing right now.  It's only on paper and it's an outline.  After the first preseason game I will outline something again. So I am constantly going through the what-ifs, and we have a long way to go. Things evolve and emerge.  We may find over time a certain weakness to our team, so we have to find ways to explore options in other areas.  It is constantly evolving."

Of the 90 players currently on the roster, at least 37 will see their dream of being a Charger come to an end before the Bolts kickoff against the Kansas City Chiefs.  As a result, position battles provide inherent drama each season.  Still, McCoy explains that the team doesn't have a set number in mind when it comes to how many players they will keep at a certain position as that too is a fluid process.

"In a perfect world, yes you have set numbers.  But that is never the case.  You have injuries that (factor in), and also success comes into play.  There is a certain position that you think you were set in, but there is a young player and think he is that next guy, do you want to risk losing him?  You wish you had the crystal ball to see who you may have to protect.  Is there someone you can put on the practice squad that you can risk getting through waivers in order to keep someone who performed better?  There are certain positions that may be less likely to be claimed there than other spots, and that's where I rely on (General Manager) Tom (Telesco) and his staff. All it takes is one team to like a player and he's gone, so there are so many things that go into deciding the roster. We want to keep the best players to help your team, and there are a number of variables that come into play. That's why I like to constantly keep working it out in my head."

Overall, this year's Chargers Camp will look awfully similar to previous years, but differ drastically in others.  For instance, the structure of instillation periods and rotations for how players will be used remains the same.  On the other hand, for the first time under McCoy, the Bolts will practice against another team when they host the Arizona Cardinals.

"I have a lot of respect for (Arizona Head Coach) Bruce Arians, (General Manager) Steve Keim and (President) Michael Bidwell," he said.  "They are a great organization to go against.  They have a very talented team, so it will be a great tool for us to use to get ready for the regular season.  When we sat down and talked about what we wanted to do together, the format is going to be very similar to our regular practices.  We talked about that at length.  It is going to be a good test for us, and I think the players will like it because it can get old going against each other every day."

Finally, fans will have front row seats to all the action right from the get-go, and the head coach is hopeful for a high turnout at Chargers Park.

"Training camp gives our fans a unique opportunity to be up close and personal with the team.  We are going to sign autographs every day after practice.  You are a lot closer to the action at training camp than you can be at the stadium, so I want our fans to enjoy this opportunity.  Soak it all in and get ready to support the team.  It's going to be a great year."

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