Chargers among most improved backfields in NFL

Good morning.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com ranks the running back position of the San Diego Chargers one of the most improved in the league.

With the addition of this year’s first-round selection Melvin Gordon, along with the return of Danny Woodhead from a season-ending ankle injury, Brooks believes San Diego’s running game will be much better in 2015.

Brooks: “While the Bolts’ passing offense ranked 10th in the NFL last season, the ground attack finished at 30th. San Diego simply didn’t have a consistent threat in the backfield. That changed when the Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon with the No. 15 overall pick in April. The rookie out of Wisconsin is unquestionably San Diego’s most dynamic runner since LaDainian Tomlinson; he gives the team an explosive back with tremendous balance, body control and burst.”

My take: Brooks is a former NFL scout and has a good handle on all 32 rosters in the league, so no argument from me here. I also like the running backs San Diego added on the back end of the roster in rookies Jahwan Edwards and Dreamius Smith.

Nathan Fenno and Sam Farmer of The Los Angeles Times report that only the Coliseum has publicly expressed interest in hosting a team relocating to Los Angeles as a temporary venue.

My take: It’s interesting that other venues in the Los Angeles area have not expressed interest. However, the NFL has other options, including having teams like the Chargers continue to play in their home markets until a new facility in Los Angeles is built.

Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Eric Weddle and Philip Rivers’ sons played on the same NFL Flag football teams this spring, winning the Super Bowl locally for the team’s division.

My take: A cool story that shows the bond these two foundational players for the Chargers have built on and off the field.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com points to improved depth along the offensive line as one of the five things he’s learned about San Diego after the first week of training camp.

My take: With the additions of Joe Barksdale, Chris Hairston and Michael Huey, the drop-off is not as significant when frontline players are out up front.

Steve Hartman and Mike Costa of Xtra 1360 Fox Sports radio interview Chargers linebackers coach Mike Nolan in this audio link. Nolan says inside linebacker Donald Butler could have been affected by the pressure of signing a high-dollar contract last season. Nolan: “It’s hard not to become distracted by a contract, I will say that. There’s a lot going on in your life when all of a sudden when you’re handed a lot of money, as far as things you do with that money. There’s just a lot going on. And so I believe in a simple way distractions set in, not intentional on his part. But I think he’s very focused right now.”

My take: As Nolan said, Butler looks like his old self in camp so far, and the entire defense is playing much faster. Nolan said Butler is 10 pounds lighter than he was a year ago.