Ahead of schedule in his recovery from January microfracture surgery, Gordon may be limited during OTAs, but he hopes to be a full participant at June minicamp. He's a clear favorite to handle most of the early-down workload, but both Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver represent serious competition for snaps and touches. The San Diego offense operated best last season when it abandoned the run and used Woodhead over Gordon. This may have partially been due to questionable running by the rookie, but a slew of injuries on the offensive line was likely the bigger factor. Improved health up front would at least give Gordon the opportunity to break out, though he still needs to prove that he brings more than straight-line speed to the table.
Flowers failed to intercept a single pass last season, the first time he hasn't recorded at least one takeaway in his six-year career. Couple that with the fact that he registered just 33 tackles (29 solo), and it's fair to say Flowers is coming off his worst season as a pro. However, following an offseason in which the 30-year-old corner reportedly trimmed 10-12 pounds off his frame and appears completely healthy following a nagging knee injury that caused him to miss the final four games of the regular season, Flowers looks to be on the upswing heading into the new year. Even with Casey Hayward joining the secondary via free agency, Flowers is still expected to start opposite Jason Verrett and could be a good candidate to rebound should he stay healthy.
Oliver, a 2014 UDFA, seems to have made a full recovery from the toe injury that landed him on IR after eight games. Melvin Gordon (knee) and Danny Woodhead figure to get most of the snaps, but Oliver could also mix in. His roster spot appears secure, and he might eventually challenge for a leading role if Gordon isn't up to the task. It's also worth noting that Gordon is still recovering from January microfracture surgery, though he is expected to be ready for training camp.
Mettenberger now heads to San Diego to reunite with former head coach and current offensive coordinator of the Chargers, Ken Whisenhunt. The 24-year-old was waived by the Titans on Monday after two seasons with the team in which he started 10 games. He'll compete with veteran Kellen Clemens for the number two spot on the depth chart behind Philip Rivers.
Despite having microfracture surgery Jan. 5,
Microfracture surgery often requires an extended absence with possible complications, but Gordon's procedure reportedly wasn't too invasive. He's already taking part in some offseason workouts, and he said he has no doubt that he'll be a full participant at the start of training camp. Assuming no setbacks, Gordon has a clear path to the lead-back role in San Diego, following a rookie season in which he averaged just 3.5 yards per carry behind an injury-ravaged offensive line. Danny Woodhead also figures to have a significant role, particularly in obvious passing situations.