The NFL preseason provides four opportunities for players on the bubble to distinguish themselves. A few good plays could make the difference in securing a spot on the 53-man roster or at least the practice squad. With one preseason game down, the San Diego Chargers have several players who desperately need to stand out in the remaining three games.
RB Edwin Baker: Baker (round seven, 250th overall) has been overshadowed in camp by Michael Hayes (undrafted, Houston). Neither was impressive in the preseason opener against the Packers, but they are likely competing against each other for a spot on the practice squad.
Hayes had six carries for 10 yards and a fumble. Baker only touched the ball once for three yards. Baker has seen a few more reps in practice this week and should have more carries against the Cowboys on Saturday.
TE Kory Sperry: Sperry played in all 16 games for the Chargers with four starts last season but only had one catch for 32 yards. He has eight career receptions for 136 yards in three seasons. He didn't have a catch in the preseason opener.
Sperry’s chances of making this year’s roster appear to be quickly dimming. TE Dante Rosario (free agent, Broncos) has consistently received more reps than Sperry in practice. Rosario had one reception for 9 yards against the Packers. Sperry must take advantage of any opportunities he receives the remainder of preseason.
TE Ladarius Green: Green (round four, 110th overall pick) had no catches against the Packers and seldom touched the ball through the first two weeks of camp. His reps dramatically increased this week, and he has made several nice plays.
QB Philip Rivers said Green is the most improved offensive player. To be included on the roster, Green needs to prove he can perform in game situations as well as he has in practice.
WR-KR Roscoe Parrish: Parrish (free agent, Bills) is competing for the fifth WR spot with incumbent WR-KR Richard Goodman and Micheal Spurlock (free agent, Buccaneers). Spurlock had two catches for 52 yards and returned two kickoffs for a 13-yard average against the Packers. Parrish and Goodman did not play.
Even with Spurlock’s strong performance, Goodman is considered a leading candidate for the fifth spot because he's the fastest of the three. Parrish must make some big plays if he has any chance at winning the job.
SS Corey Lynch: Lynch (free agent, Buccaneers) has done everything right. He has intercepted Rivers at least three times in practice and was the second highest (four) tackler against the Packers.
The Chargers may not keep five safeties no matter how well Lynch plays. San Diego will already carry an additional RB with the injury to Ryan Mathews (broken clavicle) and may carry a fourth TE if Green makes the cut. Nevertheless, if Lynch continues to play well it will be a difficult decision to cut him.