Chargers camp: Three key goals and top battle

A healthy Denzel Perryman should be good for the Chargers' run defense.Photo: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the Chargers' priorities

By Jay Paris, The Sports Xchange

Three goals:

  • Shore up the run defense. The Chargers' defense did a lot of good last year, but it's ability to stop the run wasn't among the unit's highlights. It got steam-rolled for 3.8 yards per carry, which was 26th in the league. With the drafting of defensive tackle Justin Jones and linebacker Denzel Perryman's return to health, the Chargers are banking on the run defense being better.

  • Find a kicker. The Chargers cycled through four kickers last year and if looking for a reason why the squad was the best team not to make the playoffs, search no further than here. Caleb Sturgis, last with the Eagles, seems to have an edge on being the Chargers' newest kicker. But head coach Anthony Lynn, after getting burned last year, is taking no chances and has brought in Roberto Aguayo to push Sturgis.

  • Find a tight end. This was a position of strength last year, with future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates and emerging star Hunter Henry on the roster. But Gates wasn't invited back and Henry suffered a season-ending knee injury in offseason workouts. Virgil Green was brought in from Denver to block, but the team is searching for some reliable hands.

Top battle:

--Kicker. There wasn't a spot last year that cost the Chargers more games than this one. It can't be overstated how critical it is for the Chargers to shore up this part of special teams. It figures to be a spirited battle between Caleb Sturgis and Roberto Aguayo. And don't be surprised if the Chargers continue to seek other avenues of improvement if other kickers get cut.