FieldGulls - The big story in San Diego from what we can tell is, of course, the coaching change. It's pretty rare to see a coach fired after a 14-2 season, regardless of what happened in the playoffs. Was the situation between ownership and Schottenheimer really beyond repair, and what's the general expectation about Norv Turner taking over the coaching duties?
BoltHype - First Spanos comes out and tells everyone that Marty will be back for one more season, and then the next thing we know Marty is packing his bags. The real problem wasn't between Spanos and Schottenheimer, rather it was with Smith and Schottenheimer. AJ Smith is the man at Chargers Park and he and Marty just didn't get along. They literally could not stand each other to the point where one of them had to go. Spanos had to decided who he was going to keep, and who he was going to let out. Needless to say, you can find coaches who can't win in the playoffs. But you'll have a very hard time finding a GM who is as good as what he does like AJ Smith. Sure Marty won a bunch of games while here in San Diego, but he went 0-2 in the playoffs and that's the record that stands out the most to Smith and Spanos.
FieldGulls - Your running back – what's his name – seems like one of the classiest acts and most stand-up guys in the NFL. Can you explain what LaDanian means to the city of San Diego, what kind of effect he's had on the community?
BoltHype - LT means the world to San Diego. He really has come to consider San Diego his home, and does so much for the local community. Long-time Charger fans will forever be grateful for the effect Tomlinson has had on this franchise. He has helped turn the team around from being a doormat to a potential Super Bowl dynasty. I could go on and on about Ladainian, but the bottom line is that he is the King of San Diego, and we are truly lucky to consider him our own.
FieldGulls - Although anything can happen in the regular season, on paper I really can't see too many holes in the Chargers this year. Is there something we're missing? What are Charger fans concerned about with this season – are there any glaring areas that need to be improved upon that are nagging away at you guys?
BoltHype - There are some concerns. We need to find a starter opposite Marlon McCree. The safety position has been week for the Chargers since Rodney Harrison was let go. The team is obviously concerned with finding versatile safeties and they think they finally have them in rookie Eric Weddle and Marlon McCree. McCree was signed as a free agent last year and has been a tremendous factor in the improvement of our secondary. Hopefully the addition of Eric Weddle improves the secondary even more. We need to create more turnovers, and Eric Weddle was a monster in college doing just that.
Also, we are planning on starting largely unproven wide receivers. First pick Craig Davis is looking fantastic in camp, Vincent Jackson is entering his third year and has been progressing nicely, and the talented but oft-injured Malcolm Floyd has been an absolute beast in training camp so far. Lots of optimism about our wide receiver corp. Our problem the past few years hasn't been the lack of a number one receiver like you'll often hear from the media. It's been our guys haven't done a great job with getting Yards After the Catch. This new young group should excel in that area.
FieldGulls - There's a lot of talk that Antonio Cromartie could have a breakout season if given the chance. What are the prospects of that happening – will he earn the starting spot immediately after camp, or will it be something he'll take over in the middle of the season?
BoltHype - Cromartie looks like he is from another planet. He is unlike any cornerback you have seen. His blend of athleticism, size, speed, and natural playmaking ability is a rare, rare thing. Its only a matter of time before he becomes a true starter opposite Jammer, but as it stand, he plays so many snaps on special teams and defensive packages that he is plenty involved already. Drayton Florence is a very good player, so I don't expect Cromartie to earn a start on the base defense any time soon. If it does happen, it will only be because Florence is struggling. But Florence is a free agent next year, and Cromartie will step in nicely.
FieldGulls - Who else should we be watching this pre-season that we don't know about?
BoltHype - I would certainly keep an eye on Charlie Whitehurst. If he shows real improvement, I would expect that at some point he will be traded to a team that needs a potential starting QB. He is receiving some of the best coaching a Quarterback can get, and there are certainly going to be some teams in the coming seasons that need a guy with his tools.
Also, Eric Weddle is one to watch. His preseason performance will dictate whether or not he starts week one of the regular season. If he is clearly outplaying Clinton Hart during games, then Weddle will start. But he will need a spectacular preseason, and I think he'll get it done.
Oh and Antwan Applewhite. He went undrafted this year, but he is a local guy coming in from San Diego State. Making the move from Defensive End to an Outside Linebacker in a 3-4 defense is hard for some guys. But the Chargers need depth behind Shawne Merriman and are hoping they uncovered a gem in Applewhite.
FieldGulls - And what's your prediction on the final score Sunday? You already know mine…
BoltHype - We'll be playing a vanilla offense and will be trying some different things on defense, so it'll tough to say. But I would expect the score to hover around 30 points for the Chargers and only give up two scores to the Seahawks.
I'm going to go with 34-10, Chargers win.
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