What is the difference between this year’s San Diego Chargers, who this weekend prepare for their first playoff game of the season (in case you forgot or something), and previous Chargers teams? Maturity and experience are certainly at the top of the list. The young wide receiver and offensive line units have grown by leaps and bounds since last year. But the most important difference has to be injuries, or in this post-season a lack thereof.
Think about it. In each of the last three seasons the Chargers have been mostly the same team playing the way. They have gotten off to slow starts, their offense has been stellar while their defense has been inconsistent yet solid when it counted. But when you look at the health of the team, you’ll find that a majority of the Charger's recent injury problems occurred at the beginning of this season, while a majority of previous injury problems occurred in the middle and end of the regular seasons in 2007 and 2008, leading to struggles in the playoffs.
This is the Chargers’ best chance yet win it all. I don’t base that statement on a stellar 13-3 regular season or an 11-game win streak. I base it on the health of the team. I am a firm believer that a healthy Chargers team would have beaten a then tiring-yet-perfect Patriots team in the 2008 AFC Championship game, and I believe that a healthy Chargers team this year will win it all.
* I find it interesting that most of the media outside of San Diego keep talking about what the Jets have to do to win this game. On one hand, I’m getting a little tired of the lack of attention being paid to the Bolts. Maybe they are jealous of our near perfect “winter” weather, our beautiful sunsets, or our crazy-good Mexican food. On the other hand, that really is a sign of respect. Everyone expects the Chargers to win, and when they aren’t talking about the Jets great defense or great rushing attack, all of the “experts” are still picking the Chargers to win.
* I like Rex Ryan. He is brash, in your face, and is a nasty defensive coordinator. He is as different from Norv Turner as Tony Saragusa is from anyone at an Anorexics Anonymous meeting. Back in 2007 when AJ Smith began interviewing candidates to replace Marty Schottenheimer (may he retire in peace), my first choice was Ryan. It’s very interesting to see Norv and Rex now squaring off in the playoffs. I don’t see this game coming down to the prowess of the head coaches, but if it did, right now I’d put my money on Norv. Unless we were talking about their prowess in Sumo wrestling. Or hot dog eating. But I digress. Let Ryan do the talking… we will let Norv do the winning.
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Labels: NFL Playoffs 2009
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