Today is my birthday, and all I wanted for my birthday are a couple of Chargers playoff victories. So much for that idea! Now I come out of my week-long exile to discuss what happened, and what the future holds for the Bolts.
The Chargers ended the season on an 11-game win streak because of better talent, incredible ability on the offensive side of the ball, and a renewed focus on game awareness and character. Finally, we all thought, these guys have grown up and are now living up to the hype that has followed them for 3+ seasons.
But in the playoffs, they became everything they were not.
The Chargers lost to the Jets because of a poorly concocted game plan, an inability to make plays on offense, and a self-indulgent, irresponsible performance that bordered on asinine. The Jets didn't beat them, the Chargers beat themselves.
Let me give some credit where credit is due. The Jets' gameplan was to stick around long enough for the Chargers to implode, and it worked out pretty well for them. Even though the Chargers outgained them 359-yards to 269-yards, the Jets held Norv's high-powered offense in check almost as often as the Chargers shot themselves in the foot.
So enough about that painful end to the Chargers season...what is coming this offseason? Let's look at some of the big topics that will be discussed in the weeks and months ahead:
IS LT DONE AS A CHARGER?
Due $5-million in 2010 and with a $2-million roster bonus to be paid in March, we are likely to know sooner rather than later if LT will be back next year. Personally, I think he is Chargers history, not just because of the money but also because of the offense. With Philip Rivers and a ton of good receivers, we don't need to spend a lot of money on a running back.
CAN THE CHARGERS KEEP DARREN SPROLES?
He made over $6-million this season. Do not expect that to happen again. The Chargers will work on a signing him to multi-year deal, but that may expose him to the free-agent market before it gets done.
IS SHAWNE MERRIMAN WORTH KEEPING?
In what may become a more debated issue than the potential release of LT, Merriman's off the field drama, his penchant for injury, and the big bucks he will demand all make his status on the team a big question mark. There's a good chance he will return on a one-year deal as a restricted free-agent, but would you be surprised if AJ Smith invited some other team to take a chance on him?
THE NFL DRAFT!
It's great that we have all of our top draft picks available this year. As was previously reported here on BOLTHYPE, the Chargers could go in any number of directions. In evaluating AJ Smith's draft history one thing is clear: you can identify the team's greatest weakness, and then assume that AJ Smith will not draft for it in the first round. The Chargers will need a new running back, a lot of help on the defensive line, and I would still argue for a right tackle. Assume that none of those positions are taken in the first round.
*My picks for today's games: I'm pulling for Drew Brees, but it will be Colts over Jets and Vikings over Saints.
Agree or disagree with anything I said? Has the past week giving you time to reevaluate your stance on the Chargers? What would you like seen done in the offseason? Let's chat in the comments section below...
Labels: NFL Offseason 2010
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