A quick look at the roster reveals this San Diego Chargers team isn't the same team you're probably used to seeing. Gone are a number of big-time players, and those who would replace them are trying to carve names for themselves. But emerging from the turnover of talent could be a team more balanced and with more to prove than the Chargers of the past. BOLTHYPE's Blake Hill explains...
For each of the past three seasons, Chargers fans have known what they’ve had going into the season.
They knew they had a star running back.
They knew they had a rising star at quarterback.
They knew they had pro bowlers at tight end, left tackle, wide receiver and linebacker.
They knew they had a 360-pound bull at nose tackle.
They knew they had a spider-like cover corner and one of the wiliest special teamers of the past decade.
It was boring, the same old song and dance.
Each of the past three seasons, the fans had the same expectations, the same hopes, the same angst; because everything felt the same. They wondered, “Will this be the year the Chargers live up to their billing? Will this be the year the Chargers turn all this talent into postseason success? Will this year be different?”
And each of the last three seasons it’s been the same. But this year, it’s different. It’s interesting.
Here are the top 5 things that make this season different:
Of all the things Chargers fans knew they had going into seasons past, one thing they still do have is the quarterback. Except he’s no longer a rising star, he is a star and the unequivocal leader of the team – the last one out of the tunnel. P-Riv is THE guy. No leadership tug of war with LaDainian. No “I think the best play here is a quick out, but Tomlinson wants the ball, so I guess I’ll give it to him.” No more settling.
Speaking of LT. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but he no longer plays for the Chargers. While he’s one of the best ever and will always be a Charger, the Chargers were 31st (Read THIRTY FIRST! That’s out of 32 teams!) in rushing yards last season. You think Ryan Mathews (with one t) might have an effect on that number?
BALANCE ON OFFENSE
The improved rushing attack combined with the stability at quarterback creates the most balanced offense the Chargers have had in the past three seasons. No one remembers what it’s like to cheer for a Chargers team with a balanced offensive identity. A balanced offense is perhaps the best way to improve your defense.
Jamal Williams, Antonio Cromartie, and Clinton Hart are gone. Shawne Merriman, post knee surgery, hasn’t been the same player. The secondary is unproven. Oh, and so is the defensive line.
Questions abound. Questions are unusual. Is Mathews the real deal? Can the O-line protect P-Riv? Can they run block? Is Malcom Floyd ready to be a #1 receiver? Can they get pressure on the quarterback? Can the corners tackle anybody? On and on and on. This many unknowns is unusual for the Chargers this time of year.
Clearly, this season is different, very different. That doesn’t necessarily equal success, but it does equal interesting.
What was once known is now unknown. What was once boring is now interesting. The familiar is now unfamiliar. The same is now different.
Labels: NFL Preseason 2010
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