The Plan

As The 2003 San Diego Chargers embark on a quest for the Lombardi Trophy, one look at the roster indicates a wave of talent and youth. When the late John Butler took the wheel of this sinking ship of a football team the message was clear: He would not tolerate a loser. Ryan Leaf was cut and "The Plan" was set into motion.

So here we are in the third season of "The Plan" and gone are names like Jermaine Fazande, Mikhael Ricks, and Ryan Leaf.

In are names like LaDainian Tomlinson, David Boston, and Drew Brees. The sinking ship has weathered the storm and is back cruising with the energy of a lightning bolt. The ship has a new captain as AJ Smith has stayed the course while Butler guides from up above.

Instead of looking for quick fixes with aging players, Butler and company decided to go with a different approach. Signing younger, up and coming players with upside to boot while mixing in a few savvy vets.

Defensive End Marcellus Wiley was signed and became an instant hit in San Diego posting 13 sacks in his first year with the bolts. The next season he showed remarkable toughness playing through a painful abdominal injury, which later required surgery. With Junior Seau gone, Marcellus looks to take on more of a leadership role this year.

Ryan McNeil was also signed to help out the secondary and this proved to be a worthy pick as McNeil has proved a solid player on the field and good character guy off it. Ryan also has stepped up his role as a leader making the transition from cornerback to safety.

Another part of "The Plan" was to hit more than you miss come draft day. A strong draft has been Big John's calling card and this has continued in San Diego. In their first draft with the Chargers, they hit the jackpot landing TCU star running back LaDainian Tomlinson. LT has proved an explosive workhorse running back with all the skills. He's fast, quick, powerful, can block, can catch, durable, tough, a leader.... enough already, let's just say he's the real deal.

As if that wasn't enough, at the top of the 2nd round Purdue star QB Drew Brees fell right onto that suddenly not so sinking ship. In his second year as the starter, Drew is already making tremendous progress and has looked downright awesome at Camp Carson. If Snoop Dog were a bolt fan I could hear him saying, "Drew Breezy Fo Sheeeeezy!!"

Enter the man who has defensive backs cowering in corners and defensive coordinators quivering in fear. The Incredible David Boston. The third piece of the dynamic trio fell into place when the Chargers inked Boston to a free agent contract this past offseason. At 6'2 about 245 lbs with great speed, Boston is a nightmare for defenses. With Boston demanding double coverage and LT demanding eight men in the box, defenses are forced to pick their poison while receivers like Tim Dwight, Reche Caldwell and Eric Parker face single or no coverage. They say football is a like a chess match. How do you compete with these pieces?

I can just imagine Big John smiling down watching the results of a play action fake to Tomlinson, Brees back to pass, throws toward the end zone... TOUCHDOWN!!! David Boston. Is that ship headed towards Houston?

Will Mortensen can be reached at will.powered@verizon.net

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