Silver Lining on The Blue and Gold

With a very uninspiring record of 1-7, the San Diego Chargers have very little to be happy about these days. They have been playing games on the road for nearly two months now. They have a starting quarterback who has been called about by the only player on the team who has disappointed more than he himself has. And now they have eight weeks to say goodbye to Marty Schottenheimer and company.

Because this season's multiple maladies have left such a bad taste in the mouths of Chargers fans everywhere, I think it is time to look at some of the things that have gone right for the Chargers this season. Such causes for celebration are few and far between, but they are there – if one looks closely enough.

Going into this season the Chargers had hoped one of their young defensive tackles would step up and impress next to the massive Jamal Williams. Not only have the Chargers found a player to compliment Williams, but DeQuincy Scott has easily outplayed the man who was supposed to be the lone force on the interior of the Bolts defensive line. The man known as DQ is on pace for a nine sack season; not bad for an inside player not even in the starting line-up. He may be undersized, but his sack numbers are impressive and he uses his speed and strength to play the run effectively as well.

A second good sign of things to come is the development of the team's rookie-riddled secondary. Safety Terrance Keil is now involved heavily in the nickel package, and will be starting sooner rather than later.

Sammy Davis has his first interception last week against the Bears, and is slowly growing out of that target he had been carrying around on his back earlier this year. Drayton Florence has not gotten a pick yet, but he has had his hands on a fair share of passes, and is looking more and more comfortable as the season progresses.

Another great happening has been the development of Courtney Van Buren. After playing guard at Arkansas Pines Bluff, he was drafted as a project to be groomed to replace Damion McIntosh next season at left tackle. However, injuries forced him to start recently, at right tackle as opposed to left, and he did not yield a single sack. The more experience he receives this season the better, because next year he will be thrown into the fire at left tackle and it would be nice to know whether he can handle it or not. If his performance Sunday was any indication, and it was, the Chargers are in good shape at left tackle next season.

The final positive thing that has happened to the Chargers this year is that they are leading the race to land the number one choice in the upcoming draft. Drew Brees would look a lot better throwing with David Boston on his right and Roy Williams on his left. Marcellus Wiley would sure love a defensive tackle like Vince Wilfork in the line-up to take the pressure off him and DeQuincy Scott. Or even a pick anywhere in the top ten should facilitate the selection of Kellen Winslow Jr. The talent he has, the need the Chargers have at the position, plus the family connection to the team – it is almost too perfect to think about.

So while the Chargers season has not produced too much to be happy about so far, there have been some bright spots. Players like Scott, Davis, Keil, Florence and Van Buren have shined. The players who have failed to shine have given the team a better position to select players who will for next season. But most importantly, and perhaps best of all, there are only eight more weeks to go.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at ReneesGaydo@yahoo.com

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