And for once the team believes it. And no one can tell Tomlinson anything different.">
And for once the team believes it. And no one can tell Tomlinson anything different.">

Chargers Leaders: LT, Jammer, Dwight believe

There is a difference this year that was not around a year ago. A confidence that says the San Diego Chargers can improve greatly upon their 4-12 season. LaDainian Tomlinson, Tim Dwight and Quentin Jammer, some of the leaders of this team all commented on the new way.<br><br> "Four and twelve is not the way to go," Jammer said. <br><br> And for once the team believes it. And no one can tell Tomlinson anything different.

Recent workouts at San Diego Chargers Park are taking a turn. The pushover team that used to be in town has been replaced. All of the distractions of a year ago have been replaced with glowing reports.

There is no one to buck.

There is no talk without backing up his words with results.

There are no heel injuries.

There is no one who should be on injured reserve but on the active roster.

Instead the team has a unit of players that speak as if they have been together for years and are building something special.

"Get this team together and get ready for the march on the season," LaDainian Tomlinson says with conviction.

And that means players fighting for their jobs on offense and defense. In years past camp may have been hard, but the key guys knew where they stood. That is not the case anymore. There is still no number one receiver on the team, although Kevin Dyson figures to default into it, but who is the number two.

That is where the intrigue will come into play.

"We need guys to step up and raise the level because 4-12 is not taking it," Tim Dwight said. "I expect the wide receiver group, guys like Eric Parker and Kevin Dyson and Kassim Osgood and Reche Caldwell to come and take my job or I take their job. We love each other and we are fighting out there but at the same time we need to compete at a high level to win in this league."

And one of those players could be the odd man out at the end of camp, with Dwight perhaps foreshadowing his own future.

But what they need to do on offense, Tomlinson put best:

"Our job is to put the ball in the end zone. We are working hard on the offense."

And the same can be said for the defense. They have a look in their eyes that screams of a killer instinct. No more will they allow a receiver over the middle of the field without paying a price. No more will the opposing quarterback be free to roam until he sees an open man. With Wade Phillips aboard, the promise is to attack.

"We are just excited about this season," Quentin Jammer revealed. "We are excited to be out here. We are excited to turn this team around. Finishing with the first pick in the draft is not where you want to be.

"The guys are excited to turn this thing around and I think that is what you see out there."

Whatever it is, the hope is the team keeps it through training camp and into the season. The incoming rookies have to be impressed with their first taste of NFL camp. Last year they would have been salivating at a starting job, now they are in awe.

"A new year," Tomlinson says. "You always have to be optimistic. I think we will be one of the top teams. You have to have a goal of being a top team."

If anyone can decree it so, it is LaDainian Tomlinson. And so it shall be.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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