Depending on ten Chargers
#1: Toniu Fonoti: He sat all of last season and ballooned, he needs to check his true desire. Does he want to play and be an NFL star, because he can be IF he gets himself into playing shape and drop the weight so he can sustain throughout the 4th quarter.
#2: Jason Ball: FIRST he needs to find someone who will give him the RIGHT advice. Get into the weight room with his teammates, show up to camp and start playing and show the ownership that YES he DOES deserve to be paid as one of the better up and coming O-lineman in this league.
#3: Entire O-line: These guys need to step up BIG, and one of the veterans NEEDS to step up and become the leader of this group. Getting the O-line to gel is going to be key to the Chargers success. Pass protection to allow time to throw, receivers catching the ball…with this LT becomes even more of the threat than he already is.
#4: Wide Receiver: There isn't a GOTO guy right now, that is OK. BUT, these guys need to just STEP UP and catch the DAMN ball. No True #1 is fine; every one of them catching the ball keeps the defense guessing and then creates HUGE holes for LT to run behind Fonoti. NOW that is a scary site. A high speed roadster running behind a Mac Truck. Simply put, WOW describes that.
#5: Offensive Coaching Staff: We cannot afford the mental lapses of NOT getting LaDainian Tomlinson involved in the game early and often. Coach to the strengths of the players. Round peg fits much better into a round hole as opposed to trying to force a Round peg into a Square hole.
#6: Defensive Backfield: NO ROOKIES now in the backfield of the defense. These guys need to step up and be those close down DB's and the intimidating safeties across the middle. Demonstrate and then take over the middle of the field, with a little help from the Defensive line, and this would be a forceful defense to be dealt with.
#7: Defensive Coaching staff: Teaching, coaching and improving the players in the new defensive scheme. Keeping the other team guessing where that fourth and/or fifth rusher is coming from; dominating the trenches and putting pressure on the Quarterback
#8: Matt Wilhelm: Alright now, Matt Wilhelm from THE Ohio State University, time to mature and be the force you were in the Big Ten. The defenses version of Fonoti; Wilhelm gets his head on straight and plays the way he is capable and suddenly the defense has the depth they need at Linebacker.
#9: Kickers: Mike Scifres and Nate Kaeding. A pair of strong legged kickers, punts aimed at the Coffin corner, allowing coverage team to pin the other team deep in their own territory, helps the defense which in turn to can help the offense move the ball. Field Goals are critical. Kaeding adds opportunity for longer distances on attempts. As for Kickoffs; booming kicks to the back of the end zone. Again, this helps defense and then offense, creating a cyclical affect for greater chances of scoring and keeping the other teams' offense on the Bench.
#10: The 12th player of the game: The Fans!!! The Murph, The "Q". Whatever you want to call the place needs to be filled EVERY Week with BLUE and GOLD…Cheering on OUR CHARGERS. Take a LOOK at so many of the successful teams and see how much the 12th player has meant for them.
If you are interested in submitting your top ten, email Denis Savage at Denis@SanDiegoSports.net. Please be sure to include your full name and be as detailed as possible. Entries that have merit will appear in a future edition of the Top Ten Chargers of 2004.