Mike's preseason end of the season awards

At the conclusion of every season, football experts everywhere love to look at the year that was and hand out awards to the players who turned in the best performances. But recognizing an impressive body of work is easy; it's predicting such a performance that's the challenge.

With that in mind, here's a look ahead to some of the Chargers' best individual performances in 2005, before they ever happen.

Team MVP: LaDainian Tomlinson

Tomlinson injured his groin last season just as the offense's passing attack was taking off. Now that opposing defenses have other threats to worry about, Tomlinson will be able to exploit them like never before. In 2003, when Tomlinson was last healthy, exploded for 2,370 yards from scrimmage and 17 scores. In the Chargers' new wide-open attack, expect even bigger results.

Offensive MVP: Keenan McCardell

After being acquired by the Chargers right before last year's trading deadline, McCardell gave the team their solitary established threat at wide receiver. At 34 years of age, McCardell has enjoyed five seasons with at least 80 receptions and 1,100 yards receiving. He is the only Chargers receiver with more than three years experience in the league, and that veteran savvy should make him Brees' preferred target in clutch situations. He's in for a big year.

Defensive MVP: Terrence Kiel

Last year was Kiel's first as a full-time starter, and he responded with 121 tackles, two interceptions and a sack. In his third year out of Texas A&M, he is now comfortable enough in the defense to maximize on his immense abilities, namely his great speed and sure tackling. Given the strides the defense has made as a whole during the offseason, expect Kiel to add to his impressive tackle stats by setting career highs in sacks and picks as well.

Special Teams MVP: Hanik Milligan

In 2004, Hanik Milligan tied fellow safety Clinton Hart for the team lead with 11 solo tackles on special teams. With Carlos Polk set to spend another year on the injured-reserve list, Milligan is ready to become a leader on the coverage units in only his third year in the league. He is a physical player who is both a big hitter and a sound tackler, and is the best antidote for Dante Hall available.

Lineman of the Year: Igor Olshansky

This is the perfect example of stats not telling the whole story. As a rookie, Olshansky registered only 39 solo tackles and but a single sack. Still, his disciplined play allowed him to utilize his immense strength and become a run-blocking force. In his second season, Olshansky is comfortable enough in the defense to focus on the continued development of his pass-rushing skill set. Once that comes around, he has the potential to become one of the league's premier defensive ends.

Most Inspirational: Randall Godfrey

After telling the world the world that 2005 would be his last season, Godfrey will go out with a year that will make people wonder why he is leaving at all. Godfrey's toughness and physicality are a big reason why the Chargers run defense made the marked improvement that it did last season, and his massive hit on Jerry Porter was the highlight of the year. The Chargers defense is based on shutting down the run before anything else, and Godfrey makes that possible. It'll be sad to see him go, but it'll be a blast to watch him go out on top.


SD Super Chargers Top Stories