Why the Chargers won't win the Super Bowl

The Chargers will not win the Super Bowl. San Diego boasts an impressive squad, no doubt, but it has too many flaws to survive the bevy of challenges that lie ahead. The inexperience of Philip Rivers, a bland receiving corps and a porous secondary will prevent Marty Schottenheimer from making his debut in the Promise Land.

The most pressing issue is the inexperience of Rivers. Defenses get more complex in the second season, making it likely he will be exposed by schemes he has never before seen in an arena where every misread is magnified.

Also, Rivers struggled down the stretch, playing poorly in four of the team's final six games. He ended on a statistical high note against the Cardinals, but sprained his foot in the process. It remains to be seen if he is 100 percent.

"I have no reservations whatsoever," said Schottenheimer of Rivers.

When the Chargers put the ball in Rivers' hands, he will have to make plays with a lackluster group of receivers. Opponents will do their best to key on LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, giving both extra attention and forcing the San Diego receivers to win their one-on-one battles. It remains to be seen if they are capable of doing so.

Keenan McCardell, 37, is showing his age and has become too reliant on the same comeback route. Eric Parker is an overachiever, not a difference-maker. Vincent Jackson is terrific blocker and a scoring threat but is otherwise inconsistent.

"I think that there's a real confidence in Philip as to the fact that they (McCardell and Parker) may not be where the play is designed for them to be in the route, but he trusts they're going to be there when the ball gets there," Schottenheimer insisted.

The Chargers defense will have challenges of its own. Its pass defense has the lowest ranking of all the AFC teams still in contention and has proven unsteady throughout the season.

Each starter seems to have glaring deficiencies. Quentin Jammer is steady but makes few big plays; Drayton Florence is a big play waiting to happen but lacks consistency; Terrence Kiel is a liability in coverage; and Marlon McCree's impact on the secondary has been vastly overstated. Rookie Antonio Cromartie has yet to make his first career interception.

"They're going to go at Drayton and Cromartie, but both of those guys have been tested all season," Marlon McCree said.

On top of all of these issues rests Marty Schottenheimer's infamous 5-12 postseason record. Although this may be the best team he has coached into the postseason, it still won't be good enough to put him over the top.

The Chargers will not win the Super Bowl.

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