Chargers getting love in Mobile

The Chargers' season may have ended abruptly, but the respect San Diego garnered during its 14-win campaign is omnipresent. Down in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl, several high-ranking officials have spoken of how impressed they are with the Chargers roster, giving fans reason to be hopeful for better things to come next season.

"It was a great season with a bad ending," said Director of Player Personnel Buddy Nix.

Although that blunt statement summarizes things pretty well, other teams are quick to praise all the Chargers accomplished. The 2006 squad won more games than any other in franchise history. Additionally, both the offense and defense finished with top-10 rankings.

It is that balance which makes San Diego such a challenging foe, as it can win games in a variety of ways. No matter if the game is high-scoring shootout or a defensive struggle, San Diego has the personnel to get it done.

"The Chargers had the most complete team I had ever seen," said one coach whose team played the Chargers this year, and who has been in the league over a decade.

It seems as though every coach has something to like about the Chargers. The offensive-minded individuals marvel at an offense that led the league in scoring, finishing with 493 points on the season. Those with a defensive mentality are more impressed by a defense that led the led the league with 61 sacks.

One such individual is Monte Kiffin, the Buccaneers' defensive coordinator. During one Senior Bowl practice, he could be heard shouting praise to a couple of Chargers scouts standing to the side of the field.

"I love your guys' defense!" he yelled. "The way those two guys come from both sides, whew!" said Kiffin, motioning his hands to represent Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips blitzing from opposite sides of the formation.

And to think, if Steve Foley can return after being shot by an off-duty police officer last summer, that rush could become three-dimensional.

The respect that teams have for San Diego down in Mobile can be attributed in part to the success the Chargers have had scouting players while there.

Both Nix and Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips have been seen actively scouting players. Also, several players said they had spoken with the Chargers, including Kareem Brown, Paul Posluszny and H.B. Blades.

One or more of those players could join a list of draft-day studs recently uncovered by the Chargers that includes the likes of Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman and Marcus McNeill. Each of those players earned Pro Bowl invites this season.

So it's easy to see why the Chargers are getting a lot of love down in Mobile. It's not out of pity for stellar season inexplicably gone awry. It's because they earned it.

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