Back in the Elite?

The Chargers hit rock bottom after the first month of the season. They were booed off their home field and plummeted to the AFC West cellar. Two wins and one deadline deal later, the Chargers believe they are ready to live up to the lofty expectations.

The Chargers head into their final stretch of 10 games feeling upbeat on a couple of fronts.

The team that many predicted greatness for was lost in the opening month and resided in the AFC West basement.

When stumbling to a 1-3 mark, the heat was quickly turned up on general manager A. J. Smith and new head coach Norv Turner. Smith had canned Marty Schottenheimer after he directed the Chargers to a franchise-best 14-2 season and Schottenheimer's replacement, Turner, got much of the blame for the shaky beginning.

But after being embarrassed at home against the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that eclipsed last season's loss total, the Chargers played a complete game in throttling the Broncos in Denver.

That was followed with a methodical whipping of the Oakland Raiders, with LaDainian Tomlinson again reminding everyone of his skills thanks to 198 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

The Chargers are confident again after winning two straight to reach 3-3 and the doubts of the early season slide were pushed aside.

Then on the bye week, Smith swung a deal for Miami wide receiver Chris Chambers. That filled a void that was only magnified with the steady Eric Parker going on injured reserve with a toe injury.

Chambers has a Pro Bowl season on his seven-year resume and his arrival gave the squad another boost. He supplies quarterback Philip Rivers with another weapon and he'll take attention away from All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates and Tomlinson.

The Chargers have some tough opponents ahead -- the Colts and Ravens at home -- but the feeling is the Chargers have already overcome a significant dose of adversity and it could make them stronger in the second half.


--DT Jamal Williams looks to have a decent shot of playing Sunday against the Texans. Williams had arthroscopic surgery on both knees during the bye.

--C Cory Withrow is going to be in the spotlight replacing Nick Hardwick for the next month or so. Withrow is an eight-year pro with 13 career starts.

--WR Chris Chambers, who will wear No. 89 with his new team, will start opposite Vincent Jackson.

--Rookie WR Craig Davis is the odd man out with Chambers' arrival. He'll slip to the No. 3 role.

--WR Eric Parker was put on IR as he never recovered from toe surgery before the season. Parker was the team's top wideout last year and was a reliable third-down target for Philip Rivers.

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