TEAM: San Diego Chargers
SPEC. TEAMS C+
FRONT OFFICE D
STRENGTH RB, QB, OL, CB, DE
WEAKNESS WR, LB, S
OFF. MVP Philip Rivers
DEF. MVP Quentin Jammer
TOP ROOKIE Mike Tolbert
Comments: Much like the Rams of 2000, I saw in 2006 a club was destined to win multiple Super Bowl Championships. Talent on both sides of the football, speed to burn, veteran leadership and a plan of action. Two seasons later, I see none of the things that made this football club the most feared unit in football.
Offensively forget his funky delivery, arm slot and lack of mobility; Philip Rivers has made some enormous strides and is fast approaching his prime as a football player. The rest can not be said for the rest of the Chargers once feared offense. LT is still a very much feared runner and pass receiver, but like Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin and Priest Holmes before him, is beginning to show the wear and tear that befalls mid sized athletes at the running back position. Antonio Gates is still another talented one dimensional who has been slowed by injuries. I like Hardwick and Dielman along the offensive front, but overall the group in my opinion grossly overrated. The receiving group again doesn't get me terribly excited.
Defensively the Chargers were dealt a early season broadside with the loss of pass rusher extraordinaire Shawne Merriman, but was the club's medical staff at fault for miss diagnosing the severity of his injury from last season? If cornerback Quentin Jammer is kept off this year's All-Pro selections, it would be an absolute travesty of justice. The rest of the defensive unit is talented, but their play has been marked by inconsistency.
Coach Norv Turner is experienced, intelligent and a class act, but the beleaguered former Redskins and Raiders head man has also proven to be as mediocre a head coach as I have seen over the last two decades. His current 73 and 93 overall head coaching record says it all and unless he were to run the table and advance deep into the playoffs (highly improbable), I would have to say the 2008 season will mark his last as a head coach in the NFL.
General Manager A.J. Smith, another very decent person, must share in the blame for the Chargers rapid decent into mediocrity. It was he who abruptly fired head coach Marty Schottrnheimer, after the latter posted a league best 14 and 2 regular season record. Smith and the Chargers have been for the most part non-participants in free agency and their draft day decisions have in my opinion been less the scintillating.
I like Player Personnel Jimmy Raye a great deal and feel he is one of the best young evaluators in the game today. Paul Skansi, Tom McConnaughey, Darrell Moody and Tom Gibbons are talented experienced scouts.
Look for major changes on all fronts during this off season is now just a testimony to mediocrity.