The Chargers are a team that consistently flirts with greatness, but always comes up just short. They can be one of the more dominant regular-season teams one year, only to succumb to extended stretches of poor performances the next. Philip Rivers caught a bit of slack last year, but he has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL since he entered the league in 2004. Rivers will be asked to do more than ever without Vincent Jackson, but he’s succeeded without him during stretches of injury in the past. The teams’ success will depend on whether or not the defense can play at a very-good-to-elite level, and whether or not they can do anything in the post-season.
2011 Record: 8-8
Key Additions: Robert Meachem, Le’Ron McClain, Melvin Ingram, Jarret Johnson, Atari Bigby
Key Losses: Luis Castillo, Marcus McNeil, Mike Tolbert, Vincent Jackson, Kris Dielman
Offense: With Philip Rivers leading the way, an offense will never be less-than-good. If Ryan Matthews can become the type of player that so many anticipate, and Antonio Gates can stay healthy, the offense has the ability to be top notch. Malcolm Floyd has been developing solidly, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can thrive as the #1 guy.
Defense: The Chargers defense is more suspect than it has been in the past. Jarret Johnson was a nice addition, and should prove to take over as the captain of the defense, but the rest of the defense simply lacks playmakers, with Eric Weddle proving to be an exception. Cason needs to show he can become one of the game’s elite; his window is closing.
Coaching: Year in and year out, Norv Turner remains. While an excellent football mind, he lacks the leadership qualities necessary to galvanize a team to victory. The teams’ success or failure largely seems to rely on Philip Rivers, with Turner being mostly an afterthought in the eyes of many.
Breakout Player: Ryan Mathews. He excelled in limited action last year, and can help inspire an offense that hasn’t been the same without Tomlinson.
2012 Prediction: 6-10. The Chargers are a difficult team to predict, as they have been known to excel with lesser talent and disappoint with more. In the end, there lack of playmakers at WR will work against them, as defense are able to stack the box and slow Matthews.
Overview: The Chargers are consistently a tease, but this may be the year where uninspired play earns the team a middling record and forces the team to make a shake-up at the head coaching position. Philip Rivers can only do so much with relatively little.