The 2013 season for the Chargers and their fans was up and down, as always. Just after almost everyone crossed them off their list of playoff teams, the Chargers knew all along that they were still in it. What led to a missed field goal in week 17 to keep hopes alive and the great feeling of “we did it.” They were in, they were off to Cincinnati for their first challenge against the Bengals who many had said were the best team on paper. Again, the Chargers were ruled out, crossed off the list. The Chargers eventually won that game and went on to the divisional playoffs against division rival Denver Broncos, who they had faced twice already. They ended up with a loss and Peyton Manning led his team to the conference Championship, while the Chargers were sent home packing. Fans were crazed. It was the most success we have had for four years. The playoff drought had ended and so did the Norv Turner/AJ Smith era. It was a major accomplishment. This year, fans will be looking for the next step up, and I don’t mean to win in the next round. Super Bowl.
Now, football is back in San Diego. The team has kicked off rookie mini-camp and will be starting OTAs on May 27. The team will begin offseason workouts by 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills but will have to wait for live action in pads for some time.
With some key offseason additions in free agency and the draft, the Chargers have added to their roster, building what they hope to be their Championship team. With the additions of running back Donald Brown who will share the load with Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, making the three of them what will be a three-headed monster, and not the one in Hercules that gets its heads chopped off. Cordarro Law, who was cut from the Seahawks roster despite an impressive training camp and preseason, went on to the CFL where he record 44 tackles and 14 sacks. He is a very impressive player and has a great chance to make the 53 man roster. Law now hopes to make his NFL dream come true with the Chargers as a huge piece to their pass rush. With Law, Melvin Ingram, Dwight Freeney, and second round pick Jerry Attaochu, the Chargers pass rush should be filled with guys who will get after the quarterback with a menacing touch. The secondary was able to take off their training wheels when the team drafted first round pick Jason Verrett. With Verrett and Eric Weddle in the secondary along with a full starting season under Shareece Wrights’ belt, and some other young guys who haven’t gotten a chance, the Chargers look to have a much upgraded defense covering the pass.
The pressing issue is at wide receiver. Coming off a very impressive rookie campaign, Keenan Allen is sure to be doubled more often this season. Tom Telesco and the Chargers need to find their number two wide-out to play opposite of Allen. Malcom Floyd is battling a neck injury that he suffered in week two of the regular season last year. With Floyd easing back into action, and reports confirming that he will in fact be back this season, things are looking better and better for him every day. Still, there is some concern. If Floyd can remain the big time playmaker he was when healthy, he will be a great number two option. With Allen and Floyd on the outside, along with Eddie Royal in the slot and Antonio Gates and LaDarius Green at tight end, Philip Rivers will have plenty of weapons at his disposal. The other question at receiver is Vincent Brown. In his rookie season with the Chargers, Brown was very impressive filling in while the team was flooded with injuries. In his second season, he was sure to be a big time playmaker. His season came to an abrupt end when he fractured his leg on a touchdown catch in the preseason. Last year, there were a lot of expectations that Brown let down. This year, Brown will be looking to bounce back as will the rest of the team. If he can make an impact like he had made his rookie season, the Chargers will have an arsenal on offense.
Overall, Tom Telesco has done well filling the teams’ needs this offseason once again. The team is young and has a bright future ahead of them. The schedule this season is tough, one of the toughest in the league. Despite the tough season surely ahead of them, players and fans are confident. Last season, the Chargers did much more than what they were predicted. This season, they will sure to be written of the list once again, and they will prove many wrong. The hardest part of their schedule may in fact be the very beginning. They open up the season in Arizona against the Cardinals who nearly made the playoffs last year. The next week they face the reigning Super Bowl Champions, Seattle Seahawks. Things seem to get lighter and then pick right back up a few weeks later against the Broncos on Thursday night. In between there is sure to be some competition though with the Jets, Raiders, and Chiefs. The road to the playoffs is never an easy one to drive on. Many bumps and obstacles along the way present themselves. There is one thing in the teams favor though. They are used to be written off, and they are used to having to overcome obstacles. The team will be tested with strong competition throughout the season, it will only help them if they can outlast the grueling road to the playoffs.