San Diego Chargers
2010 record: 9-7
Last playoff appearance: 2009, 13-3, AFC West Champs L17-14 NYJ
General Manager: AJ Smith (2003 – current)
Head Coach: Norv Turner (2007 – current, 99-105-1 all-time as a head coach, 41-23 with Chargers)
Offensive Coordinator: Clarence Shelmon
Defensive Coordinator: Greg Manusky
Defensive alignment: 3-4
2010 NFL Rankings:
OFF: 27.6 PTS (2nd) 395.6 YDS (1st) 282.4 PASS (2nd) 113.1 RUSH (15th)
DEF: 20.1 PTS (10th) 271.6 YDS (1st) 177.8 PASS (1st) 93.8 RUSH (4th)
Jeremy’s Outlook: Last year was a major aberration for the Chargers. Special teams blunders cost them some wins, which turned out to cost them a playoff spot. The running game was very average and it was just a season which seemed surreal for the Chargers and their fans. This year, the Chargers will be back to their old ways…meaning back to the playoffs. I will say that I’m seeing big things for them this year (and I’m not the only one predicting this for them)…but more on that later.
Offensively, you got to start with Philip Rivers. With a healthy Antonio Gates and a non-holdout Vincent Jackson for a full season, the offense should be improved…and that’s hard to do after ranking second in points and first in yards. The coaching staff is predicting an improved season from running back Ryan Mathews as well. Look for Mathews and Mike Tolbert to improve the overall numbers of the backfield. Darren Sproles leaving for New Orleans won’t be too much of a concern, either. Jordan Todman was drafted for a reason. As for the offensive line, they’re very good and look to help duplicate last year’s powerful offensive numbers.
Defensively, the Chargers have some super talented players. If Bob Sanders can stay healthy, they’ll have the best safety tandem in the league, hands down. But chances are, Sanders will miss significant time, based off of past seasons. Takeo Spikes and Travis LaBoy were signed in free agency and add some talent to the linebackers. Shaun Phillips is aiming for another double digit sack season. Last year, Antonio Garay surprised at nose last year, that should carry over to this year.
The special teams coach of nine season, Steve Crosby, was let go after some terrible play by the unit. With this unit fixed (hopefully), the Chargers will have very little kinks in their armor. Rich Bisaccia was hired to replace Crosby.
Prediction: SI’s Peter King has already predicted the Chargers and Falcons will be in the Super Bowl. I don’t think the Falcons are ready for that step (haven’t won a playoff game in Matt Ryan’s tenure yet), but I feel the Chargers are ready to bounce back after last year’s surprising absence from the playoffs. The Chargers have been in the AFC Championship game before, but fell just short. This year, I feel they’ll finally break through. I’m predicting 14-2, winning the AFC West, the AFC, and the Super Bowl.
QB: Philip Rivers
RB: Ryan Mathews
WR: Vincent Jackson
WR: Malcolm Floyd
WR: Patrick Crayton
TE: Antonio Gates
OT: Marcus McNeill
OG: Kris Dielman
C: Nick Hardwick
OG: Louis Vasquez/Tyronne Green
OT: Jeromey Clary
DE: Jacques Cesaire
DT: Antonio Garay
DE: Luis Castillo
OLB: Shaun Phillips
MLB: Takeo Spikes
MLB: Donald Butler
OLB: Travis LaBoy/Antwan Barnes
CB: Quentin Jammer
CB: Antoine Cason
FS: Eric Weddle
SS: Bob Sanders
1 Sep 11 vs. Vikings 4:15 PM Tickets
2 Sep 18 at Patriots 4:15 PM Tickets
3 Sep 25 vs. Chiefs 4:05 PM Tickets
4 Oct 02 vs. Dolphins 4:15 PM Tickets
5 Oct 09 at Broncos 4:15 PM Tickets
7 Oct 23 at Jets 1:00 PM Tickets
8 Oct 31 at Chiefs 8:30 PM Tickets
9 Nov 06 vs. Packers 4:15 PM Tickets
10 Nov 10 vs. Raiders 8:20 PM Tickets
11 Nov 20 at Bears 4:15 PM Tickets
12 Nov 27 vs. Broncos 4:15 PM Tickets
13 Dec 05 at Jaguars 8:30 PM Tickets
14 Dec 11 vs. Bills 4:15 PM Tickets
15 Dec 18 vs. Ravens 8:20 PM Tickets
16 Dec 24 at Lions 4:05 PM Tickets
17 Jan 01 at Raiders 4:15 PM Tickets
Billy Volek QB – 2 yrs, 6 million
Vincent Jackson WR – 1 yr, 11.424 million
Malcolm Floyd WR – 2 yrs, 5 million
Randy McMichael TE – 1 yr, 910,000
Jeromey Clary OT – 4 yrs, 20 million
Scott Mruczkowski C – 1 yr
Jacques Cesaire DE – 2 yrs
Travis Johnson DE – 1 yr, 1.226 million
Antwan Barnes DE/OLB – 2 yrs, 3.2 million
Stephen Cooper MLB – 1 yr, 810,000
Dante Hughes CB – 2 yrs
Eric Weddle FS – 5 yrs, 40 million (19 million guaranteed)
Paul Oliver SS – 4 yrs, 2.073 million
Pat Watkins SS – 1 yr, 1.176 million
Free agent losses:
Darren Sproles RB – signed with Saints
Legedu Naanee WR – signed with Panthers
Buster Davis WR - signed with Bills
Brandon Siler MLB – signed with Chiefs
Kevin Burnett MLB – Singed by Dolphins
Picks in 2011 NFL Draft (overall draft grade: C+): Good value picks in the sixth round saved this draft grade from being absolutely abysmal. Liuget was a decent pick in the first round, but after him, it wasn’t anything to be happy with if you’re a Chargers fan. Marcus Gilchrist was a good prospect, but not top 50 worthy. Jonas Mouton had a lot of teams interested in him, but not enough to take him in the second round. Vincent Brown wasn’t a top 100 player this year, but the Chargers were willing to reach for him at 82. Jordan Todman will be a good replacement for Darren Sproles if he leaves for free agency. He was great value for where the Chargers picked him.
(! Indicates draft pick who was interviewed, had a private workout, etc. prior to the draft according to my compiled list):
Rd 1, Pick 18 (18) Corey Liuget DE, Illinois – not bad value for the Chargers. He’ll be a young gun gunning for Jacques Cesaire’s spot.
Grade: B Rated: 22
Rd 2, Pick 18 (50) Marcus Gilchrist DB, Clemson – AJ Smith didn’t quite get this one right. They did need a safety though, and this seems like a need pick when there were higher rated players on the board. I know there were plenty of others on mine.
Grade: C- Rated: 108
Rd 2, Pick 29 (61) Jonas Mouton LB, Michigan! – in my team interests post, there were quite a few teams that started to make his name known. However, I think the GM AJ Smith way overdrafted him. They aren’t just drafting for need, but players who are behind better prospects.
Grade: F Rated: 202
Rd 3, Pick 18 (82) Vincent Brown WR, San Diego State! – AJ Smith always seems to find very good receivers and Brown is a candidate to be a sleeper. He could be a decent number two receiver eventually.
Grade: C+ Rated: 153
Rd 3, Pick 25 (89) Shareece Wright DB, USC – Good senior season after not playing in 08 and 09. Physical and can compete for jump balls.
Grade: B Rated: 104
Rd 6, Pick 18 (183) Jordan Todman RB, Connecticut – a little smallish, but he showed he can carry a load of carries over the course of a season. Another questionable player falling. Maybe something in interviews came up and caused him to be taken off boards. I see this as a great steal for the Chargers, who do have Darren Sproles potentially leaving for free agency.
Grade: A Rated: 79th
Rd 6, Pick 36 (201) Steve Schilling OL, Michigan – one of the solid performers of the 2011 draft class on the offensive line during their time in school.
Grade: A Rated: 121
Rd 7, Pick 31 (234) Andrew Gachkar OLB, Missouri – very good pro day vaulted him into being a draftable prospect.
Grade: C Rated: NR
2010 Stat Leaders
Philip Rivers 357-541 66.0% 4710 YDS 8.7 YPA 30 TD 13 INT 101.8 RTG
Mike Tolbert 182 ATT 735 YDS 4.0 YPC 36 LNG 11 TD
Antonio Gates 50 REC 782 YDS 15.6 YPC 48 LNG 10 TD
Nate Kaeding 23-28 82.1% 50 LNG
Eric Weddle 96 TCK
Shaun Phillips 11 SCK
Antoine Cason 4 INT
Out of Season Storylines (Because there is no offseason)
Greg Manusky Hired As New Defensive Coordinator