Hopefully a Better Season for San Diego Chargers in 2010
The Chargers have lost four straight AFC titles, but that stops in 2010. Not really sure what is going on with whoever is in charge of signing, re-signing, and releasing players, but it does not seem that he knows exactly what he is doing.
The most glaring weakness comes at running back. The talk in San Diego was that LaDanian Tomlinson was washed up, so he was released. Michael Bennett was also let go. So, the running back corps consists of little Darren Sproles and a bunch of rookies. Seriously. The Chargers did pick up a running back with their first round draft pick – Ryan Matthews from Fresno State. He is a big, physical, explosive back who has good quickness. Matthews will be a nice contrast to Sproles in running style, and he expects to make an immediate impact. The Chargers were 31st in the league in rushing in 2009, so every little bit helps.
Veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers is still the leader of the team, with career back-up Billy Volek holding the clipboard on the sidelines. They drafted a quarterback in the fifth round in April, in Jonathan Crompton from the University of Tennessee. he is physically impressive and has a strong arm, but due to circumstances at UT during his time there (many coaches, coordinators, and systems), he is truly a developmental project.
The best receiver on the team is Antonio Gates at tight end. There is not a single big-name receiver. Would they dare go after someone like Terrell Owens, who is still interested in playing? He might actually be a decent fit for the Chargers.
The Chargers were in the top ten in several offensive categories in 2009. The defensive, however, was a different story. They were in the bottom half of the league in most defensive categories, so they spent several of their top draft choices on the defensive side of the ball. They picked Donald Butler (LB from Washington) in the third round, Darrell Stuckey (FS from Kansas), and Cam Thomas (DT from the University of North Carolina) after the round 1 pick of Ryan Matthews. These are solid defensive picks, particularly Thomas, who is a strong run-stopper at nosetackle. They look to play significant time, even as rookies.
There is no way to top the 2009 season, when, although they started 2-3, they finished very strong (including beating all NFC East teams) and won the division championship over Denver. Phillip Rivers threw for over 4,500 yards. He will have to stay healthy for this team to even come close to an 8-8 record. It looks like it will be a long year in southern California.