San Diego Chargers: 4 Things That Must Happen for Next Season
The first move this offseason for the San Diego Chargers was the announcement that Norv Turner and A.J. Smith are both staying. While more fans are upset with A.J. returning rather than Turner, Norv still has a lot to prove.
This leads to the next move made. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was relieved of duties early on Thursday.
Head coach Norv Turner said, "I'd like to thank Greg for the passion and enthusiasm he brought to our team and coaching staff this past season." Read more from Chargers.com here.
The first decision made in San Diego was controversial, but the second needed to happen. It shouldn't be the last. The Chargers still have work to do.
4. Commit to Ryan Mathews
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Speaking of jumping up in the draft...Ryan Mathews.
Mathews didn't have the best rookie year, but he didn't have any sophomore slumps either. He finished the season with 1,091 yards and six touchdowns. His play was excellent this season, but his playing time was about the same as the year before.
There must be something about Mike Tolbert that the staff in San Diego loves, because in those crucial moments during the game, he seems to be in over Mathews. The Chargers are No. 1 in backfield receptions. Tolbert had 433 yards on 54 receptions.
Mathews, on the other hand, had four fewer receptions (50) and 22 more receiving yards (455). Now, those stats are similar, but the game shows different. Mathews is more explosive than Tolbert and should be used as a weapon more often.
In 2012, Norv Turner should commit to Ryan Mathews like the Chargers did to LaDainian Tomlinson.
3. Promote John Pagano
The younger brother. His older brother, Chuck Pagano, is the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. You know, one of the most feared defenses in the league.
About a week ago, it was almost certain that Pagano was heading to UCLA to be their defensive coordinator after being shunned by the Chargers last season when Ron Rivera left for the Carolina Panthers. If San Diego doesn't promote him, consider him good as gone.
Right now, according to Kevin Acee, Pagano is the early favorite for the DC position. Steve Wilks, the defensive backs' coach, is also an option.
Pagano is the longest tenured assistant coach in the history of the San Diego Chargers. The team made a mistake bringing in Manusky last season, right? Not so fast. Maybe the biggest reason they brought him in was to make sure Takeo Spikes and Travis LaBoy join as well.
2. Improve Roster
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Last year, the Chargers signed and re-signed valuable free agents. The only problem about some were their age. A.J. Smith signed free agents who were on the backside of their career and looking to win a championship now. This year, San Diego needs to target younger players with the same amount of talent, or more.
Defense is the biggest area of concern.
Positions needed: strong safety, cornerback, pass-rusher.
The Bob Sanders experiment failed miserably and left the Chargers back where they started, with Steve Gregory. Gregory is a good player, but he's not a starter. It's time for San Diego to get another elite safety to go alongside Eric Weddle. LaRon Landry (above) is up for grabs this offseason, and if A.J. Smith is willing to pay him, the Chargers secondary could become one of the best in the league.
Many people are speculating that the Chargers will go after an offensive lineman in the draft. With Smith, I don't see that happening. I think he aims for defense once again. This is where a pass-rusher should be drafted for San Diego. Maybe he'll trade up again to draft a better player? Another thing that should be doubted. While you would expect Smith to do something to win back the fans, Kevin Acee says Smith told him nothing's changed.
1. Give Vincent Jackson a Long-Term Deal
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It's been a while since the last time the Chargers had an elite receiver. Vincent Jackson is that type of player. His athleticism and speed are outstanding. He is very versatile and can jump up and grab the high passes. Jackson is the perfect receiver in Philip Rivers' eyes. Well, besides Antonio Gates.
A.J. Smith placed the franchise tag on Jackson last season, and it is very unlikely that it will happen again. In my opinion, the best move all offseason would be retaining Vincent Jackson. It would also help Smith win back some fans.
This is where the stubborn attitude of A.J. Smith gets in the way. He'll stick to his statement on how every player is a Charger year by year.
In order to let the fans know that this season will be different, Vincent Jackson needs to be re-signed.