San Diego Chargers: Things That Must Happen for Bolts to Have Success in 2012
For lack of a better illustration, the Chargers cannot escape the hamster wheel. Since their success peaked, the Bolts have been unable to re-key the code to their electric offense and hard-nosed defense. And it isn't getting easier with the core group of veterans getting older.
Health has been detrimental of late to the Chargers. Gates and his cyclical toe injury along with Floyd and his issues have been headlining elements to their lack of production and Philip Rivers' inability to lock a check-down target.
Last year, we saw the Chiefs get hit hard with the injury bug as it wiped Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki, and Jamaal Charles clean from the remainder of the season. Who knows their potential with an injury-free season?
Secondly, Norv is going to need to let Rivers loose and take risks downfield ever so often. Turner's conservative play-calling abilities often limit his QB's capabilities to throw the deep ball. If I could sum up the Chargers' offensive system, it would be predictable.
By the grace of Rivers to take the blow for last year's blunders, Norv knows he is dancing on thin ice. There is nothing to lose but everything to gain. If Norv wants to secure his job for 2013, it all begins now.
Fortunately, the Chargers have reeled in more big bodies this offseason, which will improve their short-yardage running ability. Norv now has the ability to insert more play-action passes with the likes of Dante Rosario off the weak side.
Despite Rivers' selection to the Pro Bowl, he wasn't the typical quarterback we have witnessed since he took control of the Bolts. As Chargers fans, we will forgive but never forget. His 20 interceptions were a stat that I am sure he would like to throw away.
Where will the Chargers finish in the AFC West?
With the healthy Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown, Gates as well as the the newly acquired Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal, the receiving corps should make the Bolts' passing game a nightmare to defend.
Looking on the defensive side of the ball, the cornerback position is an obvious weakness that was not addressed this offseason.
The Bolts nabbed two safeties to rally around Eric Weddle to patrol the outfield, but nothing on the outer wings. Teams have exploited the weakness of the Chargers' defense and are attacking it at will.
Quentin Jammer isn't getting any younger. His lack of speed and technique force him to commit costly penalties in critical moments as we have seen. Third-down defense seems to be the Chargers' Achilles heel.
Jammer's complement, Antoine Cason, hasn't proved to live up to his expectations. In week six last season against the Jets, Cason's lack of height was exploited by Plaxico Burress, whose length lead to multiple touchdowns.
The imperfections of the Chargers' secondary are out in the open, but I expect them to have a bounce-back season in 2012 under the guise of the newly coined defensive coordinator, John Pagano.
The depth at the position has begun to strengthen with the likes of Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright helping fill the void as necessary.
With the defensive front and linebacking corps stockpiled with talent, if the secondary can hold down the back end of the bargain, the Chargers will be the topic of conversation once again.
Considering what is on the line this year, I expect the Bolts to hit the ground running come Week One. The window of opportunity for the Chargers is slowly fading. The time is now.
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