San Diego Chargers: The 3 Biggest Media Misconceptions About the 2012 Team
Many members of the media love to simplify stories and present their opinions as inevitable events of the future.
This leads to many misconceptions in the media that are purely based on conjecture rather than fact.
Readers should always question the assertions made by opinionated journalists, and they should make no exceptions.
Without further ado, here are three opinions of the San Diego Chargers that have been constructed by members of the sports media, and they are juxtaposed with counterarguments that attempt to tear down the media's notions of the 2012 Chargers.
1. The Passing Game Will Take a Huge Hit Following Vincent Jackson's Departure
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Vincent Jackson is a very good wide receiver, and his presence will be sorely missed in San Diego.
Many people in the media expect the Chargers' passing game sans Jackson to take a big hit in production.
Luckily, the Chargers have the right personnel to fill the huge hole that Jackson has left on the team.
As always, the Chargers will lean heavily on Antonio Gates. If he is able to stay healthy, he will have his usual 1,000-yard season. Chargers fans have to be crossing their fingers in hopes that Gates will get through 2012 without any injuries.
However, the main player that people will look towards to replace Jackson is new addition Robert Meachem.
Meachem did not have much pressure in a pass-happy New Orleans Saints offense that was full of weapons. Because Meachem was part of a large and very talented group of pass-catchers with the Saints, he has rather pedestrian stats considering the contract the Chargers signed him to.
Despite his lackluster stats, Meachem is expected to contribute in a big way. He appears to be the perfect fit for Norv Turner's passing offense, which is predicated on making big gains down the field.
Meachem has the speed and route-running ability to get open downfield and make impressive catches with his solid set of hands. He's never been relied upon as heavily as he will be in the upcoming season, and his skill set points towards him having a breakout year.
Additionally, The Chargers expect Malcom Floyd to step up.
Floyd played in only 12 games last year for the Chargers, but he was still able to haul in 43 catches for 856 yards. His per-catch average was an eye-popping 19.9 yards, which led the NFL.
Floyd's ability to use his size downfield to make big plays will help ease the loss of Jackson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Another receiver on the roster that the Chargers expect big things from is Vincent Brown.
In his rookie season, Brown displayed impeccable route running. Brown's routes appeared to endear him to Philip Rivers, as Rivers looked for the rookie in key spots last season.
Brown appears to be the perfect receiver to sit in the slot and take advantage of defenses that will be keying on Meachem, Floyd and Gates.
Unfortunately for Brown, the Chargers also added Eddie Royal to compete for the slot-receiver position.
Royal has been a thorn in the Chargers' side in the past, and they hope that he will be able to show the same form in 2012 that he has displayed as a Chargers' opponent.
It is very exciting to see four talented wide receivers on the Chargers roster following the departure of Jackson.
It remains to be seen if any of the four receivers will individually match the same production as Jackson. However, it is very likely that the collective group of receivers, in addition to Gates, will allow the Chargers passing game to experience no drop off in production in 2012.
2. The Offensive Line Will Flounder Following Kris Dielman's Retirement
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The loss of Kris Dielman will hurt the Chargers—but not as much as many people think.
In their 12th game of the 2011 season, the Chargers plugged Jared Gaither into the starting lineup as their starting left tackle, and things began to click after an injury-plagued season.
After Gaither was installed as a starter, the Chargers'offensive line allowed just two sacks in the final five games of the season.
Furthermore, the offensive line appeared to open more running lanes for Ryan Mathews, Mike Tolbert and Curtis Brinkley.
Let's take a look at the offensive line of the Chargers.
Tyronne Green—Dielman's replacement—is not a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination, but he is a serviceable player.
Louis Vasquez has shown flashes of extraordinary talent, and the Chargers hope to see him develop into a very good guard next season.
Gaither will be a top left tackle if he performs at the same level he did last year.
Jeromey Clary is a below-average right tackle, but at least he isn't protecting Rivers' blind side.
Nick Hardwick is a very good center, and the Chargers were to smart to bring him back to the team in free agency.
Let's not kid ourselves: The Chargers' offensive line isn't a top unit in the league.
Fortunately, they will be good in 2012, and that's all the Chargers need.
3. The Chargers Are Doomed Due by Norv Turner's Returning as Head Coach
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For some reason, this season feels as though it's different than the past two years when the Chargers missed the playoffs.
Despite the failures of Norv Turner and his team in the past, the Chargers just can't miss the playoffs this year.
Is that blind optimism?
Some cynics might say that it is because Turner is a "player's coach," who allows players to do whatever they want.
On the flip side, the optimists would say that it's because the players believe in their coach and truly believe that his impressive football knowledge gives them the best chance to win moving forward.
Let's take the bright and positive route.
The positive route means that the Chargers have something to prove as a team.
The players that campaigned to retain Turner have to show that Turner is the correct leader for the team.
The player that appeared the most ecstatic to see Turner return is Rivers.
Rivers needs to have a much better season this year, or else he will invite criticism to his own game and his decision-making, as well.
Luckily, Rivers doesn't like to look like a fool.
With Gaither protecting his blind side, Rivers will have much more time to sit in the pocket this season and deliver passes with pinpoint precision.
The media and many Chargers fans might have very little confidence in Turner, but A.J. Smith has armed him with a much more well-rounded team than that of last season.
Turner and his troops will be on a mission to show the world that they are better than the rising Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, and Smith's offseason moves should help push Turner and the Chargers to their first playoff birth in three season.