The pressure to perform is mounting in San Diego. The Chargers' electric, star-studded offense has seen a few headlining pieces depart this offseason. Still, they managed to diffuse their losses and incorporate some landmark names to their 2012 squad.
That hunger from missing out on the opportunities to compete in January is the driving element that will propel them back to reclaiming their prestigious reign from the 2006 to the 2009 seasons.
Over the past few years, analysts have pinned the Chargers as perennial Super Bowl favorites heading into each season. We all know how those predictions have panned out.
The flimsy division of the AFC West, which was once recognized as a one-headed division, has steadily become an afterthought. While the Bolts were busy focusing on purging their cancers from within, their division opponents have begun to step forward into the thick of the conversation.
Under the uncanny structure of Tim Tebow’s methodical offensive system, the Broncos took 2011 by storm. Although Tebow took a depleted team to their first playoff appearance since 2005, Elway couldn’t bear witness to his raw mechanics. Peyton, welcome aboard.
No. 18 undeniably makes the Broncos a virtual threat to win the division again. With recievers the caliber of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker at his expanse, Manning should feel at home again. Every year except his rookie season, Manning has sent a receiver to the Pro Bowl. He makes everyone around him better.
The Broncos will be a testament to the Chargers, but Rivers has Manning's number.
Drawing back to 2010’s division winner, the Kansas City Chiefs are ready to get back to their winning ways. Any opportunity to repeat their 2010 success was stifled in 2011. The Chiefs were plagued with injuries that sidelined the play-makers of their roster.
It is no lie, the Chiefs have one of the strongest backfields in the division and can matriculate the ball down field effectively and efficiently. Returning a healthy Jamaal Charles and bringing in a hard-nosed ball-carrier in Peyton Hillis, the Chiefs will be stocked in the running department.
For the better half of the last decade, the Silver and Black have been unable to return to their Super Bowl form. Since the conclusion of the 2002 season, the Raiders have accumulated an alarming 45 wins in 9 seasons.
However, 2010 and 2011 have swung around some optimism and given the Raiders' fans something to cheer about. Last season was undeniably the most noteworthy year. They followed up their 2010 campaign with another eight wins, which almost earned them a playoff berth as three teams capped off the season with leveled 8-8 records.
The signing of Carson Palmer last season helped resurrect the lifeless offense that Oakland has been accustomed to from their quarterback. The combination of Palmer to Denarius Moore proved to be a lethal deep threat last season.
The Raiders do not possess a legitimate No. 1 receiver, but their rotation of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy and rookie Juron Criner should help create mismatches for defenses.
Despite the cluster and turmoil that has nagged the Chargers both on and off the field, the collection of veteran leadership has helped maintain the focus of the team.
With a new outlook and improved coaching and player personnel, the Bolts are back in business.
It is still early, but I feel they got more bang for their buck with pieces like Jarret Johnson, Eddie Royal, Robert Meachem, Le'Ron McClain and Melvin Ingram to name a few.
The Bolts’ front office is dancing on thin ice right now. They know that 2012 is a make or break year. Norv, grease up your hinges and let Rivers stretch out the defense through the air, and let the ground game pound the defenses to the floor.
The Chargers will find a way to escape their past inconsistencies and misfortunes and put themselves back into the elite status.