San Diego Chargers Looking To Have Strong Season in '09

Austin WhiteContributor IMay 14, 2009

SAN DIEGO - MAY 03: Linebackers Shawne Merriman #56 and Larry English #52 of the San Diego Chargers have a discussion during minicamp at the Chargers training facility on May 3, 2009 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Terrell/Getty Images)

The San Diego Chargers are coming off of a great finish to their 2008-2009 season in which they went 4-1 the last five games and came out ahead of the Denver Broncos. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers eventually eliminated them from the playoffs, but it was still a huge mental victory to even be in the position they were in at the end of the season.

This year the Chargers' top linebacker, Shawne Merriman, should be back on the field and ready to play when week one comes around.  He is reported as saying that he is just trying to take it slow for now to make sure he is 100 percent recovered when the ’09 season begins. His ability to get QB sacks will greatly increase the defensive power of the Chargers.

Another key Charger player recovering from injuries is running back LaDainian Tomlinson.  He struggled with a toe injury for much of the second half of the season in '08-'09, and was limited in most games.  Although Darren Sproles provided a great back-up, it will still be nice to have a healthy L.T. back for the upcoming season.

If the Chargers want to do well this season, Philip Rivers must lead the team exactly like he has been doing the past couple years. He must be solid in the passing game, and take advantage of Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson.

Rivers must also use the Chargers' running game, and take advantage of a healthy L.T. and Darren Sproles.  Mixing up his strong passing game with the San Diego’s talented running game should allow the Chargers to be a dominant team on offense.

On defense, Shawne Merriman will need to lead the team on defense, and help mentor some of the rookies coming in to the team this year.

One of the top defensive picks to watch for is Vaughn Martin who was drafted in the fourth round.  He has a lot of potential and could prove to be a strong asset to the Chargers' defensive squad.