The Chargers have been an elite team for each of the last few years. But they're stuck. They can't quite get over the hump. They are loaded with talent: LT, Gates, Merriman, etc. They've lost guys, but they've added guys as well.
Each year, they look great but fall short in the playoffs. So I pose the question: What needs to happen this year for the Chargers to go all the way?
The answer lies in the Chargers' biggest weakness each of the last few years: wide receiver.
The Chargers haven't been able to get production out of their wide receivers (remember Keenan McCardell?). Gates and LT are always the best receivers (L.T. had 100 receptions in '03!). Is this the year the wide receivers step it up? Well, it could be.
Chris Chambers was a stud a few years ago. He had five phenomenal years with Miami, so look for him to improve this season.
Then there is Vincent Jackson. Jackson is extremely physically gifted. He is huge and has great leaping ability. He had a pedestrian regular season last year, but in the playoffs, he turned in three stellar performances when Gates was hurt. Let's see if he can maintain that level of play for a whole season.
If so, this can be a great season for the Chargers. He and Chambers will be asked once again to fill the void Gates' absence leaves.
Strong wide-receiver play will do wonders for the offense. It will help young quarterback Philip Rivers. It will take pressure off of L.T. and the running game. And most of all, it will take off pressure from Antonio Gates, and it will open things up for him a little more.
Judging by the fantastic defense, which includes Cromartie, Merriman, and Castillo, and the high-powered offense that includes Rivers, L.T., and Gates, the play of the Chargers' wide receivers could be the difference between a Super Bowl and another early exit from the playoffs.