The Chargers have arguably been one of the most consistent dominating offensive teams in the NFL. The question falls on the 2010 season whether they are able to still be that dominating offense without their main WR? The answer is hell yeah!
The 2010 Chargers, in my opinion, will have arguably the best offensive squad in the last six years. In my article you will see why every facet of a offense has been addressed.
God bless any opposing defensive coordinator that'll face the Chargers this upcoming season.
Jacob Hester hasn't been what the Chargers have hoped for when he was drafted to be a eventual replacement to Michael Turner. In a way, he turned out to be better—at least in one department, that's in the passing game.
Hester has in the past two seasons have accumulated 21 receptions for 115 yards which definitely better than Turner's 11 receptions for 71 yards in four seasons as a Chargers player.
If you look at what Hester brings to the team, he's bringing in a different dynamic in the passing game especially from the FB position. Hester does have the ability to gain the short yardage if he's asked to. On a team with so much talent, it's hard for Hester to explode into a star player. One thing is evident, when Hester is given the opportunity to carry the ball or catch the ball out of the backfield, he always makes those plays when you call his number.
This is one of the most greatest additions to the Chargers offense that hasn't gotten enough attention out there in the media.
If you look at Randy McMichael's stats over his career, he's a absolute beast. He averages 52 receptions for 571 yards a year as a 16 game starter. His best season as a pass catching TE was from 2004-2006. In 2004, he had 73 receptions for 791 yards.
In 2005, he had 60 receptions for 582 yards. In 2006, he had 62 receptions for 640 yards. He did all that with Gus Frerotte, Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington, A.J. Feeley, and Jay Fielder trying to throw the ball to him. Imagine what he can do with a QB like Philip Rivers throwing the ball to him.
I'll be bold in saying that McMichael's attributes to the passing game could be as good as Antonio Gates. McMichael can be lined up as a TE, a split TE, or even as a WR as the picture that I've chosen for this slide would indicate.
The reason why McMichael is such a great addition to the Chargers has a lot to do with the pace of the offense not changing. With the Chargers trying to keep Gates as healthy as possible, the Chargers can afford to give Gates adequate reps during the game and put in McMichael without changing the pace of the game.
The Chargers NEVER had a TE that can do anything similar to what Gates can do. With McMichael in the lineup when Gates is on the sideline getting rest, Rivers can continue to expose opposing defenses as if Gates never left the field. That's what McMichael can bring to the Chargers offense.
Just think, the Chargers could run a offensive formation that is hardly seen in the past couple of years and that's the double TE formation. It'll be very interesting to see what Norv Turner will be able to do with these guys on the field. Having both Gates and McMichaels on the field who will be too fast for most LB's and to big for most CB's to cover.
Josh Reed isn't the prototypical WR. He isn't a down-the-field threat. He isn't a great run blocking asset to the running game. For all the things Reed isn't, it sure wasn't those reasons for why the Chargers brought him to San Diego.
Reed can bring to the offense is something the Chargers didn't have in the past, that's a slot WR. The Chargers have had Legedu Naanee as a slot WR but the problem was, it took some time for him to develop as a slot WR. Reed has experience as a WR and as a slot WR. Experience is what makes him a great addition to the Chargers.
At 5'10" 210 lbs., he has the looks and showing of a clutch slot WR. In the picture on the slide provided, he shows the ability to catch in traffic and he's done that many times. WIth a QB like Philip Rivers throwing the ball, Reed should excel as he didn't have anything close to a QB like Rivers during his career.
Mike Tolbert has been quite a surprise in the past two seasons. Tolbert is as dynamic of a player as any in the NFL that can bring versatility to their offense. Tolbert has deceptive speed and many opposing defenses learn the hard way especially the Browns when Tolbert took a short screen play for a 66 yard TD.
Tolbert is a very underrated runner and with so much talent around the Chargers offense, he obviously succeeded in running with the ball for a career best of 5.9 yards a carry last season. Tolbert also is great out of the backfield as a receiver as he's had 30 receptions for 363 yards in the last two seasons. He did all that as a FB which many FB's in the league can't do.
What often makes the Chargers offense tick in the sense of backfield players like Tolbert and Hester is the fact that they both have the same attributes as both Hester and Tolbert can run and catch. So whether Hester or Tolbert is on the field, the Chargers won't lose that part of the offensive game plan with FB's catching the ball out of the backfield.
Tolbert is also a underrated pass-blocking asset in the passing game.
Legedu Naanee is entering a exciting part in his career. He has a shot at being a starter for the firs time. I believe what Naanee is bringing to the offense is something we haven't seen from the WR position since Eric Parker's time in San Diego.
Naanee strength isn't really the deep threat although he showed he can have separation in the vertical game. His isn't strength isn't the jump ball. What he does have that we haven't seen in a long time is his ability in the short passing game.
Naanee is a compact 6'2" WR at 220 lbs. His frame fits that of a WR that should make plays over the middle of the field such as drag routes, slants, and in-routes. Both Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson haven't showed the ability to dominate in the short passing game where the Chargers have shown to have struggled last season forcing the Chargers to run the ball with a aging LT. If the Chargers had a WR capable of complimenting the deep ball with some short game route running, the Chargers wouldn't have the need to run the ball with LT and try rely on him.
In Naanee's three seasons as a WR, his average yards per catch is nearly all within 10 yards. He had 24 receptions for 242 yards last season which averaged to 10.1 yards per carry. So you see, that's Naanee's strengths as a WR which is where the Chargers struggled in last season. With more playing time this upcoming season as a No. 2 WR, look to Naanee to bring that strength of his into a offense that badly needed it last season.
Darren Sproles is as big of a playmaker as any on the Chargers team. The trick is, he's a playmaker only if the attention isn't on him. Last season, with a declining LT, the focus on the backfield was on Sproles. With the addition of Ryan Mathews and with Mike Tolbert showing what he can do, Sproles can go back to being a rash on opposing defenses behinds.
Sproles strengths is the passing game. He had over 45 receptions for 497 yards last season. That's not bad if you ask me for a third down RB. We all know about his breakaway speed. We all know he can catch. What he does for the Chargers that most teams in the NFL don't have is giving the Chargers the ability to run the screen play effectively.
Sproles runs the screen play arguably better than any player in the league. With so many weapons on the Chargers offense going vertical on opponents and with Ryan Mathews receiving some attention, it'll definitely open up Sproles to take any screen play for a TD. Look for the Chargers to continue to exploit aggressive defenses next season with a screen play here or there.
Malcolm Floyd will be that go to guy next season and there is no reason that he can't fulfill that obligation on the offense. Floyd can only be describe in two words: Vertical Threat. Floyd has the ability to be a deep threat on any play. It doesn't mean that he's a deep threat assuming he's fast, no, that's not what I meant. He's a deep threat because of another reason, he can out-jump nearly any defensive back or safety in the NFL.
Since he has the ability to be a deep threat because of his post-like skill, that also means that he's a redzone threat to any defense. Floyd is a towering beast of a WR and also is a running game asset as he can run block as good as any WR in the NFL.
Look for Floyd to continue his deep play dominance as he'll improve on his 17.2 yards a catch this upcoming season especially with a QB like Philip Rivers throwing the ball to him.
Ryan Mathews can bring something to the Chargers offense that can only be describe in one word: balance.
Mathews is a very strong physical runner. People argue he hasn't shown the ability to be a threat as a pass catcher out of the backfield but that's not the reason why the Chargers drafted him in the first place. Mathews will be given every opportunity to prove his worth for why the Chargers moved up 12 spots to pick him in this past NFL draft.
One thing is for sure, Mathews will be left running against most defenses that'll be more concern with trying to defend that pass than trying to stop a rookie running with the ball. Look for Mathews to surprise a lot of people and bring a rushing attack that has been missing since 2007.
Probably the only other player than LT that can arguably be credited to reviving the Chargers from obscurity is Antonio Gates. Ever since 2004, Gates have done nothing but continue his dominance over opposing defenses.
What Gates have gave the Chargers offense is a viable threat in the passing game in the short to mid-range routes. Gates is much to fast for opposing LB's and he's way to big for any defensive back to cover him.
Look for Gates to continue being the focal point in the Chargers passing attack.
Philip Rivers have, in my opinion, moved himself into the elite status of NFL QB's. Why do I feel this way? 'Cause like Peyton Manning, he's proven he can lead his team to victory regardless of having a running game or a dominating defense. He's a proven winner.
Rivers should have his most successful season as a starter as he'll have the most dynamic group of skill players in his offensive arsenal as he'll continue to dominate the air. Rivers will have many options this season especially in the short and medium passing game.
Look to Rivers to lead the AFC in QB rating again this season.
I don't believe one bit that any defense will have a chance at stopping the Chargers. The Chargers just have one too many weapons. With a mastermind like Norv Turner at the helm, he'll have more weapons on his offense than he had with his 1992 and 1993 Super Bowl Cowboys.
The Chargers won't miss a beat with any of their players. If Gates take a breather, McMichael will play and not let up the tempo. If Tolbert takes a breather, Hester will take over and not skip a beat.
The Chargers have every aspect of the game covered. They can deploy Floyd in the deep passing game. Naanee and Buster Davis arguably can be deep threat WR's also. They can deploy Naanee, Gates, or McMichaels in the short to mid-range passing game. The Chargers can deploy Sproles and Tolbert in the screen game. They can deploy Tolbert, Hester, and Sproles out of the backfield for some catches. Every facet of the passing game from the deep play, mid-range, to short game has been addressed.
Not to mention, the Chargers will boast a array of rushers that all have different running styles. Having different type of runners will help the Chargers be unpredictable for opposing defenses to prepare for. How can defenses prepare for Mathews, Sproles, and Tolbert as runners? They are all different type of rushers much like how defenses couldn't account for Reggie Bush, Mike Bell, and Pierre Thomas.
The Chargers will be outstanding this season on offense and I won't be surprise if they outscore many opponents this season to win games making the defense a non-factor to win games.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks for the read.