A couple of years ago, I was telling my co-worker Dave (who's been a San Diego Charger fan longer than I've been alive) that the Chargers would not make it to the Super Bowl until this season.
I got caught up in the moment and half-believed that 2009 was the year, but in reality, I knew there was no way a team that couldn't come close to either running the ball or stopping the run should have even made the playoffs.
The Chargers have such a good offensive system in place that they can beat most NFL teams even while bringing inferior talent to the field which explains why they were able to lose five starters in the first game of the season and still go 13-3.
The Chargers have been in rebuilding mode for two seasons right under your nose. While the national sports writers have been proclaiming that the Chargers' window of opportunity is closing, Chargers general manager AJ Smith has been plugging holes with draft picks collected over the last few seasons.
For years, LaDainian Tomlinson was the Chargers' most highly regarded offensive player and Jamal Williams was the most highly regarded defensive player. When those guys fell off, the offense became pass happy and the defense couldn't stop anybody on the ground.
Running the ball and stopping the run wins championships.
AJ Smith knows it, head coach Norv Turner knows it, and de facto team owner Dean Spanos knows it. National sportswriters, otherwise known as male gossip columnists (Mike Florio anyone?), overlook obvious things like this.
Writers who do not follow the Chargers casually gloss over the facts. They haven't noticed that the Chargers have been grooming Vaughn Martin, Ogemdi Nwagbuo, and Antonio Garay. They forgot that the Bolts traded for solid veteran Travis Johnson and recently drafted massive defensive tackle Cam Thomas.
Run defense woes solved.
They totally missed the solid power running back who can put a defense away in the fourth quarter known as Mike Tolbert. Then proclaimed that the Chargers reached for Ryan Mathews. Anyone for baloney?
Rushing attack woes solved.
The Chargers were without those key aspects last season and could still hang with the top teams in the NFL. They swept the NFC East and went 8-2 outside of the AFC West.
Enough with the "they play in the AFC West" crap. The Chargers could have gone 2-4 in the AFC West and still made the playoffs.
The Chargers rebuilding appears to be complete, so I am sticking to my prediction. Now we will just have to see if they are good enough to beat the NFC heavyweights. If you don't know who that is, I will tell you.
Guess what those NFC powerhouses have in common? They will never see Vincent Jackson wearing their uniform! More on that later.
Now about that kicker...