The San Diego Chargers Are a Rock Among NFL Franchises

Ian PhilipAnalyst IIIMay 30, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  (R-L) Head coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers shakes hands with head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets following the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Jets defeated the Chargers 17-14. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Has anyone read the article “Five NFL Teams Going Up and Five Coming Down ” written by Reid Brooks ? Pure foolishness.

Once again, we have someone who doesn't know what they're talking about parroting the national media, who are a bunch of morons to begin with. Brooks says the Chargers' defense is full of holes, but doesn't take the time to do any research to see if what he is parroting is correct.

The Bolts' defensive line is where the hole is, not holes, hole. The hole is defensive tackle. The Chargers stole Cam Thomas in the 2010 draft and had previously drafted Vaughn Martin in 2009. The defensive line will be fine with those two big guys. Martin came on strong at the end of last season after suffering through a steep learning curve coming out of Canada where he got over on brute force.

Getting rid of soft guys like Antonio Cromartie will help the defense as a whole.

I love the whole “San Diego didn't really have a good draft” quote. Yet, the Bolts filled every need they had with a solid draft pick. Running back, inside linebacker, defensive tackle, safety, third quarterback, tight end; you name it, the Chargers filled with a solid player. Those young players come into a solid system that has been in place for years, not to a situation like the Oakland Raiders where you don't know what will happen from one day to the next.

Brooks claims that the Chargers traded too much for Ryan Mathews. He needs to stop mimicking the media and do some research. The Chargers traded their third string QB Charlie Whitehurst, the 28th overall pick, a fourth round pick, and a fourth string inside linebacker Tim Dobbins; for the 12th pick, a third round pick, and a fourth round pick. How did they give up too much to get Mathews?

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Brooks is undoubtedly thinking, "Gee, the Chargers traded a first round pick, a second round pick, and a player for the number twelve pick in the draft. Mel Kiper JR says that was too much to give up, so it must be true."

It was never that simple. The Chargers planned all along to add Mathews to their roster and made it happen. Missing out on a player with this much size, balance, power, and speed was unacceptable.

As far as I am concerned, they only thing the Chargers gave up was Dobbins. Dobbins may have been the number four guy, but he is a physical stud who dominated the couple of games he started. The Miami Dolphins wanted him for a reason, but at least the Chargers did not give up Brandon Siler.

Brooks goes on the write that it will “be difficult for Philip Rivers to keep (the Chargers) on top of the NFL."

Much to the delight of Broncos and Raiders fans, the Chargers are not on top of the NFL to begin with. I never want to test this theory, but the bottom line is that San Diego has had its offensive system in place for what will be the tenth year in a row. The defensive system has been in place since 2004. Obviously, they would not be the same threat, but the Chargers can games even without Philip Rivers as the Colts found out in the 2007 playoffs.

The Chargers have an team full of guys that have been playing in their system for years. Guys like Vincent Jackson, Shawne Merriman, Shaun Phillips, Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates, Quentin Jammer, Kris Dielman, Luis Castillo, Marcus McNeil, Stephen Cooper, Darren Sproles, the list goes on and on.

Yes, Rivers is a very big piece, but he does not do it all by himself.

The evidence is clear for anyone to see for themselves. Look at the Chargers offense in 2003. The Chargers made a huge mistake by signing David Boston in free agency and getting rid of Drew Brees' favorite target, Curtis Conway. Antonio Gates was a rookie, so he was not a factor.

The overweight Boston could not cut laterally without falling down, causing an obscene amount of turnovers and missed opportunities that were there with Curtis Conway the previous season. With the defense allowing teams to score points at a rapid pace (they blew a 17-point lead to the Oakland Raiders!) and no reliable receivers to throw to, Drew Brees had the only bad season of his career.

Not surprisingly, the Chargers had their only losing season in the last eight years, dropping from 8-8 to 4-12 (honestly, the was as much the fault of the ghastly defense as it was the offense).

In 2007, the Chargers made two errors. The first was trying to make LaDainian Tomlinson the center of the offense after Marty Schottenheimer moved away from Tomlinson and put the ball in Drew Brees' hands in 2004 and then Philip Rivers' hand 2006. The second was not bringing back wide receivers Eric Parker and Keenan McCardell who were very reliable targets and largely responsible for the Chargers third down success along with Antonio Gates in 2006.

While Norv Turner never corrected the first error, leading to San Diego having an unprecedented amount of first half futility, they did correct the second error. The Chargers were forced to trade a second round pick to acquire Chris Chambers to fill the sizable void left by McCardell. Suddenly, with Chambers filling the role of number one receiver and Vincent Jackson playing the role of number two, Philip Rivers went from terrible early in the season, to pretty good towards the end of the season, to great in the playoffs and every year since.

Why did I take the time to break this down? Philip Rivers can not win by himself or with only Antonio Gates. There has always been two good wide receivers, a great tight end, and a very good quarterback during the Chargers latest successful run. In most years, there has also been a great running back, but for the last two seasons there hasn't even been a very good running back. The Bolts only went 13-3 last year, because they went from having two good wide receivers to having once good wide receiver (Malcolm Floyd) and once great wide receiver (Vincent Jackson). They were every bit the 8-8 team the year before without LT filling his vital role of running threat in Norv Turner's antiquated run first system, which I hate and Marty Schottenheimer called “spinning your wheels.”

I had to laugh at Brooks, obviously biased, assessment that the Chargers “window (has) closed without a championship.”

Look at the last two Super Bowls won by the Steelers. Those teams were pretty good, but they got lucky both times, especially in 2008 when injuries limited the effectiveness of the Patriots and Chargers. Suddenly, two out of the three big AFC teams were out of the way.

The 8-8 Chargers were no threat in the frigid cold of Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, while the Patriots couldn't even make the play-offs. Determined to never let Archie Manning have a laugh at their expense, the Chargers knocked off the Colts, giving the Steelers a free run at the Super Bowl over an injury riddled Chargers squad, a rookie quarterback led Baltimore Ravens squad, and the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals. And they barely won!

If a team is run correctly, there is no window. Almost every Super Bowl Champ got lucky. For example, the Vikings turn the ball over five times in the NFC Championship Game, barely lose to the lucky Saints, who then go on to win the big show.

There is no window, just run your team the right way, get in the playoffs, and hope you have a magical year. Here is question for the reader. How many Super Bowls would the Colts have won if the Chargers didn't have their number and the Patriots didn't steal their signals?

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