This idea originated from ESPN's Mike & Mike. I will now preview the San Diego Chargers.
1. Is Philip Rivers one of the top five NFL quarterbacks?
I'd say Peyton Manning is one, Brees at two, Brady at three, and I'd put Rivers at four with Aaron Rodgers at five. Philip Rivers is the leader of the Chargers. Rivers gave San Diego the fifth-ranked passing offense in the league last year.
I found this stat in Sporting News: Over the past two seasons Rivers has thrown more touchdowns (62) than anybody but Drew Brees with 68. If that doesn't describe elite I'm not sure what does!
2. Will rookie running back Ryan Mathews improve the Bolts' ground game?
Mathews is at his best when he's running in between the tackles as a power back. Darren Sproles is the playmaker. He can bust a defense open for six at any given time. These two complement each other perfectly.
3. Who is the leader of the Chargers' defense?
I have no clue; I'll just breakdown this defense instead. The defensive line is successful when they've got a rotation. They don't really have any big names, but they have a great unit.
The linebacking core needs Shawne Merriman to get back to his rookie form. Shaun Phillips led the team in sacks last year with seven. To answer the question, I'd say Stephen Cooper is the leader. Cooper starts inside, while the other inside linebacking spot is up for grabs.
Quentin Jammer had his career year in 2009, while Antoine Cason takes over opposite Jammer. Unproven players Kevin Ellison and Eric Weddle will start at both safety spots. A largely young secondary has a lot to prove in 2010.
Overall, this is a defense that has been reconstructed in the past few years. Merriman and Cason need to step up for this defense to be elite.
4. Despite three straight playoff appearances, is Norv Tuner the right man for the job?
No! This man can't motivate a chalkboard, much less a football team. Great offensive coordinator, terrible head coach. This team should have won a Super Bowl several years ago. He reminds me of Wade Phillips; the players know he is a joke. After failed stints in Washington and Oakland, why did the Chargers figure it was a good idea hire this man? Beats me.
10-6, first in the AFC West.
Later today, I'll preview the Buffalo Bills season.