Today's NFL preview brings us a report on the San Diego Chargers, a team which has flirted with greatness and ruled the AFC West for the greater part of a decade, at least until last season when an upstart Kansas City squad stole the title from under the Bolts' noses.
Anyway, the impetus for the Chargers' success, in the past few seasons, is Philip Rivers, who thus far has tossed for 19,661 yards, 136 touchdowns and 58 interceptions in a career which has plenty of highlights left in it. While Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson are solid wideouts, one overlooks the likes of Seyi Ajirotutu and Patrick Crayton at their own peril. As if this wasn't enough, Antonio Gates is ensuing in a Hall of Fame career and still has a few solid seasons left.
In the backfield, Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert are both solid options as San Diego has adroitly replaced the solid duo of LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner and while I may not be a fan of A.J. Smith's hard-line tactics, he always retains the players he really wants.
This leads us to a defense which features a strong defensive back in one of my own, a Mormon named Eric Weddle, who has inked a rich contract and has the stats to back it up as he has 6 interceptions and four sacks, impressive numbers for a young DB.
Additionally, Jacques Cesaire and Antonio Garay are key cogs in a solid defensive line while Stephen Cooper, Shaun Phillips and even versatile cornerback/kick returner Marcus Gilchrist should keep this unit elite, on paper.
With that said, and this is where I may anger the masses on Bolts From the Blue, I just don't think Norv Turner is a championship-caliber coach.
The Chargers have had even more talented teams than this, in my opinion, and there is not much to show for it.
The Broncos have not been all that in recent years, so I'll take lots of flack for that, I already anticipate.
Nevertheless, San Diego still has a young-enough Rivers and sufficient talent at every conceivable position to go on a Super Bowl run, but it seems a Houston Texans-type conundrum exists in So Cal except for the Chargers, this appertains to Super Bowl appearances.
Perhaps this is the year, but as always, the AFC is a murderer's row so, with the dawn of a new NFL season upon us, we'll see what happens.
As for me, despite my Broncos affinity, I know that despite Kansas City's fluke last season, for all intents and purposes, the road to the division crown generally runs through Qualcomm.
If Denver is as improved as I hope, we'll at least split with you and find a way to steal the AFC West.
If not, I expect to see San Diego carrying the divisional banner once again, much to my disdain, while the Bolts win 10 or 11 games.
Thanks for reading and not crucifying me!