(Realistic) Expectations of the Chargers in 2013 will (hopefully) become a series of posts, delving into the schedule, and realistic expectations for each player on the Chargers at the moment.
This part (edition 1), I will be analyzing the QB's and RB's.
QB1) Philip Rivers
3900 yds, 29 TD's, 10 INT, 67% completion percentage, 38 sacks
I think it will take a season to get Philip Rivers back on track, and passing for over 4,000 yards again. I do, however, think that he will have a way better year than last year, and have one of his most accurate years as a passer. The Chargers, based on reports, are switching to more of a West Coast offense, with more checkdowns to backs, and short to intermediate routes by the receivers.
I think the Chargers will be a more balanced team this year, especially with the addition of DJ Fluker, and Danny Woodhead, which is why I don't think Rivers' yards or touchdown numbers will be outstanding, as the team will be running the ball more.
Sacks SHOULD go down this year. If you noticed, Rivers was sacked 38 times in 2010, which was the most he had been sacked, until this year (49). I think with a more balanced offense, we wont be all out blitzed every play. Also, King Dunlap should be a significant upgrade over undrafted rookie Mike Harris. DJ Fluker will help anchor the right side, and Clary will be better as a guard than he was as a tackle. Of course, Hardwick will be very good, but we still have a hole at LG. Who will it be?
QB2) Charlie Whitehurst
Clipboard Jesus should be on the team, because he can fill in, in a pinch, and is a veteran, who can help lead and teach the younger QB's now on the roster. I think that he will not play a snap this year, and will be off the team after 2013, making way for Sorenson.
QB3) Brad Sorenson
The Chargers brass fell in love with the kid, and would have signed him as an undrafted rookie in a heartbeat. Don't worry, he is not going to take PR's spot. He is a career backup, but will be very solid for the next 4 years. I expect him to be the 3rd QB on the roster, and take over for Charlie in 2014. I think he will look very good in the preseason, which is why I don't see the Chargers risking putting him on the practice squad.
QB4(Practice Squad) Mike Hermann
Gifted, athletic quarterback, but the Chargers don't have a spot for him. I'm thinking that he will be a fan favorite during the preseason, and will see a lot of reps. I think there is a slim chance he will be signed to the practice squad, but don't be surprised if he is. I also wouldn't be surprised if another team signs him to their active roster. Teams like looking at the Chargers practice squad for quality backups. (see Scott Tolzien, Jordan Todman)
RB1) Ryan Mathews
220 carries in 15 games. I feel like the staff is going to really work with him, to make sure he is safer with his body. I know the collarbone injuries were freak accidents, but I feel like he could take less risks.
990 yards for a 4.5 yd average. He is definitely one of the more talented backs, he just can't stay healthy. DJ Fluker, and moving Clary inside will help the running backs more than anybody. I don't think Ryan will necessarily miss carries because of injuries, but because I think he will be replaced on 3rd downs by Woodhead.
40 receptions for 280 yards and 1 TD. He wont be the main receiving back, but the Chargers are moving to a West Coast offense, with a lot of passes to running backs.
6 TD's. The Chargers WILL trust Ryan with the ball on the goal line. Who else do they have to pound it in? Woodhead is too small, Ronnie Brown has lost most of his power and explosiveness, and I don't think McClain is fast enough. Also, Ryan will break off for a few long runs. We all know he is capable to take it all the way every time he touches the ball, he just needs to hold onto the rock, and not fall down on the way.
He has 2 years left on his contract. I think he will play the last 2 years, but if his injury and fumbling issues persist, look for a #1 running back early in the next draft. I don't think the Chargers will want to take a risk and sign him to a long deal. I am fairly sure he will be wearing a different uniform in 2015.
RB2) Danny Woodhead
80 carries in 16 games. He won't be able to take over as the main back in Ryan Mathew's absence, but he will take over most of the 3rd down opportunities.
330 yards for a 4.1 average. Woodhead won't be relied on to run the ball as much as Mathews, and isn't as explosive.
60 receptions for 550 yards and 3 TD's Woodhead has been brought in to catch passes out of the backfield, and bring back some of the dimension we lost when #43 left town. Philip Rivers recently in an interview said that Woodhead "reminded him of a little #43 who ran around San Diego a few years ago." That is good that Rivers is already getting comfortable with Woodhead. He will be the best free agent acquisition on the Chargers offense this year, and hopefully for years to come.
1 Rushing TD. He won't carry it enough to get a bunch of TD's on the ground. He will mostly be a threat through the air.
RB3) Ronnie Brown
20 carries for 70 yards and 1 TD. He isn't an explosive back anymore, and will be used only when he is needed to.
20 receptions for 150 yards. He will be used less than last year through the year, but he has good hands and will still have value in the passing game.
RB4) Edwin Baker
2 carries for 6 yards. He won't be active in many games.
I don't know much about him, I just know he has potential. I think he beats out Fozzy, Michael Hill, and Gronkowski for the 4 spot.
RB5) Practice Squad - Fozzy Whittaker
He'll be signed to the practice squad if he doesn't make the roster.
Let me know in the comments/poll if you would like me to continue!