San Diego Chargers Offseason: In a Not So Small Nutshell

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is all but wrapped up, and the Chargers are done with formal workouts until July 24th, when training camp starts. Let's recap the offseason and talk about what we know, what we don't know, who's going to contribute, how many wins the Chargers will have and everything in between.

It's been a long, painful offseason. Here at BFTB, it's clear we're all ready to get back to watching football. We're starting to nitpick each other like a bunch of teenage girls. Let's get back to why were all here. Pigskin talk. Who are we counting on to contribute as a rookie? Who is going to be this years Danario Alexander that comes in and steals the show? Will Larry English finally put it together? Will Ryan Mathews for that Matter? So without further ado, let's talk about everything that's happened this offseason.

Rookie Contributors

The Chargers had one of the more talked about drafts out of all 32 teams. Whether it was the bashing on this site of right tackle DJ Fluker, or the medias sensation with inside linebacker Manti Te'o. Most pundits thought the Chargers had the best draft, but what can we expect from the rookies?

  1. DJ Fluker-He steps in as a starter right away, much has been made of his slow motion footwork, but as the 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft, he's going to be counted on largely to come in and upgrade one of the worst offense lines in 2012.
  2. Manti Te'o-He too steps in and becomes a instant starter. Not as much as the first pick, but all of us armchair GM's overreacted when Telesco traded up to draft Te'o. I think Te'o will be a good player and be an upgrade over Spikes.
  3. Keenan Allen-He's kind of a wild card here. He has the talent of a 1st rounder, but injuries and a slow 40 time dropped him to the 3rd round. The U-T reported that he took reps with the 1st team on the last day of minicamp in the slot. What can we expect from Allen in the season?
  4. UDFA-The Chargers are notorious for having contributors come in who aren't drafted. This year's popular picks seem to be nose tackles Kwame Geathers and Byron Jerideau. They'll have big shoes to fill due to the recent success of Antonio Garay and Aubrayo Franklin
  5. There will be a rookie defensive back that'll be forced to contribute, but which one? They drafted an undersized speedster in Steve Williams, but Kenny Okoro is making some noise, as is safety Jaheel Addae.

Fluker was one of the hotter topics we had this offseason, there was plenty bad, as you can read Nick's opinion, Jerome's opinion, and the magical, over the top draft night "discussion" we had on him. Thankfully, the fascist friendly Richard explained to us why Fluker was the right pick.

Traning Camp Cuts

  • We know there's 90 guys on the roster now, and it'll get down to 53 come the time they play the Houston Texans in week 1. Will there be any surprising cuts? Will Le'ron McClain and his $2.25 million salary be on the roster? The way he's created holes for Mathews, I don't believe so.
  • Ironically, there are fans still calling for Jeromey Clary's head. Even though he's a projected starter. I don't see a point in cutting him before seeing how him performs at right guard. Yes, he has cinder blocks for feet, but he's not nearly as bad as the majority make him out to be.
  • Meachem or Royal, who's cut? I'd be surprised, very surprised, if both make the roster. Based on his injury history, poor route running, and the fact he doesn't offer anything exceptional, I believe Royal is a goner.
  • Any surprise cuts? A starter that the front office feels is expendable? Time will tell

Position Battles

  • Guard-It looks like Clary has one spot locked down. Chad Rinehart is running with the starters for now, is he the best option? Does last years rookie Johnnie Troutman have what it takes to be a starter?
  • Safety-The revolving door is going on a decade plus, does Marcus Gilchrist make the smooth transition to safety? After all, it is his natural position. When Brandon Taylor comes back, does he get the opportunity or is he a special teamer? Darrell Stuckey is on the roster, will he ever get on the field?
  • Cornerback-The youth movement is in full effect here, with starters Derek Cox and Shareece Wright. The 3rd corner in the NFL is now considered a starter. Will Gilchrist continue that role on obvious passing downs? Or will a rookie be forced into action?
  • Tight End-No, not the hall of famer but the second tight end. If what Mike McCoy did last year is any indication, they used a fullback on 10.1% of their plays for the entire season, the second tight end is huge. Word is that John Philips is an excellent blocker, but is he a dynamic enough receiver to sustain the position? Did Ladarius Green add enough bulk to become a serviceable blocker to see the field?

Free Agents

  • The Chargers signed some big names, and some not so big names, and for the majority each player will be counted on. How much will they be able to contribute? Max Starks was brought in for one year as a stop gap. The Steelers have been trying to get rid of him for years, does he have anything left?
  • Speaking of, Dwight Freeney signed a 2 year deal after the unfortunate news that 2012 1st rounder Melvin Ingram tore his ACL. I think we'll see a lot more 4 man looks to accomdate Freeney's strengths. His production speaks for itself, but many have been skeptical that his injuries and age have slowed him down.
  • Danny Woodehead. What's not to like about this guy? He's fast, he can make you miss, and he can block. I expect to see a lot of him on 3rd downs, a lot of him period. Probably my favorite signing. He's so underrated.
  • There's still a lot of moving parts. Will the Chargers bring in another veteran to help out at nose tackle or at safety?

Obivously the biggest addition to the roster is Rich Ohrnberger's twitter account: @ohrnberger

If you haven't, stop what you're doing, and go there now. Everything he says is gold, we need to get him to tweet more, it's not like he's trying to win a job or anything right now.

What we can expect

  • The Chargers offense to be much more efficient. McCoy said he wants Rivers to complete 70% of his passes and it seems like every interview, he expects him to have a "phenomenal" season. No more 7 step drops and play action that doesn't work.
  • An actual run game. Last year there were times when it was embarrassing at the amount of times the Chargers ran the ball. Both McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt are very balanced, and love to run the ball.
  • Improved line play. As if it was that hard to do, right? With upgrades almost across the board, no more quarterback scrambling due to phantom pressure.
  • Eric Weddle to be awesome. I think his interception numbers will go up this year, and he'll be even better than last year.

Where things are a little Cloudy

  • Ryan Mathews. We know they'll run it more, we know there's big bodies on the line. Will he finally put it altogether?
  • Everybody in the secondary but #32. Can Derek Cox stay healthy? Can Wright? Is Wright ready for to be a starter? Will this be yet another year where we failed at the other safety spot?
  • Will the offensive tackles be able to keep up with speed rushers?
  • Will the Chargers be able to get off the field on 3rd down? Can they create turnovers?
  • Was last year a fluke for defensive ends Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes? Or will they both take the next step to being dominant players at their positions?

Predicting wins & losses

Hardly anyone ever agrees on this. Once upon a time the man in charge predicted this is a 4 win team. That was before some signings, so that's changed now. I happen to think in a weak conference the Chargers have a shot to sneak into the playoffs. Let's map this out.

  • Houston-One of the best teams in the league, they'll have to play a very efficent, turnover free game to win. So loss. 0-1
  • Eagles-New head coach and offensive system, for a lack of a better phrase, they still suck on defense. Vick's turnovers ratio makes Rivers look like an MVP, so, win. 1-1
  • Titans-Improved offensive line and they have weapons. They also have Jake Locker. Win. 2-1.
  • Cowboys-This is tricky, Cowboys switching to a 4-3, and new defensive coordinator, 97 year old Monte Kiffin, makes me think win. They're dangerous on offense though, I'll default to the home team, loss. 2-2
  • Oakland-Matt Flynn is the quarterback, for now. Win. 3-2.
  • Colts-I think the Colts take a step back, Freeney creates havoc against his old team, and Rivers lights up the defense on Monday night, win. 4-2.
  • Jaguars-The fact that people even considered Alabama could beat Jacksonville tells you all you need to know. Win. 5-2.
  • Redskins-Coming off a bye week, this is tough. The Redskins will be coming off of playing Dallas, Chicago, and Denver. So this will seem like the most homer pick of all, but the Chargers will outscore them. Win. 6-2.
  • Denver-Peyton Manning comes to town, by now he'll be in mid-season form, and ruin the 4 game winning streak. Loss-6-3.
  • Miami-This is where things will get ugly. After a home game, they travel for an early game on the east coast, and suffer a tough loss to the much improved Dolphins. 6-4.
  • Kansas City-Snowballing right now. Travel to Arrowhead, Rivers is in a funk, and the Chargers can't stop Jamaal Charles. 6-5
  • Bengals-After a tough loss last year, the Chargers bounce back and expose Andy Dalton for the average quarterback he is and get a huge win. 7-5.
  • Giants-This is the part of the season where Eli gets it rolling, even if the Chargers are starting to play well, Eli works his magic and pulls it off late. Loss. 7-6.
  • Denver-After a tough loss, headed to mile high and just don't have anything left after a rough week prior, brutal loss here as the Chargers can't get off the field when they need to. 7-7.
  • Oakland-Perfect timing. Raiders=Win. 8-7
  • Kansas City-To go to the playoffs, San Diego for the first time in years finally shows some toughness, comes together, and pulls out a win against a greatly improved Chiefs team from a year ago. 9-7

So that's what I have, 9-7. By my count that's going to get you in the playoffs, and from there, anything can happen.

10 Factors that will keep the Chargers from succeeding

  1. Injuries. I'm knocking on wood as I type this, but some things are inevitable.
  2. El Captain doesn't progress in a new offense with weapons around him
  3. The offense is one dimensional like last year and can't sustain a running game
  4. The secondary is a complete mess.
  5. Freeney has nothing left and the pass rush is non-existent
  6. Rivers still has to "run" for his life. The line can't pass protect.
  7. The special teams reverts back to 2010
  8. Our "stars" in Liuget, Reyes, and Butler regress.
  9. The second half of the schedule the Chargers completely lay an egg
  10. Typical Chargers luck. Name a reason. Any reason.

It's been a fun offseason, a lot more active than I ever expected. With football over a month away, it could be a slow, rough month here. So remember, when you're going to argue with someone over something that even a teenage girl wouldn't waste time over, take a chill pill.

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