Last year, the San Diego Chargers needed a miracle to capture the watered-down AFC West and make it to the playoffs.
This year, lightning might not strike again.
On paper, the Chargers have the talent. But questions persist regarding whether Norv Turner is the right man for this or any NFL head-coaching job.
So even with Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles and a healthy Shawne Merriman and a healthy Jyles Tucker and a rookie first-rounder who does the same thing that both of them do, it might not be enough to make it four straight division titles in a wide-open AFC West featuring teams in Kansas City and Oakland that might be more dangerous than expected. (We can forget about the Broncos.)
- Will the AFC West be competitive finally? It was competitive last year, if 8-8 wins it, it is competitive, it may not be good, but it is competetive
- Florio's problem with the Chargers is the coach not the talent. Norv has not achieved what the talent should and could achieve, and because of that you cannot assume that they are going to live up to that and have another great season.
- Half the teams that make the playoffs one year don't make it the next. You could make the argument that since the Chargers have made the playoffs three years straight they are due not to make it (Note: Vegas loves it when guys like this play Roulette... 3 reds in a row? I'm putting all my money on black!)
- Is Norv to the point where he needs to win the Super Bowl to be embraced by the city? Yes, at some point. He came to city after past failures as a Head Coach. Kasim Osgood said Norv was a great offensive coordinator but maybe not the best to pull everything together.
- What is the national perspect on the Chargers' future free agents (Rivers, Gates, Merriman, etc.)? A lot depends on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). If no new CBA, Merriman will be a restricted free agent. Rivers will be franchised. Someone will be an unrestricted free agent. They can keep them, but it won't be cheap. There are two franchise tags in the uncapped year. In the uncapped year, the team will have a few more options for keeping guys that it wouldn't under the current CBA.
- Andre Smith (the OT from Alabama) has fired his most recent agent and is going back to his old agent. Speculation is that Smith fired his first agent before the draft to make himself more attractive to teams so he would get drafted higher. Now that he has been drafted, he is firing agent #2 and going back to agent #1... the old bait and switch. Apparently Merriman did something similar when he was drafted and picked up the Poston brothers after the draft. (who have also since been suspended for two years and are now back)
- Florio thinks the future for the NFL is international, with a team in London. Growth potential is much bigger worldwide than just in America. Timeframe is probably decades.
- Team in Vegas? Probably not, the NFL doesn't want to mess with the gambling thing. More likely to put a team or two in LA first (Note: Chicago could probably handle another team as well.)
- Guys like Holmgren, Shanahan, Gruden, Billick, and Cowher are making sure the owners remember them. It makes any current coach's hot seat even hotter.