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2011 Chargers' Opponent Spotlight: New York Jets

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At some point during the 2011 season, I imagine on a Sunday or Monday night and I'm hoping for sometime early in the season before it starts snowing, the San Diego Chargers will travel to the swamps of northern New Jersey to take on the New York Jets. It will be the first time in his professional career that LaDainian Tomlinson will stand on a sideline opposite from the Chargers.

2010 Record: 11-5, 2nd in AFC East
Playoff Outcome: Lost in the AFC Championship for the second consecutive season

Key Free Agents

Mark Brunell, QB
Kellen Clemens, QB
Tony Richardson, FB
Santonio Holmes, WR
Braylon Edwards, WR
Brad Smith, WR/Wildcat QB/PR
Wayne Hunter, RT
Shaun Ellis, DE
David Harris, ILB
Antonio Cromartie, CB
Brodney Pool, Safety
Eric Smith, Safety
Nick Folk, K

Key IR Returns

Jim Leonhard, Safety
Kris Jenkins, NT


After getting to the AFC Championship game and losing to the Colts last season, the Jets saw their opportunity to make a run and went after everybody that was available. They traded for Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie, and signed LaDainian Tomlinson (along with others like Brodney Pool). Unfortunately, this season ended in exactly the same fashion as last season and now they're left with a lot of decisions on guys they brought in.

Do they bring back Cromartie, who has caused a few issues and spent most of the season getting burnt by opposing WRs? Do they rely on Tomlinson to be the guy who was really good the first few weeks of 2010, or expect him to be the mediocre RB he was through the second half of the year? Is Brodney Pool finally going to stay healthy enough to deserve a contract? Who will be Mark Sanchez's backup? How can they afford to pay Holmes, Edwards and Smith? Can their offense survive without them?

This will no doubt be an important offseason for the Jets, who opened the window of opportunity quickly and might be watching it shut just as fast. One thing is for sure, the Chargers could be seeing a very different "Gang Green" when they travel to NJ in 2011.