Its a new team in San Diego

Flying under the radar?

A lot of NFL players say they don't pay attention to the media, but I find that really hard to believe.
For years the Chargers have been super hyped to start each season, and primarily its because they've had an abundance of individual talent. But lets face it, a solid team will beat a group of individuals any day of the week.

Now the tables have turned, and most experts are not picking the Chargers to win the super bowl, much less even make the playoffs.
Most Chargers fans get mad when they read experts saying the Chargers will miss the playoffs for a third straight year, and they quickly fall back on listing individual players names.

" We have Rivers, Gates, Weddle , Meachem is gonna be awesome, Ingram is a beast, and on and on.

But in reality, as a collective talent , the 2006-2010 Chargers rosters were much better, and everyone knows it.

But as rich as the Chargers were in talent from 2006-2010, they really lacked in other areas.

For example. having " Superstars" in every position just absolutely kills competition.
The guys at the top know they're locked in as the starter. Even worse, they've already received that " Huge pay day".

This fully explains all the slow starts.

So the guys behind them are playing merely for depth, And when that injury bug bites the team is exposed brutally.

Also, having so many "superstars" develops a split locker room, and its no mystery the Chargers had that.

The 2012 Chargers may not be as impressive on paper, but what is not being pointed out, is they have the perfect balance of veterans, pressure, and competiton to form the best " TEAM", they've had yet.

The 2012 Chargers have something to prove!
They have lost the respect of the league, the players and the critics. And there is more than enough pressure and incentive to go around for everyone. Starting at the top.

Position- General Manager
Name- A.J Smith
New pressure heading into 2012-

A.J Smith lived off a reputation as a "draft genius" which started in 2004 and ended in 2007. His recent drafts, and gambles on players have drawn lots of criticism, and haven't paid too many dividends.

He has gained the reputation as a guy that players and fans don't like too much. For as much talent he has drawn to San Diego, he has let as much walk away with little to no compensation.
The city ( by majority) has turned on him and asked for his replacement.

In turn, Smith appeared to have an excellent draft, and his best free agency yet.
I think we all can agree that a desperate chance taking Smith is a big improvement to the stubborn brash Smith , we've grown accustomed to.

Position- Head Coach
Name- Norv Turner
New pressure heading into 2012-

He's been running on empty for a while. His best work was done when he had a strong DC (Ron Rivera).
No doubt he can call some offensive plays. But his career in San Diego hangs on the shoulders of John Pagano, and the new defense.

Position- Quarterback
Name- Philip Rivers
New pressure heading into 2012-

No, his job isn't in danger. Not even close. But Rivers is coming off his worst season as a pro, and he takes all responsibility for wins and losses by the Chargers. He saw his slide in the Top 100 from 26 to 61. He also stuck out his neck to keep Norv in town. Furthermore, he is now on the wrong side of 30, and he knows he's in his prime window of his career to make something happen.

Position- Wide Receiver
Name- Malcom Floyd
New pressure heading into 2012-
Being the number 1 target. With Gates and Jackson garnering so much attention, Floyd rarely saw double teams, now he will be asked to be number 1. He's had small tastes of this in the past, but now he's coming up on a contract year as well.

Position- Wide Receiver
Name- Vincent Brown
New pressure heading into 2012-
Bringing in Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Michael Spulock, and Roscoe Parish probably wont effect his roster spot, but it will keep him off the field more than he would like, which definitely effects the checkbook.

Position- Wide Receiver
Name- Robert Meachem
New pressure heading into 2012-
His whole career, he's been under the radar as a number 3 or 4 WR. Now he's definitely on the map, and will be looking at defenses that are way more focused on him.

Position- Fullback
Name- Le'Ron McClain
New pressure heading into 2012-
On a new team, and trying to re-find the glory he had in Baltimore, but lost in Kansas City. He wants to prove himself as an elite fullback, and will get the chance in San Diego to prove his time in KC was not reflective of anything but a bad situation.

Position- Running Back
Name- Ronnie brown
New pressure heading into 2012-
Much like McClain, he wants to prove he's still the player he was two years ago in Miami, and would like to forget all about Philadelphia.

Position- Safety
Name- Atari Bigby
New pressure heading into 2012-
Again, like Brown, and McClain, this is either a rebirth of his career in San Diego, or a retirement home.

Position- Safety
Name- Darrell Stuckey
New pressure heading into 2012-
Atari Bigby and Brandon Taylor are on the squad. As Gregory and Oliver departed, Im sure Stuckey thought the job would fall into his lap. The fact it didn't will definitely spark a competitive chord in him. I hope.

Position- Fullback
Name- Jacob Hester
New pressure heading into 2012-
Explored the free agency to find he wasn't in demand, came back to San Diego to see he lost his starting fullback job to another player. Any chance he has to get on the field, he will play with something to prove.

Position- Safety
Name- Eric Weddle
New pressure heading into 2012-
The fact that he was named as an all pro and led the league in interceptions, yet wasn't voted to the top 100 by the players is a slap in the face, and he will work hard to prove not only deserves his contract money, but is no fluke as a top safety.

Position- Cornerback
Name- Quentin Jammer/ Antoine Cason
New pressure heading into 2012-
The cornerbacks for 2013 draft class is STRONG , and neither Jammer or Cason had a strong season last year.

Position- Guard
Name- Tyronne Green
New pressure heading into 2012-
Replacing Kris Dielman. He did a great job with his play time in 2011. If he does so again in 2012, the Chargers will " show him the money". If he does not, they will show him a high round draft pick to compete with.

Position- WR / TE
Name- Eddie Royal / Dante Rosario
New pressure heading into 2012-
These guys were proven at position before " Tebowmania " happened, and their numbers fell off drastically. Philip Rivers can revive their careers. They both find themselves in a pass happy offense, but a boat load of competition for playing time.

Position- Linebacker
Name- Shaun Philips
New pressure heading into 2012-
Like many other Chargers, he fell off the "Top 100" list. His stats didn't fare too much better. Also he's coming up on a contract year and Melvin Ingram might be the guy that sends him out of town.

Position- Defensive End
Name- Luis Castillo
New pressure heading into 2012-
Coming off injury, tested the market- nobody was looking. Swallowed his pride, fell down the mountain a bit, has a lot left to prove.

More pressure- The Number 1's

Ryan Mathews, has proven to be solid, but his " breakout year" is now. Hopefully he wont be injured or still have the fumble bug.

Larry English- This his last chance to shed the "Draft bust" label, or follow Buster Davis into unemployment.

Melvin Ingram- A lot is expected of him. If it's right or not to expect it in year one, we do!

And Even More pressure.

Position- Linebacker
Name- Jarret Johnson
New pressure heading into 2012-
He has spent his whole career in Baltimore, where the focus was mostly on Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata. He will try to prove he can take a leadership role, and be a focal point of the defense.

Position- Offensive Tackle
Name- Mario Henderson
New pressure heading into 2012-
Last call for a career. Sometimes it works " Jared Gaither"Sometimes it doesn't "Travis Johnson".

Position- Offensive Guard
Name- Rex Hadnot
New pressure heading into 2012-
Even as a solid veteran lineman, he finds himself trying to make a new team. Good for the Chargers, bad for Hadnot.

Position- Linebacker
Name- DeMorrio Williams
New pressure heading into 2012-
Another veteran presence who knows its all or nothing in San Diego.


The Chargers GM is no longer considered a Genius.
The Chargers coach is on the hottest seat in the NFL
The Chargers QB is no longer considered an elite top 5 QB
Gates is no longer considered the leagues premier TE.
The Chargers no longer have the leagues best rusher
The big name receiver is gone
The contract disputes are all long gone
The sack dances are a thing of the past
And San Diego fans feel the AFC West crown is no longer their birth right.

But all that represented was a false picture to a fan base with super high expectations.

This new under the radar team is full of competition and position battles. There are many guys who could win a starter role, or lose one. Many more who could increase their pay, and many who will have to try a new line of work.

In looking at the Chargers 2006 roster. pretty much every starter position was etched in stone. The backups were merely high paid cheerleaders and observers.

In 2012, EVERY player besides Rivers could see their role considerably reduced or increased based on production not reputation.

Although the names Merriman, Tomlinson, Cromartie, Sproles, Jackson, , Turner, Binn, Williams, Chambers McNeill and many more are gone, they have been replaced by a younger, hungrier and less known bunch. A team that has everything to lose or win based not on past performance or reputation.

All though the Chargers wont sell jerseys as well, they will put everything on the line, and appreciate every opportunity they get, and that is ingredient all the " Great Chargers teams" did not have.
If you add that , and take out the high expectations, and complacency that San Diego has shown in the past, you really have a good team,

This FanPost was written by a member of the Bolts From The Blue community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bolts From The Blue editors or SB Nation.