Hey it's every fan's favorite time of year! Every team is 0-0. Every team has a chance to bring home the Lombardi trophy. Well, maybe not, but if the Chargers want to at least sneak into the playoffs then they will absolutely need these guys to step up.
This one is obvious. Rivers can play like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He finished fifth, first, and second in Pro Football Focus' quarterback rankings in 2008, 2009, and 2010 respectively. He threw 33 interceptions over that three year stretch and led the team into the playoffs twice.The last two seasons have been a different story. He threw more interceptions the past two seasons (35) then the previous three. There are many reasons for his downfall, such as a depleted offensive line and a system that no longer suites the team, but the bottom line is that his play is not going to cut it any longer.
The Chargers will go as Philip Rivers goes in 2013, and the new regime did everything to help him out. They hired a new coach and offensive coordinator that introduced a new system based on quick patterns and spreading out rather than getting the ball down the field. They upgraded the offensive line, the running game, and added a few more weapons. It may take some time, but Rivers needs to adjust to the new system for the Bolts to have any playoff hopes this season.
Offensive line is usually a low-impact position, especially the right tackle. However, with no proven depth at offensive tackle, Fluker will need to live up to the hype of a no. 11 overall draft pick to help keep his quarterback upright. Even an average year of pass protection would be a breath of fresh air for this offensive line.
The Alabama rookie will also be pivotal to the running game of San Diego as well. As he has already shown in the preseason, his massive frame and mauling ability should pave the way for whoever is running the ball behind him. Running the ball will be extremely important for a team learning a new offense.
A secret superstar in 2012, Reyes was very impressive down the stretch. Even though he was one dimensional, (a much better pass-rusher than run stopper) that one dimension is very important. Especially with the defense losing Melvin Ingram for at least most of the season, someone other than Dwight Freeney will need to get to the quarterback. Fellow defensive end Corey Liuget is set to have a breakout year, but the depth at the position is very thin. If Reyes continues to improve, the Chargers will have one of the best 3-4 defensive end combos in the NFL. If not, I'm not sure there is anyone on the roster than can step up in his place.
Similar to Reyes, Wright is a promising young player at a position without much depth. After replacing Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer with Wright and veteran Derek Cox, the Chargers front office (and I) believe that they upgraded their starting corners from 2012. Fans have been calling for Wright to get more playing time since, well, the day he was drafted in 2011. He has shown in a small sample size that he can be an effective cover corner and has the potential to be a very good player.
It's no fun to play this game again, but if Wright does struggle, who would be able to take over? William Middleton? New Orleans castoff and double-concussion corner Johnny Patrick? Especially with rookie Steve Williams' season ending before it began, the Chargers can ill afford to have Shareece Wright fall short of expectations.
More from Bolts From The Blue:
- Gennaro-ly Speaking: Previewing the 49ers-Chargers game, Chargers roster cuts
- The San Diego Chargers will have the worst record in the NFL
- The San Diego Chargers will win the Super Bowl
- Chargers vs. 49ers preseason 2013: Who to watch in the fourth quarter?
- 49ers at Chargers 2013 preseason: Game time, TV schedule, online streaming and more