manti

Last year: 7-9, second place in AFC West

Acquisitions: Dwight Freeney, D.J. Fluker, Manti Te’o, Danny Woodhead, King Dunlap, Max Starks, Derek Cox

Departures: Quentin Jammer, Atari Bigby, Antwan Barnes, Louis Vasquez, Shaun Phillips, Danario Alexander (injury)

Vegas win total over/under: 7 1/2 wins

Verdict: UNDER

(via Getty Image)


Five encouraging things about Mike McCoy:

- He’s not Norv Turner.

- He has an offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt, who is also not Norv Turner.

- Unlike Norv Turner, he is no longer counting on Charlie Whitehurst to relay plays to Philip Rivers.

- He was did a good job of being Peyton Manning’s offensive coordinator last year, which basically means he knows how to dress himself and stand quietly out of the way.

- His love of visors may fool some into thinking the Chargers hired a skinny version of Chip Kelly.

Fan forecast, by kommenter Low Commander of the Super Soldiers:

The Derptastic Duo of Norv Turner and AJ Smith have finally been given the boot that they have so justifiably earned from America’s Finest City. While AJ’s beginnings were met with enthusiasm from many Chargers fans like myself, it only took a short while for that to change. What started with the draft of 2004, ended with what you see before you today; A Collection of Meh. This is because, while AJ knew how to draft players, he had no idea what to do after that. From 2001-2010, no team had drafted more Pro Bowl players than the Chargers, with a total of twelve. Great players like Michael Turner, Drew Brees, Vincent Jackson, all lost in free agency without anything in return. AJ Smith is the NFL GM equivalent of the writers of Lost: he may have some very valuable ideas on how to get started, gets all the needed talent, has the location, and entices you with a few seasons of wonder, but has no clue what to do with it afterwards and it all crumbles apart at the end, leaving you angry and confused as to why you invested so much time into watching.

Norv Turner on the other hand, is a head coach I would only wish on a very select few teams in the NFL. The so called “Offensive Guru” initially brought in some fresh plans in 2007, leading a crippled team to the AFC Championship in Foxborough, but then proceeded to ruin the productivity of LT with his patented “run up the middle and fall down” play every first and/or second down, and then would bank on Philip Rivers ability to throw the ball up to receivers who were upwards of 6″4′ and hope they came down with it. Last month, Norv told the media that Trent Richardson would get 300 caries this season. What he left out though, was that each run would be up the middle for 2 yards. If AJ had the Bellichickian type stones that he desired so badly, he would have insisted that Norv be fired in 2009, after losing to the fucking Jets at home in the Divisional Round, much like he did with Marty in 2006, except replace Jets with Pats and note that our owner hated Marty too. Instead, he was inconsistent with his scorn as always and became comfortable with ol’ Gobble Neck, mostly because he didn’t fight back when AJ made horrible decisions, and we all know the rest of that story.

BUT, that is all behind us now. Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy are the new kids in town, and I am excited to see what they can do with my previously mentioned “Collection of Meh”. Telesco got off to a solid start with a promising draft back in April (on paper), as well as the free agent signings of Danny Woodhead (GRITTY SPROLES), Derek Cox and Dwight Freeney, but has also proceeded to lose a group of veterans that I felt were an important part of the team. The most notable of them, Louis Vasquez (the only O-Lineman worth talking about), Shaun Phillips (2012 team sack leader) and Quentin Jammer (who we asked to move from CB to SS this season, but refused), have now all signed with the Broncos, in what I am 90% sure is an effort just to piss me off. Important note: the day after Jammer signed with Denver, he was doing safety drills in practice.

rage

Anyway, of the 2013 draft class so far, Te’o is all but assured to get a starting position at ILB. I really have no idea what to expect out of him this season, as he has been extremely quiet with the media. What I do know is that I have seen droves of women at team practices clambering to get a view of him and loudly expressing their desire to “see his butt.” With Danario Alexander now tearing his ACL last Tuesday, 3rd round pick Kennan Allen will probably see some playing time sooner than expected, but has so far failed to beat Eddie Royal in the depth chart. First round pick DJ Fluker, who scouts described as the “ultimate run blocking tackle, but needs serious pass blocking improvement” has successfully been responsible for tearing 2012 1st round pick Melvin Ingram’s ACL, and briefly injuring Dwight Freeney’s knee right after he signed. Otherwise, he seems to have had a good camp so far and will likely start at RT ahead of Mike Harris.

Speaking of injuries, Ryan Mathews amazingly hasn’t been hurt yet, despite having his bones being made of potato chips. If he manages to stay healthy, maybe the Chargers can have more than 1 rushing touchdown this season! We all know that Ronnie Brown has been largely useless since we signed him, and the fact that he is still on the roster really stresses how awful our running attack is. Danny Woodhead is going to be the most productive player in the backfield this year, and will likely be a steal in some of the mid-late rounds of your draft, especially if Mathews goes down for any period of time. The offense will be feeding him screens and tosses outside all season and I expect him to get some redzone carries as well.

Be cautious when deciding on drafting Antonio Gates this season. While he has been healthy from his Plantar Fascia for some time now, he has lost a half-step and seems to be having trouble with his separation over the middle at times. Gates will get his looks and scores, but he will likely be a feast or famine TE. The rest of the receiving corps without Alexander are a hodgepodge of number 2′s and 3′s. Despite breaking his leg in the 2nd week of preseason last year, Vincent Brown will be the deep threat going forward. The SDSU alum will have to try and replace Vincent Jackson and could factor into fantasy relevancy when Rivers decides to go for a long FLOATDOWN. Malcolm Floyd will continue to be the go-to “critical sideline catch machine”, and will receive the bulk of Rivers targets when Jeromey Clary misses his tenth block of the game and makes him scramble for his life. You should already know this, but stay the hell away from Robert Meachem. He was responsible for quite a few or Rivers interceptions last year and has been clueless about his routes since coming to San Diego.

One of the few reasons to not drink myself into a coma this year is the overall outlook on the defense. Eric Weddle is going to be the undoubted defensive leader this season with the departures of Takeo “Yuuuuuuge Neck” Spikes, Shaun Phillips, and Antonio Garay. The defensive line should the best in the AFC West, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you look at Kendal Reyes and Corey Liguit and don’t get at least a little bit excited, something may be wrong with you. These are two names to really keep an eye on this year. I know Fetus Head and [insert Raiders QB name here] will. The linebacker core should be fairly solid as well, but I am concerned with their depth due to the season ending injuries already sustained by previously mentioned Melvin Ingram and Jonas Mouton. Donald Butler is going to have to make this group his own and hope that they step up. The secondary… Well, the secondary may cause me buy a fifth of bourbon for each game… Aside from Weddle, this unit has not proven a god damn thing. I would have liked to see University of Jah back there for another season, if for entertainment purposes alone, but losing Antonie Cason is only a plus. It is now full of bunch of young players who really need to learn fast, but if they can be even middle of the pack against the pass, this defensive unit will be a top 10 defense.

This brings us to the abstinent elephant in the room of Philip Rivers. In my mind, his recent decline has been due to the horrific O-line in front of him, the all around terribleness of one Norval Turner, and just trying to do too much himself. I still think of him as having the ability to be a top tier quarterback and his durability is without question after playing on a torn ACL in 2007. Mike McCoy has been extremely successful working with much more terrible of passers, and if he found a way to get to a Super Bowl with Jake Delhomme, I’m convinced he could do it with Jeff Garcia, much less Philip Rivers. That being said, the line doesn’t look to have improved much at all, so this is going to be unlikely, and result in me screaming at Clary once again. As such, I foresee that this could be Rivers last 1-2 years as a Charger unless he shows decent improvement. Telesco would be smart to try and trade him before his contract expires in 2016 and avoid pulling another AJ move of getting nothing from high value players. Much like Brees, I could see Philip going to a team that has been rebuilding, has a good O-line in place and allows him to be successful. Unless he goes to the Browns, because 1. Norv Turner, and 2. Cleveland.

All-in-all, I think the best case scenario for this team has them going 9-7 and praying to Jebus that a Wild Card spot is available there Of course, this scenario does call for Peyton’s robotic neck to no longer be able to support his money melon sized forehead before week 6, but I think that is something we can all root for. Some fans think that we have officially entered rebuilding mode, but I’m a little more optimistic than that. There might be a little dive in our wins over the next year or two, but I don’t expect this team to completely crumble to a 4 win team in the foreseeable future. McCoy brings with himself a very good resume and we could be competitive again shortly There are very few things I want in life more than a Super Bowl, but as long as we beat the Raiders twice a year, stay competitive in our crappy division and keep this team in San Diego, I will consider this season a success.

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