“Chargers Preview-Rooting For or Against”
Opening weekend of the NFL season, with emotions in San Diego ranging between empty and angry over the loss of our NFL team to Los Angeles.
The Chargers open up Monday night against the Broncos up there, a place that has been a nightmare for San Diego to play in.
With rare exception did the Bolts ever win up there. An odd win for Dan Fouts. The opening day Stan Humprhries win in the Chargers Super Bowl season, but more so in the Philip Rivers era.
Rivers is (6-5) all time in Denver, though his team has lost 3-in a row there recently.
In what has become a bitter rivalry, Denver has dominated in the Mile High City (40-17-1) vs the Bolts dating back to the AFL era. In the overall series, the Broncos lead (64-50-1).
That’s all history. What counts is now.
New coaches, Anthony Lynn, who worked under some pretty good people, Bill Walsh and Bill Parcells included. The Broncos first game under Vance Joseph, who built his reputation as a bright light defensive coordinator. He is backed by special coordinators, in Ken Whisenhunt and Gus Bradley, both with strong track records as assistants, though both failed as head coaches. Grade them a (B) to start.
The Bolts are loaded on offense, with Rivers, running back Mevin Gordon, a plethora of wide receivers, paced by the return to health of Keenan Allen, with the growth of Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry, complimenting the greatness of Antonio Gates, and the hope Travis Benjamin can make big plays for all 16-games..And we will await the arrival of Clemson WR-Mike Williams-sometime in early October, as an add on toe the arsenal. Rate the skill position players (A)
The offensive line is in flux. Russell Okung has a history of injuries at left tackle. They paid him big money, much like they did on Jared Gaither, King Dunlop and Orlando Franklin. It never worked out. This better. Joe Barksdale is coming off a poor season. Matt Slauson has moved to guard. Newcomers will start the other spots. The backup have hardly played. Till they prove themselves, rate this group (C)
This defense has a new leader in Gus Bradley. The front four could be fierce, with the pass rushers off the edge, Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, and the run stuffers inside Corey Luiget and Brandon Mebane. But there is no proven depth at all. Rate this group of starters (A).
The linebackers will be the big question mark. No Denzel Perryman with the ankle injury. An oft-injured Jerry Attaochu. 3rd year starter Kyle Emanuel. After that, plug in guys, street free agents, and young developing rookies. Kory Toomer and Jatavis Brown no longer excite me. I saw the act a year ago. Till they prove themselves, grade them (D).
The secondary is fast and physical, but this was not a good defense last year. Casey Hawyard had a strong bounce back year after leaving the Packers. Jason Verrett has gifts but a history of injuries. Jahleel Addae is a solid safety. Tre Boston becomes the starter, but if he was so good, how come Carolina let him walk. Kids make up the rest, but they have played well in spots. Watch the group grow.. The wildcard in the bunch could be the new coordinator, Gus Bradley, and how fast he can get them to play his defense. Grade them a (B).
Special Teams has been a disaster. We shall see what the new coaching staff has, but you have an untested kicker, an erratic punter, and history of failures in the return game. The team is also without key special team coverage guys. Till the new guys show us, start them off with a (D).
The schedule is favorable early, with those 3-home games in a row. But they face the third toughest schedule in the NFL, and face the best big arms in the NFL. They will be a playoff team by October lst, or could be out of the playoffs by October 15th too.
This will be hard to watch this season, our team, playing up in LA.
You’d root for the greatness of Rivers, player and person, to take this team deep into the playoffs, maybe go (10-6).
But I don’t know anyone in the community who can forgive Dean Spanos for what he did to 56-years of loyalty in the city, by moving for a big payday. (0-16) would treat him right.
Letter grade on paper, as they go on the field (2.7)…a B-minus, and that’s without counting injuries, which I don’t think they can survive this time around.
What kind of season they going to have? I project (8-8). And you?