I can't help but notice the rampant optimism among Chargers fans this off season. They have every right to be optimistic: they bring back Phillip Rivers, an up and coming quarterback who had really good games and some really bad ones. Shawn Merriman, who is a sack artist when he's juicing and even when he's not; and of course MVP LaDainian Tomlinson. But as I heard Pat Kirwan say on NFL radio, "In the NFL, if your not getting 15% better every year, you getting worse."
I ask this question: Before the draft, How did the Chargers make themselves better this off season?
To start with, they lost both of their coordinators to head coaching jobs in other places. I still can't figure out why one of the two wasn't promoted to head coach if they were planning on canning marty. Both went to very high profile jobs, especially Wade. Then they lose their Linbackers coach to the 49ers. They bring in Ron Rivera from the Bears to be a Linbackers coach? Wasn't he a hot candidate to be a head coach somewhere. They also bring in Cotrel to be the D coordinator. He's been out of football a few years. It seems to me the Raiders brought in a Coach last year who was out of football a few years. That worked out really well, for about 5 minutes. Perhaps the most ingenious aspect of AJ Smith's offseason was waiting until all of the bad coaches had been scooped up by other teams to fire his head coach, and bring in a super star coach like Norv Turner. I mean, his record speaks for it's self; 58-82-1, foks thats a sizzling 41% on the career. Bet Norv wishes he could have that tie back; that would bump him to 42%. In all fairness Norv previously inherited really bad teams in the Raiders and Redskins. But the Chargers weren't so hot when Marty came in, and look what he did. Thats not to say these offseason coaching moves don't have some benefit. Marty was a pitiful 5-14 (not totally sure on that but its nort far off and it's not good) in the playoffs. Ahh Hah, thats why they chose Norv, in nine years of head coaching he's been to the playoffs once, he even won a wild card game, before losing. To AJ, as the Guiness puppets would say "BRILLIANT".
Well maybe San Diego did better in free agency, with needs at wide reciever and in the secondary, they resigned Dielman, and thats pretty much it as far as additions. To their credit, Donnie Edwards was set to come back and lead the team in tackles, cover the opposing teams tight end or running back, and be the heart of the defense for the 7th straight year, but with plenty of cap room they kicked him to the doorstep of a division rival. The Chargers also had a white trading piece in Michael Turner. Instead of getting value for him, and i imagine they could have gotten something really good, the signed him to a one year deal and will probably lose him next year. I could go for pages gushing about their personnel moves, oh wait they didn't make any.
To address their needs they drafted an undersized wide reciever and a small school safety. Don't get me wrong, I really wanted Weddle for my team, but rookie safeties don't usually come in and pick off 5 balls and with the exception of Marques Colston, wide recievers don't come in and re write the record books, especially small ones.
The Chargers had a fantastic regular season last year but remember that they played a third place schedule. Tennessee, Buffalo, and the Browns, plus the fearsome NFC west. It showed in their playoff collapse. They should have won that game but made very costly mistakes. This year they get to step up and play with the big boys for an entire season.
The Chargers are a surefire lock, sure fire lock to dissapoint, sure fire lock to underachieve.