I’ve already covered the free agent pick-ups, the youngsters who need to step it up and the rookies, next we move onto the leaders and vets we have entrusted in for the past several years. Who do you want to see kick major butt as the Chargers march into the 2013 season?
Philip Rivers – Rivers has come off back to back terrible seasons, with the addition of Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt and with new weapons in Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen, imagine a healthy Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews and a returning explosive Danario Alexander, Rivers finally has the right coaches and right players at his disposal. This can make for one incredible comeback year for Philip. If the o-line gels and dominates with the addition of Max Stark, Rivers could spread the field thin, wear down defenses and target any of his acrobatic wide receivers, beastly tight ends or pass catching running backs.
Antonio Gates – At age 32, Gates might not have a lot left to offer. Nevertheless, this is Antonio Gates and teams will be very much aware of what he’s capable of doing when the ball comes his way. Gates believes he has plenty of gas left in the tank he’ll be set out to prove it. This could be a comeback season, much like Rivers’. With the new offensive scheme and McCoy’s ability to milk a player’s unique skill set to their advantage this might be a season for Gates to have a better showing.
Eric Weddle – Clearly, the best player on the team! The ever reliable Weddle continues to shine in an underperforming backfield. Hopefully, with the addition of Derek Cox and the coming out party of Marcus Gilchrist, Weddle can have some of the attention diverted from him and make it another interception party every Sunday. Weddle, has leadership, hardly ever misses a tackle and is consistently making huge plays. He can make this defense extremely exciting when given the chance. He is undoubtedly the best at his position.
Donald Butler – The Assassin! Donald Butler may have found a partner in crime in rookie Manti Te’o, which should alleviate the void left by Takeo Spikes’ departure. With a little help, Butler can continue to wreck havoc on the field. Butler learned from one of the best, a true leader in Spikes. Now it’s time for Butler to become the leader. Word has been passed around that the front office is working on a contract extension, a reflection of Donald’s value to the team.
Malcom Floyd – It will definitely be a challenge for Floyd to finally record his first 1,000 yard season, with DX, Vincent Brown and Allen crowding the field. What is respectable about Floyd is how humble he has been, slowly moving up the ranks and being dedicated to the Chargers for all these years which earned him a contract extension through 2015. He may be asked to take a step back if either Brownie or Allen plays a bigger role, nevertheless, Floyd has always been a reliable target to Philip and will continue getting plenty of looks.
This is the list of reliable long-time Chargers ready to play next season. Who are you excited to see in lighting bolts on opening day?