Jul 26, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy and quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during training camp at Chargers Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


Ray Lewis, Joe Montana, John Elway what do these guys have in common? They believed in their teams and believed in the abilities of the guys next to them, they rallied and won championships. The title says it all, we must believe! New head coach Mike McCoy has been reshaping the way our Chargers players think, play and react. The team will pull together in the coming weeks and hit the battlefield during exposition games. What will make or break this season isn’t based on talent alone but the leadership of this team winning the games for one another. Here are a few of the guys who will have to be the voice, the strength and the heart of the team to play as a team.

5) Darrell Stuckey – Our Special Teams ace and captain. Football is a three phase game and the Chargers know that better than anyone else as we were the doorstep to most of our 2010 opponents. First in offense, first in defense but it didn’t matter as we were walked upon on special teams. Stuckey will need to remind his special teams players they play a pivotal role, what they do sets the tone for every play thereafter.

4) Nick Hardwick – The only returning offensive lineman at his original spot. The offensive line is a gelling unit, everyone must be on the same page, one loose cannon, one bad start, one false move and the problems start to show. McCoy is hard at work to pin down the best five guys, it will then be Hardwick to hold them together and redeem a confidence that’s been lacking since the days of Kris Dielman and Marcus McNeil.

3) Donald Butler – It’s time! Butler has been groomed from one of the best in Takeo Spikes, not only as a player but as a person. Butler has been taking the bull by the horns and teaching a very impressionable Manti Te’o. Te’o has referred to Butler as an older brother figure, that’s the kind of stuff I like to hear! Cohesive and brotherhood will go a long way. Shaun Phillips and Spikes are gone and Jarrett Johnson has never truly been a vocal inspiration, we haven’t heard loud barking since Shawne Merriman was Shawne Merriman, now would be the perfect time to hear battle cries from our defense!

2) Eric Weddle – Eric Weddle is the best safety in the NFL. The best safety in the NFL is a San Diego Charger. With the departure of Quentin Jammer and Shaun Phillips, Weddle is now the longest active Charger on defense. He is a very influential player, being the best safety in the NFL and the longest active Charger indicates that many defenders, veterans and rookies alike will be looking towards him for inspiration and guidance. If Weddle doesn’t motivate, the entire defense could suffer, if Weddle does excite the entire defense will potentially roar.

1) Philip Rivers – The captain, Philip Rivers. This used to be Ladainian Tomlinson’s team, he was clearly the captain and steered us from being a bottom of the barrel team to legitimate contenders. Tomlinson restored hope after the Ryan Leaf bust and Leaf’s empty promises of Superbowl parades through the streets of downtown San Diego. Tomlinson carried this team and once LT was done he passed the torch to Rivers to carry this team. Philip Rivers did a fine job from playing in an AFC Championship game without an ACL, throwing to 17 receivers in a single season most of which were unknown players to never having thrown more than two interceptions in a game until he was the age of 30. If he can play confidently, get back up and thrive after every bad play and rely on his natural instincts to play relentless and gritty football that will trickle down to everyone else under his command.

There has been a clear sense of redeemed hope amongst San Diego Chargers players and fans. I will be the first to admit that this time last year I had already looked at the Chargers roster and checked out the rest of the way. Friends and critics all around were already judging an 8-8 season. This year, it’s been different, although the experts are still indicating the San Diego Chargers will struggle, the renewed faith that our team is in a better place is already telling of what’s to come. Dean Spanos did the right thing by turning over the regime, scouting the country for the best possible general manager and head coach and invigorating the finest city in the world. Believe, that’s the first step to a dynasty led by Philip Rivers, Eric Weddle and company.

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  • PakMaN

    I can’t effin wait! #boltup #onecharge

  • veazy

    I would like to see Stuckey get a chance to be more than just a ST player. Everyone seems to forget about him for some reason though.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      agree with that. heard he was getting some time in the nickel.. which is good

  • Mark G

    I love that picture. No excuses, no song and dance, just football at its best. That is what I see in McCoy – and what we have seen in Rivers. Together they will fight to win. As you said of Butler, “It’s Time!”. No prima donnas as Gates said in the past. Hard work and and a well deserved celebration for The Bolts and their fans.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      No prima donnas is right! There were wholesale changes that needed to be made, and kept getting pushed back. Some of them weren’t popular, and were tough to make. Some of them were no brainers. But, the fact that they hadn’t already been made is evidence that things were grossly mismanaged. I am so thankful that Tom Telesco came in, and did what had to be done, without paying too much attention to the backlash from fans. When he gave DX the vet-minimum, I thought fans were going to lose their gawd dang minds, saying what a huge mistake it was. I was just chuckling. That let me know he is dead serious about getting this team rolling again! These players now have the opportunity to lead the team, without being handicapped by poor management decisions.

  • arnie

    As fans either were going all in, or we’re going to continue to allow what aj/norv have done, to hold back our expectations. For me, they are gone. The promises of “things will be better” were empty and have left with them. The new regime has actually “shown” things are different. and that is all i wanted asa fan. Proof things have changed, and the results have been, ” they are better”.
    Great article Jonah. sometimes i have to be reminded, there is more to football than X’s an O’s.

    • Nick in PB

      Props to that!

  • Bill Nichols

    Love the new ‘tude, the regime has given all of us. Players, fans, beat writers (at least those here), it is so refreshing. I do get sick and tired of reading post on the Chargers official site however of fans still calling for Rivers’ head, and thinking that we will never be a contender until we draft a new QB. Bullshit I say, and anyone who thinks that, doesn’t know squat about football. Cannot freaking wait til we get this party started!! Bolt Up, up, and awayyyyyyy!!!

  • josh_leon

    I can say will full confidence that I BIELVE. I hope this can all transfer over to the stadium.That when opponets come onto our field they feel that they are not only facing the Chargers. They’re facing the charger fans as well. Prove that we have our teams back and we’re a force to be reckoned with. BOLT UP

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  • Nick in PB

    Football is part physical and part mental. Almost every team in the NFL can compete physically, with the exception of those lacking a good QB. What separates the men from the boys is the mental aspect of the game. In the mental part of it, there is attitude, willingness and preparation. And most importantly, belief. If you believe you can win, it’s much easier to do it. That’s something that was up and down, and usually pointing down, with the last regime. McCoy has the right attitude and so will the team. Go Bolts!

  • Adam

    The San Diego Chargers must believe,
    It is only then that a championship they will receive.
    This all starts with #17,
    Throwin the rock and gettin mad TD’s.
    Then we need our D to be a crew,
    This all starts with #32.
    Flyin around the ball with his keen perception,
    Racking up those interceptions.
    Our D’s gotta be tough, we don’t need no Jay Cutlar,
    We need someone more like Donald Butler.
    Shuttin down the run and cammanding the show,
    Along with his partner Hawaii 5-0.
    But talk is cheap,
    It all starts with belief,
    Time to smash the Broncs Radiers and Chiefs.
    To accomplish our goals,
    Determination must show,
    This is the only path to the Super Bowl.

    • Joel

      Love it now we need POD to rap that with their song Boom for a half time show

  • http://boltbeat.com/ ChargerGirl Cindi

    Damn skippy. Our Bolts are due for some magic. #IBelieve