Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones (82) looks to get around San Diego Chargers defensive back Jahleel Addae (37) during first quarter of the AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

How Good Can The Chargers Be In 2014?


After an offseason that has flown under the national radar so far, the question on the minds of all Chargers fans is – how much have they improved, and how good can the Chargers be in 2014?

I’ve reached an age in life where I’m no longer willing to predict the Super Bowl for my team after a decent offseason, nor the first pick in the draft after a mediocre one. I tend to temper my expectations with cold analytics, dispassionate comparisons to the competition, and a harsh eye towards areas where my team excelled in the previous year and they should be expected to regress towards the mean in the upcoming season. As an example, I had little hope for success for the Chargers in any of Norv Turner’s final 3 seasons at the helm. I’ve taken the same approach to the divisional opponents of the Bolts – for instance, I thought the Chiefs were overrated last year, and during the latter years of the Shanahan regime I thought the Broncos suffered from overreliance on aging safeties and Shanahan’s ego regarding running backs. That said, I think that after the draft and free agency, Bolts fans have several reasons for optimism. The question is, how will this translate into wins, and how good will the Chargers be in 2014?

Let’s look first at what most of us recognize as the biggest weakness of the Chargers over the past several years, the secondary. This offseason, Tom Telesco has taken the thinnest unit on the team and added quality depth. Brandon Flowers fits John Pagano’s off-man scheme well, and has a track record of success. It’s not hard to imagine him returning to his ball-hawking, Pro Bowl form after an off year in a system that didn’t fit his skill set. He’s also strongly motivated by a one year, prove-it contract that he hopes will lead to a long term deal on the market after this season. Motivation won’t be hard to find as he gets to face his old team twice a year. Even if he turns in an unspectacular, workmanlike performance this year, that will be an upgrade for a secondary that finished near the bottom of the league. Additionally, the Chargers added quality depth via the draft and free agency. Jason Verrett is another good fit for the scheme, and will provide playmaking ability whether he becomes the #2 CB or the slot CB. Whether Shareece Wright starts or becomes part of the rotation, he still provides quality depth while not being relied upon being out on the #1 CB island. I like the signing of Brandon Ghee for depth, and Steve Williams will have another opportunity to win playing time after returning from injury. The safeties should be better in 2014, barring injury. Eric Weddle is clearly one of the best in the league, and Marcus Gilchrist has another year of experience under his belt. Darrell Stuckey and Jahleel Addae need to show improvement and consistency, but overall the safety position seems like it will benefit from healthy competition among improving young players.

Here’s the bottom line: If the secondary can improve to merely average, that’s a marked improvement and will benefit this team greatly. The Chargers lost 3 games in 2013 that were a direct result of defensive breakdowns late in the game – Houston, Tennessee and Washington. Reversing two of those three losses would have put them ahead of Kansas City in the division.

The perennial search for a consistent pass rush is another factor that, if solved, will relieve the pressure on a beleaguered secondary. This unit, however, remains more of a question mark. Bolts fans are crossing their fingers that Dwight Freeney can return from injury and return to form at age 34. He’s said all the right things, and has the character and track record to back up his desire to win in San Diego. It’s a wait and see situation to determine if he has anything left in the tank. Regarding the rest of the outside linebackers, there is a lot of depth, but it remains to be seen if that will be quality depth. Jarrett Johnson and Melvin Ingram are returning from injury. Johnson is more of a run stuffer than a pass rusher. I’m more optimistic than most on the potential of Ingram, but he definitely has a lot to prove coming into camp this summer. Cordarro Law was an intriguing signing – keep an eye on whether his skill set translates to the NFL. Overall, this is a group that needs to improve but may not have the horses to do so.

The defense will be looking to build on a huge turnaround after December 1 last year – 17.4 ppg allowed over the last 7 games, including two high powered opponents on the road in the playoffs.This turnaround was centered on significantly better secondary play, as the stats bear out:

BY MONTH SOLO AST TOT SACK YDSL TLOSS PD INT YDS LONG TD FF REC TD BK
September 215 63 278 9.0 70 3 16 1 0 0 0 3 1 0 0
October 140 36 176 11.0 78 2 8 2 28 26 0 2 0 0 0
November 207 49 256 9.0 59 10 14 3 17 17 1 2 2 0 2
December 256 71 327 6.0 41 19 24 5 98 41 0 4 3 0 0

stats courtesy of ESPN

Notice that the Chargers had 5 interceptions in December alone, compared to 6 total interceptions from September through November. This was followed up by 4 more interceptions against Andy Dalton and Peyton Manning in two playoff games. Two other things jump out – a big dropoff in sacks, but a big increase in tackles for loss. This indicates a relative lack of production from the outside linebackers, but improved effort everywhere else. The offseason moves made by the Chargers have doubled down on this focus on the secondary, so look for this trend to continue in 2014.

If Pagano can build on that late season momentum and develop the quality depth added to the secondary, there’s no reason to believe that last year’s 9-7 couldn’t be transformed to 11-5. Looking at the 2014 schedule, the Chargers don’t face a truly scary opposing offense until Denver in Week 8. The defense will have an early opportunity to gel, which will help if the offense takes time to start humming. However, the schedule, overall, is more difficult.

So how good can the Chargers be in 2014? Based on the tougher 2014 schedule, it’s reasonable to assume that 8 or 9 wins is the floor for this team. If the gods of football smile upon the Bolts, the ceiling can be much higher.

 

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Tags: Chargers Dwight Freeney Eric Weddle Free Agency Jahleel Addae Melvin Ingram Nfl Offseason San Diego Chargers Tom Telesco

  • Marcel West-Bailey

    9-7. Not that we didn’t get better because we did (on paper. How we play remains to be seen). However the schedule is much more difficult. Last year’s schedule with this team, we don’t have to wait until the last game to make the playoffs. This year’s schedule, I’m thinking wild card again or just out unless we play ridiculously better.

    • LT1800

      I think the Chiefs regress, and the Bolts can challenge for the division. They face a couple of tough defenses in the first half, but like I said, the first scary offense isn’t until week 8 at Denver. They have a chance to get off to a fast start before the meat of the schedule hits.

      • Marcel West-Bailey

        I can see the Chiefs being a little worse. I think when I went through the schedule I had us split the games. I mentioned it earlier I think it’s difficult to really see how many games we’ll win or lose because of fluke losses. Take Oakland, Tennessee, Houston, Washington or Miami. I think we could have won all of those games had we not screwed things up late but you get those sometimes. The thing is, I don’t see any fluke wins in here either. I think we’ll split with Denver again. Maybe a win against Baltimore but that’s about it.

    • Gunnar Martin

      If we continue to play up to the level of our competition (which I would normally DESPISE, but not with this extremely tough schedule), we will probably go 10, maybe 11 wins. Has anybody figured out why we play SO much better against the better teams yet?

      • Marcel West-Bailey

        See I don’t see us winning against any of the NFC West teams unless it’s the Rams. But of course there are going to be those fluke losses like Oakland, Tennessee, and Miami (I think) last year. So those have to be taken into account opposed to going down the list and seeing which teams we can beat. But to answer your question I think it’s mentality. I’m from Miami so I’m a Heat fan. My first football game when I was like 13 I saw the Chargers play the Dolphins and LT ran all over them so that’s when I was like “I like that guy”. So that’s how I became a Chargers fan but back to the Heat story. When we play good teams, all the emotions are there. In Miami we wear all white during some games, it’s nationally televised, and you like competing against the best. So naturally we would bring our A game. But when a shitty team comes to town like…Philly, none of the Heat players really care. “Oh we don’t have to play hard to win because they suck.” They probably don’t say that but it’s a mental thing. But the 76ers don’t feel that way. They get all hyped because they’re playing the Heat. So that’s why good teams get beat by shittier teams, in my opinion.

        • Gunnar Martin

          Makes sense. Hopefully the better teams will keep underestimating us again this season.

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            Exactly and hopefully we don’t underestimate other teams again.

        • Robert Fairbanks

          My son attended San Diego State and had classes with Kawhi Leonard, who owned that Lebron (whats his face) and won the MVP while helping his Spurs smoke the Heat for the Championship. We would welcome you to the Chargers family, jump on board!

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            1. Screw Kawhi Leonard. lol LeBron had no help. They should have called the team the Miami Cavaliers
            2. I’m already family lol twice removed on Philip Rivers’s cousin’s side lol I have actually told him that story about how I became a fan. He enjoyed it.

          • Robert Fairbanks

            I can see you are more than peeved about the outcome of the games. You would not say that about Kawhi if played for YOUR team. If you are that close to the Rivers family perhaps you can score game tickets?

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            Lol no. I don’t know his family. I just know his physical therapist. I’ve been to a few chargers games but u really want to go to one at the Q. That’d be great

          • Sergio Quintero

            How concerned are the Heat fans that Lebron leaves for another team, all signs point to him coming back, and the Heat might get Wade & Bosh to take pay cuts.

            But Lebron has left a franchise before, so no guarantees.

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            It depends on which fans you talk to. Most of us that have been into basketball for a while don’t think he’s going anywhere. Pat Riley is one of the best execs in the NBA and he isn’t going let the off season go by and not improve the team which is what LeBron wants. I read that Wade and Bosh are opting out. Wade isn’t going anywhere but Bosh might go which gives us the flexibility to sign a big FA under the 63 million dollar ish salary cap. But I don’t think he’s going anywhere either. What I expect is exactly what you said; pay cuts. I know there’s interest in Kyle Lowry from Toronto so that is a plug in the Wade decline and we can still go out and find a decent big man

          • jeremy

            i would die to meet philip. He’s my favorite player of all time, no joke. You are a lucky son of a gun to be related!!

          • Jamie Reno

            Jeremy, Philip Rivers should have the NFL MVP last season, not peyton manning. check this out. http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2013/12/philip-rivers-not-peyton-manning-should.html

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            I’m not related lol his physical therapist in Huntsville Alabama and I are friends and he introduced me since Rivers is from Decatur, a neighboring city.

          • Robert Fairbanks

            All you have to do is come to fan appreciation day. OR come to one of the “open” practice dates in Murphy Canyon. or Go to the boosters club luncheon; I got cured real fast – the last one I attended I took my son (he was little then) and he got to meet Ryan Leaf and we had to confront Jr. out in the hall as he was sneaking out to hop in the limo.

        • Sergio Quintero

          I think the chargers can upset the Cardinals, Arizona’s leaky ILB situation can be exploited especially in the first game of the season, having truly inexperienced ILBs in the first game, can be exploited by a team committed to the running game, and an experience QB that can audible to a truly damaging play. Here’s hoping

          • Jamie Reno

            good analysis, sergio. i agree with you. but i’m not sure the chargers beating the cardinals is an “upset.” san diego made the playoffs last season and won a playoff game on the road. arizona had one more regular season win but did not make the playoffs. anyway, check out this preview of the 2014 bolts. http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2014/06/san-diego-chargers-2014-preview-nfls.html

          • Sergio Quintero

            Nice analysis, do you have more stuff on the chargers, I used to post on this site but I just can’t seem to find the time.

            Hope to see more articles from you in the future.

          • Jamie Reno
          • Nick in PB

            Love it Jamie! That’s what I want to see, someone that is paying attention. The anaysis is spot on. I like the fact that we are under the radar by the national media. You wonder if the other teams are paying attention? Are we building a fan base in Reno? Keep those articles coming!

          • Jamie Reno

            thanks nick! i think other teams are paying closer attention than the media. but even other teams i think are underestimating the chargers this pre-seaason.

          • Nick in PB

            Let’s keep it that way! Especially the mighty NFC West! I’m sure they hardly worry about teams outside of their division.

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            Don’t forget they play in the NFC. The obviously better conference. And take a look at their losses. St. Louis (scary D line), New Orleans (Drew Brees and co.) San Fran twice (obvious reasons), Seattle (obvious reasons) and Philly. They seriously could have gone undefeated with the schedule we had last year. Do not sleep on the Cards.

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

            Yeah… we all saw what having a leaky ILB situation did to us last season… Bront Bird… ugh….

          • jeremy

            Oh boy. What was it 24-17 Denver 3rd down and 13? And bront made sure he didn’t cover a soul

          • Gunnar Martin

            I believe it was 3rd and 17. Sorry to rub it in. Believe me, I’m hurt by it just as much as you are.

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

            Lol… total nightmare. Wasn’t he awful in the opener against the Texans, as well? I seem remember cringing a lot, And cursing the day he was born that night.
            =/

          • Sergio Quintero

            I expect a big game from the running backs, in particular Woodhead will have a major mismatch in the passing game.

            I’m on record for 10-6 and I have them winning against the Cardinals.

          • jeremy

            Upset? The chargers are at the level if not slightly better than the cardinals. The cardinals won 10 games last year but don’t forget the chargers lost at Washington and tennesse by one fluke play. They were a 11-5 or at worst 10-6 team last year. Yes the cardinals play in the NFc west but the afc west is no cake walk either. I think the Arizona game will be a good one but I see Rivers picking them apart especially with their Ilb situation and the fact that the honey badger will not be back for the opener. Oh yea and Carson palmer is their QB. There’s a couple picks for us by default

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            Don’t sleep on the Cards man. They stay competitive in the best division in football by far. That secondary is crazy good. And home to arguably the best cornerback in football. They still have Fitz and Floyd and I think they signed Ginn this off season. Not to mention Carson Palmer isn’t a bad QB. We might win but don’t think we’re heads and shoulders better than they are.

      • Nick in PB

        Good question Gunnar. Maybe a little left-over attitude from the Norv Turnover years. I think it takes some time to move on from the type of mindset, or lack of, that made Norv a laughing stock. I think the team is coming into this season with more attitude and confidence and that will be from the beginning. I truly believe it was just a mental thing.

  • David Droegemeier

    I am sorry but I would consider the defending world champions in week 2 to be a “truly scary opponent”

    • LT1800

      Their defense is scary. Their offense is pedestrian.

      • Marcel West-Bailey

        Their pass offense is pedestrian. Their run offense is beastly….pun intended.

        • Gunnar Martin

          There’s a reason why he got the name…

        • LT1800

          Don’t forget, the Bolts play Seattle at home (after getting a taste of them in the preseason), and we all know how differently the Seahawks play away from Ma Bell Field.

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            That’s true but less also not forget that defense at all 3 levels. Most of those losses came because the offense couldn’t put points on the board not because the defense couldn’t stop the other team

          • LT1800

            That’s precisely my point. They don’t scare me if the Bolts get them at home.

      • RZorn

        As long as The Chargers don’t think they’re “scary” which i’m pretty sure they are’nt. Than it’s fine what anyone else thinks about em’.

  • RZorn

    If they stay healthy,they should be very,very good.Getting off to a quick start this season will be important.Every game is hard to win in the NFL,this season will be a great challenge.I’m looking forward to see how the Boltz are prepared to crush their opponents each game. GO LIGHTNING!!

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

    Great article!

    • Robert Fairbanks

      I would think you had more ink in that 39 year old pen! Some of the best posts are coming from your opinions.

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

        Why thank you. I’m flattered.

  • tubbs45

    Nice work! there is a lot of potential to make our secondary much better, from the pass rush to the DBs I think we’ve gotten better. the question to me really becomes what schemes will pagano run and will he adapt (doubtful) when its necessary… we do have more talent that I think meets his scheme now than last year.

  • truthbetold

    They’ll go 8-8 or 9-7. Third in that division. Same as last year, only no lucking into the playoffs this time.

  • Parker Richardson

    With the new additions and the development of the young talent on the Bolts as well as the fact that the whole team will benefit from continuity in the coaching staff, i think we are going to see more consistency from this team. They have to play at the level they showed us they can play against the better opponents the entire season if they want to go to the playoffs because the schedule difficulty does not allow for dumb losses to teams like the raiders or texans.

  • Robert Fairbanks

    The Chargers could play over their heads and beat the Sea Hawks then fall off the wagon and let down their guard for lesser opponents like they did last season against the Raiders. I am hoping my Bolts do not go into the bucket early and then lose steam, when if healthy they CAN compete with any team in the NFL if they believe in themselves. It is a rugged schedule for all the teams in the AFC West this season, and I am glad the Sea Hawks no longer belong in our division. I do not see the Chargers getting lucky this year towards the end, and a 9-7 finish may actually be a good showing given the other talented teams and the rough road schedule.
    The first two games Cardinals on the road, and the Hawks at home, will tell us if the Bolts are breathing thunder and crapping lightening.

  • Sergio Quintero

    I think they would win 11-12 games if they had the same schedule as last year, but they don’t, they have probably -2 games schedule, so with reasonable health and players playing up to a reasonable career average I would say they go 10-6.

    A healthy season, and the ascending players continuing their improved play, there is a reasonable expectation for 10 wins, and if they can come up clutch in close games we can hope for more.

    • Marcel West-Bailey

      DING DING DING DING DING! I predicted 9-7 so it’s fluke win here or there which I expect.

      • Sergio Quintero

        9-10 wins, seems to be the number, if they can get more than 45 games from Ingram, Freeney, Floyd, they can and should win more than 10 games; so there lies the rub of the situation.

        • Marcel West-Bailey

          If Freeney can stay healthy and not miss any time this season I will shave my pubes and use them to make a beard on my face

          • Sergio Quintero

            LMAO!!!

          • Sergio Quintero

            How much of decline do you see in Gates this season? seems to be the one key player who seems to be in the clear decline on the roster.

          • Robert Fairbanks

            The Bolts should have traded Gates in the off season, maybe even two seasons ago, for sure at the start of last season. Now he probably cannot garner a fourth round pick. He also has some family issues so his head may not be in the game. With Green coming on strong most fans would say it’s Gates last year in San Diego.

          • Sergio Quintero

            The numbers from last year don’t indicate a decline, but close study give off bad vibes, after a hot start, Gates averaged 3.5 catches for 34.5 yards the final 13 games, if those averages continue Gates will be hard pressed to get 60 catches for 600 yards.

            Its hard to trade a player when he is the focal point of your offense, even more when he’s quite beloved by the fanbase. But the chargers will be well served focusing their passing game on their WR’s, and have Gates get the first dose of single coverage he has seen since early in his career.

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            I think we see a little less of him. Or the emergence of Ladarius Green. Obviously Gates is still capable of being a crucial part of a team but I think to keep it that way they give him less reps.

          • Sergio Quintero

            I think Gates has a little more than 60 catches, at around 600-650 yards, and Green has similar yardage on fewer catches and a few more TD’s.

          • Robert Fairbanks

            That would be an interesting look. I will reserve comment on what your pals might call you.

  • CALiFORNiAkiD

    11-5

    Mike McCoy is the real deal.
    He has his team prepared and ready for battle.

    • RZorn

      Lots of games to look forward to this year. I’m ready for them to Crush some fools this up coming season! It’s our team,all we can do is back them..GO BOLTZ!!!

      • CALiFORNiAkiD

        We really have no weakness (On Paper) Our younger players will get better from playoff experience. We’ll be a top 5 team.

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

          The nose tackle position, and kick returner position are a little shaky… strong safety is a little bit of a question mark still. But, they did a good job of addressing team needs this off-season.

          • CALiFORNiAkiD

            Like I said I see no weakness on this team.

          • Sergio Quintero

            Have to agree with the weaknesses, I have to add no pass rush skill in the backup DE’s, if Liuget or Reyes get hurt the cupboard is bare in particular for the DT’s in the nickel package.

          • CALiFORNiAkiD

            Really? no pass rush in the back up DE’s. Thats what your worried about?

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

            Considering we got very little pass rush out of the STARTERS last season… this is absolutely a concern. Furthermore, we didn’t pick up a DT that can command double teams… unless you count Carreathers, who we have no idea about.. Geathers, who couldn’t do it last season.. or a practice squad guy I’ve never heard of. Lissemore just isn’t that guy, but is serviceable.

            Without interior pressure, guys like Manning, Brady, and even Schaub can sit back in the pocket, and carve up your defense. Kansas City had this problem last season. They had Houston and Hali.. but, they didn’t have anyone to take advantage of the double teams that Dontari Poe generated. So, they became a one dimensional pass rush, and were exposed as the competition got better. When Houston and Hali both got taken out (by us, actually), they became even more pedestrian, and the secondary got shelled.

            This is what Sergio means by “the cupboard being bare”. We need better depth at DE. I was a little surprised TT grabbed Grice, instead of a DE. They talked to TONS of DE prospects in the off-season. So, they clearly know we need more depth there.

          • Nick in PB

            I think Lawrence Guy, when healthy, will be a really solid backup. He was making plays before he got injured. I think people are forgetting about him because he signed late and then got injured not long after he started making plays. He’s very disruptive at the line of scrimmage.

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

            I like Guy.. he seemed to make big plays when he was on the field. Gotta love that!!! Not sure how good he is at getting to the QB, or applying pressure, though. I haven’t seen a big enough sample size yet. Another “we’ll have to see” player.. or, better yet… Liuget and Reyes stay healthy, and we see him sparingly… lol

          • Gunnar Martin

            I haven’t forgotten about him. I love his knack for deflecting passes and/or field goals. I’ll be happy to welcome anyone that is capable doing that in the future (fingers crossed!).

          • Nick in PB

            He’s another one of those under the radar guys that Tolesco has picked up for depth. (fingers crossed here as well)

          • Gunnar Martin

            Totally agree with this. I think if there’s one position TT goes after in the preseason cuts, it’s DE.

          • Sergio Quintero

            Dropoff from the starters to the backups is pretty much massive, so a position you can’t take injuries always worries me. And the only pass rush that seems to work on Manning is from the inside, so no production from the DE’s means little to no pressure on Manning.

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

            I agree… there would have to be some shifting around there.

          • CALiFORNiAkiD

            NT – Lissemore
            SS- Addae
            R – Grice or Tevin Reese

            I don’t view those as weaknesses, I view them as training camp battles. Every team has those.

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

            Lissemore is average at the NT position, and spent a good chunk of time on the bench last season due to injury. Behind him we have an underrated free agent who didn’t do very well last season, a fifth round draft pick, and a guy who had spent his time on different team’s practice squads.

            Addae is probably going to be a decent starter, but behind him we have Gilchrist, who was down right awful at safety last season ( he might be fighting for a roster spot himself, with all these CB’s). Behind that you have newbies fighting for Gilly’s job, and probably won’t make the roster.

            Grice and Reese will get their shot at returner, but neither of them has played a single NFL snap.. nor do we know if they are an upgrade to Royal, or if the coaches feel that they are good enough to give them Royal’s duties. There is a chance we are fielding the same PR/KR unit as last season, which wasn’t great.

            All of these scenarios could totally work out, and give us something to cheer about this season. Or, they could go horribly wrong with a single injury. If I look at the other position groups on the team… QB, RB, OL, WR, TE, DE, OLB, ILB, CB… we have pretty solid depth in place. I realize that Telesco had a lot of holes to fill, did the best he could, and did a phenomenal job at plugging them up. However, I still think these three areas are shaky. They will continue to be shaky until they are properly addressed, filled with better depth, or some of these youngsters fully prove themselves.

            Basically, I’m not going to look at them through rose-colored glasses, because this is the NFL…players get hurt, and others simply don’t work out as you expect. Obviously, I hope these areas turn into strengths this season, and beyond.

          • Nick in PB

            I think we brought in quite a few guys that could compete for return duties. We should improve in that area. I do worry a little bit about the NT position. I think Carrethers will be the answer in time, maybe not this season. Lissemore, although not a prototypical NT, make plays up there but how long can he hold up. We have to see improvement from Gaethers, period. This unit could be fairly good or with just one injury, really terrible. For now, I’d say it’s the biggest question mark on the team.

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

            Whattup Nick!!!! Hope ate having a great summer so far. ;)

            Hopefully the return guys work out, because that would be huge! We have been severely lacking production there for a long time. Sproles was the last decent returner we had. I’m optimistic, but until these guys show me they are an upgrade to Royal (or Royal gets back to his old explosive “injury-free” kick-returning self), it’s a weakness in my eyes.

            I like Lissemore, when healthy. He was definitely an upgrade over Cam. Carrethers has the potential to be the starter, once he gets the playbook down. He has the size you like to see for a 3-4 NT. I am with you on that… it will probably take a year, or so, like you said.

          • Nick in PB

            I’m with you on those points. If Royal had been healthy, he was a pretty dangerous returner, but we really haven’t seen him healthy as a Charger. I can’t wait to see what Carrethers can do once he’s firing on all cylinders. He was so productive for a NT at the college level. Hopefully, he can progress to be that type of player in the NFL.

          • BoltNative

            I do expect good things from Geathers

  • Jamie Reno

    great story, jeffrey, a measured take that is well researched and well written. check out this chargers 2014 preview, posted early this morning. it also talks about the chargers flying under the national media radar. great minds think alike! http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2014/06/san-diego-chargers-2014-preview-nfls.html

  • BoltMan

    Improved in areas we needed to improve in. Have a 3 headed monster running game. Got M80 back. We have a tough schedule butt still I believe we can be contenders. #boltup #beatthedonkeys

  • Dunstan Wallace

    The Chargers will be 10-6, make the playoffs and then they will be a team that no one will want to face in the postseason.

    • Sergio Quintero

      I couldn’t say it better and more eficiently

  • Dunstan Wallace

    What you have to understand is that the Chargers lost both their pass rushers, their number #1 receiver and had a new set of Offensive linemen who were learning a new scheme and getting used to each other. They also had a new Head Coach, GM, Offensive Coordinator, QuarterBack and O-Line coach. That’s a lot of turnover for a team and a lot for players to take-in and get acclimated to. Manti Te’o was hurt most of the year and the secondary was well the secondary, and despite all that they made the playoffs. Now another year with the same people in place, everyone is healthy and rejuvenated after that tough loss in Denver, I think the Chargers are brewing with championship optimism.

  • navw21

    I hope Brandon Flowers has a killer year on his one year deal. Then next year when we’re 30 to 40 million under the cap we can sign him up to a long year deal.

    • LT1800

      (After Gates retires and clears some space)

      • Gunnar Martin

        Come on now. Don’t diss the legend.

        • LT1800

          No dis intended. I love Gatesy, maybe more than Winslow. But time waits for no man.

          • Gunnar Martin

            It’s not like we NEED him to retire though. We’re due for more than plenty cap space already, and he offers a valuable veteran presence for the team. Yeah, he’s a shell of his former self, but he won’t be a bad option behind Green for however long he keeps playing.

    • jeremy

      Yes sir!

  • powderBLUE801

    11 – 5
    This has been my prediction for weeks now and in sticking to it. ⚡️⚡️

    • RZorn

      Sounds about right Bruh!

    • Gunnar Martin

      I’m thinkin 12 is the max, 8 is the min, so 10 is my guess cuz it’s right in between ;)

      (That was supposed to be a cheesy jingle if you didn’t care to notice)

      • powderBLUE801

        I did notice before u even said anything. Good stuff!!

        • Nick in PB

          Agreed… good rhymes and good prediction!

          • Gunnar Martin

            Thank you, thank you. I try :)

  • jimbojangles

    Good article Jeffrey. One of things I don’t like about some the articles written on Fansided (nothing personal to any of the writers) is the biased writing (and I expect nothing less from a hometown website). You gave good true honest analysis of the Chargers situation. That about as realistic of an outlook that I’ve heard from any analyst or writer.

    BOLT UP! Can’t wait for the season.

    • LT1800

      Thanks Jim! I annoy MYSELF when I’m too much of a homer LOL

      • Stefanie Smith

        Homers have feelings too. Homers have a home here. lol.

  • Nick Mansoor

    How good can the Chagers be in 2014??? Pretty damn good!

  • BoltNative

    The Chargers look a lot better right now than they did this time last year. Now if they can score more TDs than FGs, establish the running game early, defensively stop the run and get off of the field on 3rd downs, then the Chargers should go to the playoffs. It’s time to step up and believe!

  • tstier

    I agre, 8 wins is worse case scenario for the Chargers. Im thinking 11-5 is not out of the question, and giving Denver a fight for he AFC West bragging rights

  • arnie

    10-6. I had them at this last season, only based on better coaching could squeeze 3 more wins from this team, from 7-9. With the better competition it balances out. While a lot of the teams on the schedule lost Key players, the Chargers resigned key players added depth and increased the talent pool.
    if the defense can improve to 15-20th ranking, this is more than possible. The numbers showed the more they played together towards the end of the season, the better they became as a unit. Also keep in mind, they never had all their starters on field throughout the season, yet still managed to make the play-offs and win on the road. A lot of those players are returning….

  • powderBLUE801

    I still can’t get over us picking up Flowers!! After years of disappointment with AJ and him not doing us any justice in free agency. It’s just a good feeling to know that TT and Mike “The Real Deal” McCoy are bringing this team back from the dead. I haven’t felt this alive since the 90′s when we made our SB run. I feel it this year Bolt Beat family. I just do!!⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️

    • Stefanie Smith

      I agree. There is this rumble–momentum building. Many of the Chargers’ fans still have the equivalent of post-traumatic stress ( I have it a little). We get nervous and have it in our gut waiting for the other shoe to drop

      I don’t have a sense for TT like I had for AJ. I did not like AJ. Thought he was rude. I don’t know what to think about TT. However, he IS trying. There is no doubt. He may be building for the future, but he is not sacrificing the present and using it as an excuse. Going for Brandon Flowers shows me that. He could have just coasted. Yeah, it may not work, but he gave it a shot.

      As to McCoy, he is a little bit maybe nerdy, but he inspires these guys and expects them to be great and tells them when they aren’t so great. They love him, have bought into what he is selling so he is a keeper, in my opinion.

      I think it is the positive feel even coming from the Spanos family. It’s because of TT and McCoy. They are changing the mentality of the Spanos clan. That is a good thing.

      Yeah, it makes you feel that there is momentum going. The guys will have to do their part and win the games we should win also. It’s looking good to me, for sure.

  • Alter Ego

    Trade for Andre Johnson and the Chargers go to the Super Bowl

    • Marcel West-Bailey

      We all know that isnt happening

      • Alter Ego

        Well Marcel, I wrote about that very scenario on another site…so I believe it could.Here it is :

        Tom Telesco , San Diego’s 2nd year GM, is turning heads in the football community with calculated, bold and savvy personnel decisions. With Charger’s head coach Mike McCoy and their joint commitment to “…doing whatever it takes to improve this football team” – that is exactly what they are doing.
        San Diego finds itself in a vastly improved AFC West…could be dubbed the “group of death” similar to the USA World Cup first round group. Denver, Kansas City and San Diego all made the playoffs last year…the Raiders have split victories with the Chargers the last two years and always seem ready to punch them in the mouth. “Whatever it takes “is necessary.
        Telesco has paired FA running backs Donald Brown and Danny Woodhead as talented back ups that will play significant roles this season. His aggressive decision making in his short tenure as GM has landed the Chargers FA starters OT King Dunlap, OG Chad Rhinehart and DT Sean Lissemore. More impressive, he has pro bowl FA OLB Dwight Freeney and CB Brandon Flowers starting on his roster as well.
        Telesco and McCoy yielded an outstanding 2013 draft. Last years draft picks of ORY, WR Keenan Allen, OT DJ Fluker and ILB Manti Te’o all played huge roles as starters in San Diego’s return to the playoffs after a three year drought. This years draft looks extremely impressive as well with the addition of projected starter CB Jason Verrett and Georgia Tech’s all time sack leader OLB Jerry Attaochu .
        The Chargers are playing to win.
        Andre Johnson wants out of Houston…badly. Everyone in his camp says it’s a trade or no dice -Houston we have a problem. Johnson wants to play with a contender and he doesn’t have any confidence in the Texan’s as being that team. Zero…Nada. This isn’t a secret any longer and doubtfully Johnson and Houston come to any type of agreement other than a trade.
        Enter Telesco and McCoy. They are willing to improve the Chargers by any means necessary. Andre Johnson would be a rock star move. Phillip Rivers was brilliant last year with an injury plagued WR corps. His acquisition would suddenly catapult this already talented team into a deadly offensive machine .
        Andre Johnson will have a big say on who he is traded to. The Chargers seem to be a perfect fit.
        Telesco has already proven his ability to seize the opportunity with the FA market. This move could stamp the Charger’s ticket to the Super Bowl. Sure fits the mantra… whatever it takes.

        • Marcel West-Bailey

          Just letting you know the only reason I read that is because you put a picture at the bottom. However, you didn’t offer a scenario where that would happen. We don’t have any trade pieces that are worth giving up, unless we empty the bottom of the roster which the Texans aren’t going to take. Johnson can want out of Houston all he wants but his contract doesn’t end until 2017 and the Texans aren’t going to give up one of the best WR’s in the league for some scrubs and Telesco isn’t giving up any of our good young talent.

          • Alter Ego

            A trade may not happen…but it isn’t any of the reasons that you list. You make a lot of sound bites that are not at all original.
            Johnson is parting ways with Houston this year – get on board with forward thinking young gun.

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            But all of those non original sound bites are legitimate. And what do you mean a trade may not happen? You proposed a trade. Give me the scenario where we end up with Johnson because unless we’re giving up some serious talent I don’t see it happening.

          • Alter Ego

            I believe a second round pick would do it – possibly add Royal to trade package as well.
            Johnson I believe will hold out until a trade to a team he likes happens.

          • Marcel West-Bailey

            1 second round pick for Johnson? C’MON MAN! And take a look at how the money gets thrown into this. We don’t have any money to pay this guy. He’s making 12 mil and that increases over the next 2 years. Next year maybe but this year? this isn’t happening. And the Texans only save I think 900k if they let go of him. And he’s worth that if he’s Andre Johnson. It doesn’t make sense for them to let him go.

  • ECAVILLE/Ace of Spades

    Depth is as good as the Seahawks or 49ners of recent few years both whom The CHARGERS have faced in the past two preseasons. I don’t expect to go undefeated this preseason but I’ve never been more excited about seeing the positional battles taking place this year. Definitely will be electric and eye opening! This could be the year CHARGERS finally pierce through the dragons scales with a worthy warrior (McCoy), lance and shield in hands on top a beefed up CHARGER HORSE! Fierce, feerless, relentless, and determined to take what has been so elusive over the years! BOLT UP FAM!

  • BlondeBomberKnows

    IMO the Chargers in 2014 could go anywhere fro 11-5 to 9-7