Look, being a lifelong Charger fan is a frustrating experience. I get it. When your only championship is “Pre-Super Bowl” and orchestrated by a quarterback named Tobin Rote, then you know it’s been an exercise in futility. We’ve come close many times and had some of the best rosters in football on more than one occasion. The fact that we probably should have won a few Super Bowls with the talent we’ve had makes it all the more frustrating.
So when a new season comes around we Bolt fans have a tendency to be gun shy. An optimist by nature when it comes to my sports teams, I find that I am coaxed out even further on the ledge of that optimism than I am comfortable with as this upcoming slate of games nears.
Take a deep breath. Smell that? There’s something in the air; something that as a Bolt fan of going on fifty years hasn’t perfumed our living rooms and tailgate parking slots in, well… forever.
The difference? Since we haven’t really accomplished anything let’s not take the hyperbole ship too far into space, but there are things to point to and say, “This team really is different.”
First, our brain trust exudes faith. Unlike in the past, this group seems to have a plan for winning. Bear with me here. I know everyone wants to win and “thinks” they have a plan for winning, but some organizations just don’t have “it” while others do. What exactly is “it?” Well, if it really was that simple, I’d be sipping Gran Patrón Platinum margaritas in my Gulfstream G280 on my way to my private beach in Bora Bora.
Put simply, the plan seems to include building a family that doesn’t have attitudes that play for the paycheck and has a more outward look about what it takes to win than an inward look at systems that create plays. Easier said than done. Of course, teams need plays and systems but there must be a focus on controlling all aspects of the game. Without making this an opus detailing the minutiae of football, let’s make it easy. What teams played the Broncos the toughest last season? Arguably, it would be the Seahawks and then the Chargers. Why? Because Seattle drubbed them and we showed control in our games with them. Yes, we lost two of three, but all three were winnable games when most teams were never in games against the Donkeys.
Tom Telesco isn’t sucked into the “Dan Snyder School of Free Agency” but quietly adds logical pieces to fit the puzzle. He did add Brandon Flowers, a big name free agent, but it would appear to be a calculated move to solidify a glaring roster weakness. It takes good players to win and identifying the right ones at the right prices to fit the cap is no simple matter.
So, on the heels of a gratifying finish to last season that included rallying to win big games and make the playoffs, it seems as if the team has steadily moved toward the type of franchise that sustains success.
The improvement of our defense is qualifiable. It cannot be argued that our pass rush will be better. That pass rush will make our improved defensive backfield better still. Our offense only needs to sustain its previous success and the only area we need to be better on special teams is with our returners. We have pieces to solve that dilemma.
Many look at the daunting schedule and shudder a bit. Yes, it will be difficult, but it might be a blessing in disguise. We will certainly find out what we are made of but there will be no surprises come playoff time. We will know exactly what we have if we can get through this schedule. It will toughen us and, frankly, to win it all, you need to beat the best.
Who knows? Perhaps we will have a second answer to the question, “Name the quarterbacks who have won a professional football championship in San Diego?”