Dream scenario (10-6): Although Philip Rivers had a very down 2011 by his fantastic track record, the Chargers still threw the ball effectively and should once again in 2012. Even though Vincent Jackson is in Tampa Bay, Antonio Gates is healthy and San Diego has enough at the wide receiver, including better slot options, to allow for Rivers to do what Rivers does best: sling it all over the field, especially deep. San Diego does look to be noticeably improved in the front seven. That could pay off huge in terms of improvement against the run and pass as well as generating more big plays. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Melvin Ingram ends up being the defensive rookie of the year as a versatile and explosive difference-maker. I am still a huge fan of Rivers and I believe that Ryan Mathews can be an elite running back to mix in with a noticeably improved defense. But what is the ceiling if all of this comes together? A divisional crown certainly is a possibility, but I still think San Diego — even if everything goes right — would still be a step below the very top teams in the NFL.
SAN DIEGO —- Shaun Phillips has been at times a one-man band. The Chargers have become increasingly reliant on him in recent seasons, as the only legitimate pass-rushing threat in the linebacker corps.
The Denver Broncos are the defending AFC West champs, and they added a future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning in the offseason, so now San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith is making sure to pay proper deference to Denver during the offseason. Smith knows the division race will be tough once again in the upcoming NFL season, and he explained the challenge to Kevin Acee and Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego:
NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang spends a lot of time evaluating college players in the months leading up to April’s NFL Draft. And now that the draft is behind us, Rang spends the subsequent weeks looking at what teams got and what they can expect looking forward. On Wednesday, he wrote about the Chargers’ selections, and former UConn defensive lineman Kendall Reyes, in particular.
At 16 years old, Long Beach Polytechnic High School sports star Brian Banks was on the fast track to a smashing football career. He was a starring middle linebacker on one of California’s top high-school teams, and had offers flowing in from all the best colleges. USC wanted him on full ride.
Run defense: Both Spikes and Butler are explosive players and can use speed and power to get to ball carriers. Butler shows a lot of promise here having forced a couple fumbles last season and generally making a nuisance of himself against opposing blockers.