Season Wrap Up & Look Ahead to 2014
The 2013 season for the San Diego Chargers had its ups and downs but ended with a wild ride ending of a Wild Card victory over the favored Cincinnati Bengals and then lose to the best team in the AFC … the Denver Broncos.
QB Phillip Rivers had a year for the ages … a season worthy of a “Comeback Player of the year” nomination. TE Antonio Gates does what he always has done throughout his career … catch TD’s from Rivers and create match up problems across the board. One of the most stable connections in football, Rivers & Gates look to continue their chemistry in 2014 under new offensive coordinator … Frank Reich (former QB’s Coach) as former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenthunt begins his new job as head coach with the Tennessee Titans.
While Chargers WRs were falling down to injuries (Malcolm Floyd most noticeably), it gave opportunities for the “next man up” philosophy and no WR took that opportunity and shined brighter than rookie WR out of Cal … Keenan Allen. His 1,046 yards receiving and 8 TD’s were tops among the WR core and earned him candidacy for “Offensive Rookie of the Year” in the NFL. With Allen and Eddie Royal on the outside and a healthy Malcolm Floyd, the WR corp looks to be a strength in the 2014 season.
The offensive line was like a jig-saw puzzle with injuries over the course of the year but was patched up enough to protect Rivers and open up holes for RBs Ryan Matthews, Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead who has shown his value as RB that can catch the ball out of the back field and make those much needed plays. The concern for Matthews though … the injury bug reared its ugly head towards the end and in the playoff games … so the off season at the RB position does have question marks to fill.
The defensive side of the ball … had its moments of lighting fast plays … but also came out sputtering and fluttering getting blown out of the building. While Safety Eric Weddle continues to be in Pro Bowl form, there were missing pieces along the front seven … which was always the game plan for the Chargers defense. Corey Liuget led the team with 5.5 sacks … a very low number for a defensive lineman to have and when Weddle leads the team in solo tackles AND INTs with only two … just reinforces that the defense was an obvious weakness for the Chargers and looks to be addressed during the off season and through the next draft.
With the Denver Broncos as the “head of the class” in the AFC West and Kansas City Chiefs right on their heels, the San Diego Chargers have a good amount of ground to make up. The 2013 season for the Chargers … had a lot of luck on their side but ownership should know that kind of luck doesn’t come every season so making the moves to solidify their chances is the way to improve into contention in 2014.
The one loss … the important loss that the Chargers have already suffered was the loss of offensive coordinator Whisenhunt (new head coach of Tennessee Titans). He came in with head coach Mike McCoy and really did a great job turning the offense around … limiting the turnovers on the offensive side of the ball AND giving Rivers that confidence … that swagger that he once had … to produce the NFL’s 4th best offense in the league. This loss is a huge one but one that can be overcome through hard off season work.
The off season will be a long one for the Bolts but one thing is for certain … that there is a reason for continued excitement in the city of San Diego … for the San Diego Chargers and their fans … so BOLT UP San Diego.
Written by LaShawn Encarnacion
Follow me on Twitter: @619_Shawn_NYC_E