Do the Chargers Have Potential?



potential; noun:

1. latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.

As I look over this team I see the potential, maybe you don’t.  Maybe most experts don’t see it.  And as we have seen over the last couple of years a few (or a lot of) injuries can destroy your potential.  The Chargers limped to the finish line last year.  Injuries devastated any hopes they had.

But it is a new year.  In 8 days the Chargers will get to face off against the Cowboys in a pre-season matchup.  We will forget all about last year and start dreaming about the future – a future where the Chargers potential may be realized.

So sit back and let me tell you how the Chargers will make it to the Super Bowl?

Dec 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws a pass during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 19-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

1. Phillip Rivers plays good football.  Hate him all you want.  Tell me he can’t win the big game.  I don’t care.  The guy has Hall of Fame numbers and is one of the best in the league.  Is he adequate to win the Super Bowl?  Hell yeah! He is more than adequate, but he works best when he doesn’t need to carry the team.  Give him some surrounding pieces and he will excel and take the Chargers to the final game.

2. Because Melvin Gordon > Ryan Matthews.  At this point it is all speculation.  If he is as good as a healthy Ryan Matthews than we are good.  If he is better, than this will help take the pressure off of PR.  If Danny Woodhead has fully recovered from a broken foot than we know what he brings and that is a matchup nightmare for defenses.  Throw Oliver in the mix as a shifty little guy who is hard to tackle and can make you look foolish in the open field and this unit has the potential to be one of the best backfields in the NFL.

May 26, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) participates in a drill during organized team activities at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

3. Stevie Johnson plays like he did in Buffalo when he had three 1000 yard seasons between 2010 and 2012.  It seems like Stevie and PR have been best buds in training camp.  If Stevie emerges as any kind of threat then this WR group can be good.  Is there a true #1? Probably not, but definitely a solid group of #2s at every spot.  Toss in Pro-Bowler Antonio Gates, the up and coming Ladarius Green and the RBs who can catch the ball out of the backfield and PR has the weapons he needs.

4. The O-line stays healthy and emerges as a dominant group. Imagine a world where running backs have holes to run through and PR isn’t squeezing between D-lineman to throw the ball. This unit has perhaps the most potential to swing one way or another.  If they stay relatively healthy this unit could be awesome.  Dunlap and Franklin will provide one of the best left sides in the NFL.  If Fluker stays healthy and finds a decent RG to work with the right side could be very good.  The biggest question is in the middle.  Can Watt stay healthy?  Can he up his game from last year?  Will Robinson be able to step in if things go sideways?  If the Chargers want to see the Super Bowl this unit needs to shine and above all stay healthy.  They have the potential to be awesome but also the potential to be mediocre.

5. The Chargers will have one of the best offenses in the league.  I believe they will be much improved over last year.  The Chargers will have a good to great running game and a great passing game.  Look for the Chargers to be one of the top offensive units and to carry this team deep into the playoffs if not all the way to the final game.

Oct 12, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett (22) celebrates after intercepting the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the fourth quarter at Coliseum. The San Diego Chargers defeated the Oakland Raiders 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

6. The defensive backfield shows their shutdown potential.  With Verrett, Flowers and Weddle in the backfield many QBs in this league will be thinking twice before they put the ball in the air.  The biggest question here is health.  Flowers and Verrett missed a lot of time last year.  When they are both on the field this is a very different defensive unit.  The depth at safety and cornerback is questionable.  The Chargers brought in some depth, but who really knows the quality of that depth until they hit the field.  The other question is at strong safety.  Is this the year Addae puts it all together or will someone else step up and claim that spot.

 7. The young players in the line-backing unit take the next step.  There is talent here, but also questions.  Will Ingram and Attaochu stay healthy?  Will the presence of Perryman make Butler and Teo step up their game?  Will Perryman help the Chargers dismal run defense?  Will Attaochu, Ingram and Emanuel be able to pressure the opposing QB consistently.  If at the end of the season we look back and are able to answer yes to all those questions, then this will be a very good year for the Chargers.

8. The D-line finds some way to get better.  This is perhaps the most troubling unit on defense.  It is anchored by Liguet but beyond that it is even hard at this point to project who the other two starters will be.  Carrether, Lissemore, Law, Reyes, Philon?  This will get sorted out in camp, but as of right now this is the Chargers Achilles heel.  I sure hope someone has used the off-season to up their game and will come in and provide the much needed boost in this area.

9. The defense will be better.  Its obvious by looking at the team, that if the Chargers have any potential to go deep it will be by relying on their offense to win games and their defense to keep things close.  If players like Verrett, Perryman, Butler, Ingram and Law have huge years this could be a good defensive unit.  If a lot of those guys spend time nursing injuries, then we may be in for a long season as the offense will have to initiate there keep-a-way tactic that has worked to some success over the last couple of years.

The potential is there.  Sprinkle a little luck on it and hope that the odd shaped ball bounces the Chargers way a couple of times and maybe we will all be buying tickets for the Super Bowl in February.