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2013 NFL Preview: San Diego Chargers

by Photo of Kenneth Teape

A new coaching staff looks to get the most out of a notoriously underachieving franchise.

2013 NFL Preview: San Diego Chargers

The NFL Season is getting closer and closer. The Baltimore Ravens took home the Super Bowl last year, but this next season will surely come with plenty of surprises. It's time to get ready for the start of the year by taking a look at all 32 teams to gauge where they are, starting with the worst and ending with the reigning Super Bowl Champs. It's the CHARGED.fm 2013 NFL Preview, and today we're previewing the San Diego Chargers.

Last Season:

Another season, another year of disappointment for the San Diego Chargers in 2012. Like many of the seasons in recent history, the Chargers entered the season as one of the more talented squads in the league on paper but failed to live up to expectations. A hot 3-1 start quickly went off the rails as the Chargers went on to lose seven of the next eight games, effectively ending their season. It was the third consecutive campaign that the team saw a decline in a wins, finishing the season 7-9 and resulting in the firing of Norv Turner as head coach.

Overall the defense was not terrible for the Chargers in 2012 as they ranked ninth in total defense, giving up 326.4 yards per game; they were 18th in passing defense at 230.1 per game and sixth in rushing defense at 96.4 yards per game. They got after the quarterback well, finishing fourth in the NFL in sacks with 49.0, led by 9.5 from linebacker Shaun Phillips. But stats can be deceiving, as people who watched the Chargers would say otherwise. The defense was unable to get stops when they needed to and the team just never looked in sync enough to get anything going.

Even with their shortcomings, the defense still made plenty of highlights last season. Check them out here!

The offense was even more disappointing than the defense for the Chargers in 2012. Philip Rivers saw a significant drop in passing yards from 2011, going from 4,624 yards to 3,606. He threw one less touchdown and did also cut down on his interceptions. Rivers just was not able to carry the offensive load as in years past without consistent weapons to get the ball to. Antonio Gates battled injuries all season, catching only 49 passes for 538 yards and seven touchdowns. Malcolm Floyd, Danario Alexander, Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem all missed time as well, causing the offense to have no continuity or chemistry built up.

The running game was not much better in San Diego as Ryan Mathews showed once again he cannot be counted on as a lead back due to injury concerns. He appeared in only 12 games and was not very effective when on the field, averaging only 3.8 yards per rush. Ronnie Brown did an admirable job filling in for Mathews and adds a dimension to the passing game but looks well past his prime years with the Miami Dolphins.

Offseason:

Key Losses (New Team): Antoine Cason, CB (Arizona Cardinals); Quentin Jammer, CB (Denver Broncos); Shaun Phillips, LB (Denver Broncos); Takeo Spikes, LB; Jared Gaither, OT; Aubrayo Franklin, DT (Indianapolis Colts); Antonio Garay, DL (New York Jets); Randy McMichael, TE; Vaughn Martin, DL (Miami Dolphins); Louis Vasquez, G (Denver Broncos); Tyronne Green, G (New England Patriots); Reggie Wells, G; Demorrio Williams, LB; Antwan Barnes, (New York Jets); Atari Bigby, S; Chris Carr, CB (New Orleans Saints); Jackie Battle, RB (Tennessee Titans); Gary Guyton, LB (Dallas Cowboys);

Key Additions (Old Team); Dwight Freeney, DE (Indianapolis Colts); Derek Cox, CB (Jacksonville Jaguars); Max Starks, OT (Pittsburgh Steelers); King Dunlap. OT (Philadelphia Eagles); John Phillips, TE (Dallas Cowboys); Chad Rinehart, G (Buffalo Bills); Danny Woodhead, RB (New England Patriots); Jarius Wynn, DE (Tennessee Titans); Rich Ohrnberger, C (Arizona Cardinals); Chris Gronkowski, FB (Denver Broncos); Deon Butler, WR (Seattle Seahawks)

Players Re-Signed: Danario Alexander, WR; Brandyn Dombrowski, G; Nick Novak, PK; Mike Windt; LS

Players Drafted: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama; Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame; Kennan Allen, WR, California; Steve Williams, CB, California; Tourek Williams, DE, Florida International; Brad Sorenson, QB, Southern Utah

Usually when a coaching change occurs, a lot of roster upheaval is expected. That is exactly what happened in San Diego. With Turner and the Chargers parting ways many veterans were allowed to walk as the Chargers begin something of a youth movement. Do not mistake that for a team that will just roll over and try landing the top pick in next season’s draft; even with the roster turnover this is still a team that could surprise some people. Adding Freeney gives them a legitimate pass rusher to replace the departed Phillips. The Chargers could not have filled their top needs much better than they did in the draft landing Fluker and Te’o. Both should step in right away as starters and make an impact. Allen has a chance to make an impact as well as he was a first round talent on tape that slipped to the third round. He is another young weapon given to Rivers to hopefully jump start this offense again. Both Williams will add depth as useful backups. The addition of Woodhead in free agency will also give an added dimension to the Chargers offense needing a spark.

Season Outlook:

The Chargers under new head coach Mike McCoy should return to being the explosive offense people had been used to seeing before last season. McCoy is an offensive guru, specifically at the quarterback position, as he seamlessly led the Denver Broncos offense through changes from Kyle Orton, to Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning and had success with each. Having healthy receivers to throw the ball to will be important for Rivers if he and the Chargers offense are to succeed.

Another important thing would be getting Mathews healthy. It does not look like that is possible but if they are able to get him and the running game back on track it will immensely improve and help this offense. Woodhead and Brown should help carry some of the load as well in the passing game and in certain situations and packages.

The defense lost some veteran mainstays in Jammer, Phillips and Cason but they are not irreplaceable players. Freeney will step into Phillips’ departed pass rushing role perfectly. The cornerbacks will be younger and more inexperienced but the Chargers upgraded the linebacker position with Te’o in addition to Freeney and as long as Eric Weddle is manning the safety position they should be okay.

People are down on the Chargers after an underwhelming 2012 season but should not be taken lightly. This is a team that could surprise some and could be right in the thick of the playoff race at the end of the season if they can play with a little more composure than last season.

Let CHARGED.fm find you the best San Diego Chargers Tickets all season long!


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