As the countdown to the new NFL season continues, we all look forward to seeing our beloved San Diego Chargers take the field. Whether it’s in shorts, pads or full gear, nothing makes us happier than to know they’re busy preparing for what could be a landmark season.
It could be a landmark season for a number of reasons. Could this be the last season the team plays in San Diego? Will this be the last time we see the ‘Core Four’ of Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Eric Weddle, Malcom Floyd in lightning bolts together? Floyd has stated this is his final season and it’s looking that way for Gates as well, but nothing is certain until it happens. Is this team finally ready for a lengthy postseason run amidst all the toil and trouble?
So many questions…
On paper, this may be the best team the Chargers have fielded since the LaDainian Tomlinson era. The offense is getting overdue attention, especially after drafting phenom running back Melvin Gordon to replace Ryan Mathews in the backfield. Where this team will really shock the league will be on defense.
General manager Tom Telesco has done an excellent job of signing a young, talented nucleus of players to multi-year contracts. Donald Butler, Corey Liuget are locked in long term. Melvin Ingram is in his option year so he has to stay on the field and perform at a high level to get a second contract similar to the aforementioned Butler and Liuget. Mantei Te’o, Jeremiah Attaochu and this year’s crop of draftees are in Bolts for at least the next two years under their rookie contracts.
The secondary, long considered a weakness in San Diego, will return the tandem that was the best in the league while they played together in Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to play the entire season due to injuries. Their presence would have been instrumental in changing the Chargers playoff fate as they only missed the postseason by one game.
With both corners returning healthy, and excellent free agent additions Jimmy Wilson and Patrick Robinson, the Chargers will have what they haven’t had in a long time, shutdown corners and quality secondary depth. Lest we forget the All-Pro safety anchoring the secondary. We may not like the office politics going on with Eric Weddle, but the one thing we know is he will play like the consummate pro he is and the Chargers will not let him leave as long as franchise tags are still at their disposal.
What this means is San Diego has a defense that is worthy of a top-five ranking if they can stay healthy. Players have to excel on the field or lose their spot. It’s that type of hunger Telesco is cultivating into what will become a culture of winning. This is an exciting defense which can only get better if draftee linebackers Denzel Perryman and Kyle Emmanuel, cornerback Craig Mager and defensive lineman Darius Philon are as good as advertised. From the sounds coming out of camp, they are that and more!
Say what you want about the front office, they have assembled an excellent collection of players in three short seasons and they are ready to make a dynastic run. This defense can be as good as the Ravens of the early 2000’s. I’m calling my shot now before the rest of the world outside San Diego sees it. The holes have been admirably filled. Only one last thing this defense needs…
Purple People Eaters. Monsters of the Midway. Steel Curtain. I’m not saying they will be that great. Yet. They will be crowned with some goofy nickname by Chris Berman or someone in a boardroom in Bristol, Connecticut once the carnage is unleashed and quarterbacks, receivers and running backs league-wide are swallowed whole. Let’s beat the suits to the punch and name the defense ourselves!
Here are my first handful of submissions:
The Blue Crew
What do you guys think? Leave your suggestions with names for the defense below!
The Greg One