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Old 01-20-2008, 06:04 PM    (permalink
JK17
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Default 2007 Chargers Season

Well, that loss to the Patriots kind of ends it all. Heartbreaking, but thats what comes with being a Charger fan. I started this review last week, so I didn't just sit down and pound all this out on the keyboard after the game...its very long so I apologize with the length, but I figured I'd start a thread summarizing the season, and get some discussion going. Read whatever you feel like, argue, discuss, whatever....

In great attempts, its glorious even to fail --I guess that's the story of our season.


Quarterback

This was the issue for the majority of the season; how would the play of second year starter Philip Rivers factor into the success of the team. Early on and for most of the season he was terribly inconsistent. He would have a couple good games, where he appeared to be back on track, then post a terrible game riddle with interceptions at key moments that had a lot of fans questioning whether or not he was actually the guy who should be out there. However, towards the end of the season, the last three regular season games and the postseason in particular Rivers seemed to not only have returned to last years form, but arguably took a step up from it. His playoff performances with LT injured and limited spoke of his character as a leader, and he really showed he can play in the clutch situations. The question for next year is going to be which Rivers continues to develop? The smart leader we saw at the end of the year, or the trash-talking quarterback who hardly backs it up that we saw in the beginning. Hopefully the development will continue to carry over into the next season. As far as backups go, Billy Volek really gave no confidence all season long, with ugly numbers and performance in general, yet when it mattered, the guy led a game-winning drive against Indianapolis to get us to the AFC Championship Game. It will be seen what we do with him soon enough, but with Charlie Whitehurst waiting in the wings, Iím sure there will be some pressure to see what Whitehurst can do and if he can be the backup guy for the future.

Running Back

I was actually a little disappointed with LaDainian Tomlinsonís overall season, but I think a slight regression was supposed to be expected, after all, it would be very difficult to live up to his monumental 2006 season. He did end up very strong though, especially playing well down the stretch, but he was stifled early on and became some what inconsistent. He ended up on top of the league in rushing, and also had 15 rushing touchdowns to go along with his usual receiving skills out of the backfield. However in the playoffs he did not really do much to propel the wins, but still, his overall impact on the team cannot be ignored. His backup, Michael Turner, is all but gone next year. After an average season as opposed to last year, Turnerís value may have fallen a little but he will certainly start somewhere else next year. I was a little disappointed we didnít use him more frequently throughout the season, but when the postseason came, without him Iím not so sure we can even come close to beating Indy with LT on the bench, so he certainly backed up his contract there. Darren Sproles may not be a consistent every down backup for us next year to spill LT, but he certainly showed he can play. He excelled on the screens and draws, and really showed that for a little guy he can pack a hit. It removes the pressing need for a backup RB next year, but he cannot always be counted on to be the #1 backup. Lorenzo regressed a little as a fullback, and it looks like his age might have finally caught up with him. He made the pro-bowl on name recognition alone, but he still wasnít a scrub in the SD backfield. Pinnock, who I had been very down on early in the year, actually stepped up very well in his absence and our running game even saw a boost going down the stretch in the last couple of games.

Wide Receivers

The acquisition of Chris Chambers has to be the turning point in the season for us this year. Up until we got him in here, and really started him going we didnít have any receivers who could really be effective on their own. Chambers got here and immediately started making an impact, and as the last couple weeks and postseason rolled around, he showed why we gave up a second for him. He looks like he did a couple years ago in Miami, maybe even better, and certainly exceeded my expectations for his first year here. The biggest thing for him was he really didnít have any key drops, which had been the knock on him in Miami. In fact, his biggest play was a ball he did catch against Tennessee on the 4th and 5 that arguably turned our year around. Vincent Jackson on the other hand disappointed me a little early on. I thought he would be able to be the #1 without needing other help and I may have been wrong on that. He never really emerged or broke out until we got Chambers here. However, once we did, Jackson really picked up his game and showed that he could play exceptionally well, and his hands improved drastically in the playoffs. In the slot Buster Davis didnít have much of an impact at all. I donít doubt his ability as he did make a couple nice catches, but I am skeptical of how much he will be used that would justify his first round selection. When LT is gone, and the offense becomes pass-centered around Rivers, or if Rivers can develop enough while LT is still here, then I can see him becoming an impact guy. But right now heís there for when we go 3 Wide Receivers, which we need, but Iím not sure about that first rounder used on him. Legedu Naanee had I think 8 catches throughout the year, but he showed the versatility we can use with him. When Lorenzo is gone we may sneak him in the backfield and have him run short patters, or even line him up at TE on occasion to balance out GatesÖhe has shown he can play though when originally I thought he would be cut. Osgood, as usual had no real impact as a receiver, but his influence in the ST game cannot be stressed enough. It looks as if though, fan favorite Malcolm Floyd, and one of my favorites, Eric Parker have lost their spots on the team. I just donít see a place we can use those guys to be effective, or what they can do that other receivers on the team cannot.

Tight End

Thereís not much to say, early on when we were struggling Gates was the only guy who looked like he was legitimately giving consistent effort out thereÖand it showed. He had another All-Pro year and continues to add to his own legend. Some day, with a healthy career he will have many if not all of the receiving records out there for a tight end. When it comes to backups, Manumaleuna did what he always doesÖmaul people on the line, and grab the occasional ball from Rivers. When Gates went out against Tennessee Manu actually stepped up pretty nicely and grabbed a couple key receptions in big situations. Heís shifty for a 300 pounders. Scott Chandler we saw nothing out of, but he looked pretty good in the preseason. He may be someone who can allow us to go with two-TE sets when Manu is no longer in San Diego, but right now he really doesnít serve much of a purpose for us.

Offensive Line

This was probably are biggest disappointment of the year. Marcus McNeill did not continue to build on his outstanding rookie year, and in fact regressed. He really struggled against big-time pass rushers like Jared Allen and Kyle Vandenbosch. In the postseason and at times in the year he looked very strong, but overall it was a downgrade from last year. On the opposite side of the line, a guy I had not been thrilled with in Olivea, was replace by Jeromey Clary, who was also someone else I didnít expect anything out of. However, when Clary stepped in, the run game and pass game actually significantly increased. I was impressed with how he was able to fill in and thought he did a fair job. Dielman did fairly well, and I wasnít disappointed too much with him when it came to doing his job. The guy who I think we saw is most important to this offensive line is the center, Nick Hardwick. Hardwick is not only a great player, but when he was absent we saw what happened. Blitz pickup significantly struggled and there were many fumbled snaps. Withrow and Rivers had trouble with a lot of their exchanges, and Withrow, who didnít do terrible, did have a lot of trouble in helping the other linemen recognize blitz like Hardwick was able to do. Mike Goff I wasnít too thrilled or disappointed with, but I feel like heís a guy who can still be replaced. Our right side of the line was fairly weak this year and he does need to take some of the blame for that, but not all of it. Overall, the line really was shaky in moving people off the line of scrimmage for LT, and protecting Rivers who had to throw a lot of balls away early on in the season.

Defensive Line

The defensive line was hurt with Jamal questionable a lot and Luis missing a lot of time. Overall I liked the play of those three guys (Igor, Williams, Castillo). Missing Castillo really hurts our pass rush and it showed for a while, and whenever Jamal is not in there itís a concern. When it comes to backups, Iím not really a huge fan of any of ours. I know the staff likes Cesaire, but Iím just not sold on him. He seems like more a liability then a good backup to me when he is in thereÖthat being said he could be worse. I feel like I donít really know enough about Bingham and McKinney to accurately judge them but Iím not entirely certain that Iím overly confident in any of them. Depth on the D-Line is something we will probably have to address this offseason, I think that may be where we struggle most. I donít like Cesaire, but heís at least an average backup. The other guys Iím still not sold on.

Linebackers

Iíll start with the main guy in Merriman. His sack numbers were down, and he missed a game due to injury, but I think he actually took a step forward as a player. His coverage skills improved tremendously and I think he crossed the threshold from being a good run defender to a dominant one. Towards the end of the year he was the best guy I saw in the league at chasing down the run from the backside, ala Lawrence Taylor. Phillips on the other side, was just as impressive, really taking another step forward in establishing himself as a premier guy in the league. Their performance was very reassuring this year, and should be stronger next year with Cotrell allowing them to rush more, and also by getting used to the defense. Jyles Tucker looked like he might be a gem as an Undrafted Free Agent. He showed some big potential at the end of the year, and could be an adequate backup to Merriman and Phillips. Moving to the inside, Cooper and Wilhelmís play this year was a pleasant surprise. They complement each other perfectly I feel, and without Wilhelm, the defense seems very lost and complacent. He is vital to our overall success as a defense. Dobbins we saw a little early in the year but I wasnít a huge fan of him yetÖhe seems like just a backup. The guy Iím most curious to see is Anthony Waters next year, having had time to fully heal. He looked great in preseason, so weíll see how he developed. Siler was a monster on special teams this year.

Secondary

Cromartie. One word, that basically sums up the turnaround of our defense. The guy is a bona fide stud and should only keep getting better. He was a steal, not a reach at 19 in the draft, and as helped bolster AJís status as a draft genius. Opposite him was Jammer, who had a down year with interceptions, but is the perfect complementary guy to Cromartie. I really like Jammer, and he did great in the AFCCG, which unfortunately we couldnít seal the deal on. Florence in the slot I hate. Heíll be gone next year, and I really donít have much I feel like elaborating on with him. But he does leave us a void at nickelback. I see two possible options to replace him: Weddle or Oliver. Weddle Iím very big on, but because of that, I want to see him at safety. Oliver we saw very little of this year, but he was loaded with potential coming into the supplementary draft. Weíll have to make an evaluation this offseason because I know AJ likes having 3 solid cornerbacks. At safety, like I said, I want to see Weddle start. Iím not a fan of Hart or McCree, and I think one, if not both of them are gone next year. Safety is probably another major concern for us in the draft this year, and we may take one with our lone first round pick.

Special Teams

The Special teams play drastically improved this year. The coverage was great, and the work done by Kaeding and Scifres was tremendous. Scifres is in my opinion a top 3 punter in the league right now, and continues to come up clutch for us. Kaeding may have finally broken out of his postseason slump with a good performance against NEÖbut who knows.

Overall

Overall this team overcame a lot of adversity. From the firing of Marty, to the hiring of Norv, to Riversí early strugglesÖit wasnít easy for them to do what they did. All we can do now is continue to build on things. Rivers gutsy performance established him as the leader of this team, and they are all behind him. Weíve improved from last year and all we can do is take it to the next level. We donít have many draft picks, and we never make a splash in FA, so Iíd expect a lot of the same guys to be in the same spots next season. Lets hope Norv can build off his postseason momentum and really establish himself as a solid coach.
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Old 01-20-2008, 06:05 PM    (permalink
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Nice try you guys. If you guys had your main guys at full strength, I think yall would of had them.
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Old 01-20-2008, 11:51 PM    (permalink
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nice post. Good Season boys next year is the year no worries...
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:24 AM    (permalink
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Great job JK17. It's been great talking Chargers football with you guys all year long.

Couple of thoughts. First off, the offense. I would like to see us open the offense up a little bit more. While I've always been a fan of the power run game, I just see football evolving and becoming a more spread it out type of game. I disagree with you, JK17, when you say that Eric Parker won't have a role on the team next year. One trend I've been noticing is how important the slot reciever position has become, thanks to these more wide open offenses. While watching the Giants win these three road playoff games, I noticed how much better Manning is with Steve Smith in the lineup, who is an effective slot reciever even as a rookie. We all know about the great season Wes Welker has had. Parker fits this role well, he's a quick, compact guy who is a great route runner and very good after the catch. If he comes back and is healthy, he's one more weapon for Rivers.

On defense, I think we could use a few more secondary players. Another safety (again!) and nickelback, I mentioned this before but Acee says the team is going to probably cut Marlon McCree and I agree with him. I don't think AJ should be conservative in free agency. He's projected to be 43 million dollars under the cap and we're not talking about franchise player here, we're talking a nickelback and a safety. He was aggressive in going after Chambers, (a move I wasn't sure of at first) and that paid off, so I don't see why he should be modest in free agency when he has so much money to play with.

All in all, great season. I really believe that the Chargers finished the year as the second best team in the NFL (or third, if by some miracle the Giants pull the upset). The playoff monkey is off of this team's back, the last hurdle left is the Super Bowl.
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:22 AM    (permalink
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Good post, very accurate and I agree with alot of it.

Looking back, I'm surprised that this 1-3 team made it so far in the playoffs. I'm surprised at Norvs enthusiam, motivational, and overall coachingskills as well as Cotrells effectiveness as a defensive coordinator. It's unfortunate that our season ended because we ran into the greatest team of all time, because it is my belief that we have that super team that coaches dream of.. the pressure defense and power running game that so many coaches in the history of the game have tried to get.

As for players in particular, on defnse Eric Weddle is the player I'll be watching most next year. I've said to a few of my fellow charger fans that I believe him not to be of an ideal size for our particular defense. But the more and more I look at the ballhawking nature of our defense, and the undeniable intensity and controlled fury that weddle plays with, it becomes clearer that he should be the starter. I belive that in this upcoming draft we will not draft a safety in the first round. My guess is, that Weddle takes Marlons spot and Hart starts for us next year as well. I believe our draft pick will be either a versitile defensive lineman or an offensive lineman.

on offense theres gonna be alot of reasons to watch: will VJ continue to impress? what will happen at fullback? the progression of rivers, gates lt etc... but 2 players ill be watching in particular will be mcneil and buster. I'd like to see buster in the slot because i feel he is the best suited person for the position. And ill be watching to see if we can be lucky enough to get a willie roaf-orlando pace type player for the next 15 years..

congrats to the chargers for making it as far as they did.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:35 PM    (permalink
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Watching phillip rivers all year ive always said he loses confidence fast and is inconsistant but as he played more and more he become more confident the way hes matured this year has really impressed me a lot i may have talked bad about rivers but hes shut my mouth im really interested to see him in the future.

As for runningbacks everyone expected him to have another huge year like the year before, but what he didnt have is the same oline, meaning them playing like they did last year just dominate, without that line LT did what he could do, and a guy that has been overlooked so many times sproles i love this guy he is the real pinball imo sproles > turner, if we lose turner i really think we dont need to worry aboutt finding a back up people talk about the rb duos they have well we had the runningback trio

acquiring chris chambers was a huge relief getting some attention off gates opening up more spots on the defense, getting chris chambers really turned things around

jk pretty much summed up the rest for me just some of my thoughts
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:20 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Diego Chicken View Post
Great job JK17. It's been great talking Chargers football with you guys all year long.

Couple of thoughts. First off, the offense. I would like to see us open the offense up a little bit more. While I've always been a fan of the power run game, I just see football evolving and becoming a more spread it out type of game. I disagree with you, JK17, when you say that Eric Parker won't have a role on the team next year. One trend I've been noticing is how important the slot reciever position has become, thanks to these more wide open offenses. While watching the Giants win these three road playoff games, I noticed how much better Manning is with Steve Smith in the lineup, who is an effective slot reciever even as a rookie. We all know about the great season Wes Welker has had. Parker fits this role well, he's a quick, compact guy who is a great route runner and very good after the catch. If he comes back and is healthy, he's one more weapon for Rivers.

On defense, I think we could use a few more secondary players. Another safety (again!) and nickelback, I mentioned this before but Acee says the team is going to probably cut Marlon McCree and I agree with him. I don't think AJ should be conservative in free agency. He's projected to be 43 million dollars under the cap and we're not talking about franchise player here, we're talking a nickelback and a safety. He was aggressive in going after Chambers, (a move I wasn't sure of at first) and that paid off, so I don't see why he should be modest in free agency when he has so much money to play with.

All in all, great season. I really believe that the Chargers finished the year as the second best team in the NFL (or third, if by some miracle the Giants pull the upset). The playoff monkey is off of this team's back, the last hurdle left is the Super Bowl.
We're only 32 million. The 43 million is the Titan's. That being said, I see us taking care of our guys first before we do anything in FA. Guys like Igor, Castillo, and Merriman have to be taken care of first before we bring someone from the outside in.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:40 AM    (permalink
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Great post. I think that we win that game with LT and Gates. I'm proud of our guys; their performance was very gutsy. I think if Marty were still our coach, without Gates and LT, we would have just sat on the ball and gotten blown out. The Marty question was answered though. I think, whether the answer is Norv Turner or not, the answer is not Marty. Teams that are successful have working relationships between coach/GM. AJ Smith and Marty by the end could not be in the same room. You can't win like that. Last nite, on ESPN radio, I think Todd McShay pointed out, that year 2 is the year where we see how good Norv is. Bill Callahan took Oaktown to the SB his first year. End of story. Will we develop Norv's Offense and Ted's D or regress.
In Norv's defense though, he was very different in the playoffs then the regular season. He was fiery on the sideline and in the conference room, which is just as important. Good season, the draft is NEXT!!!!
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:32 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Diego Chicken View Post
Great job JK17. It's been great talking Chargers football with you guys all year long.

Couple of thoughts. First off, the offense. I would like to see us open the offense up a little bit more. While I've always been a fan of the power run game, I just see football evolving and becoming a more spread it out type of game. I disagree with you, JK17, when you say that Eric Parker won't have a role on the team next year. One trend I've been noticing is how important the slot reciever position has become, thanks to these more wide open offenses. While watching the Giants win these three road playoff games, I noticed how much better Manning is with Steve Smith in the lineup, who is an effective slot reciever even as a rookie. We all know about the great season Wes Welker has had. Parker fits this role well, he's a quick, compact guy who is a great route runner and very good after the catch. If he comes back and is healthy, he's one more weapon for Rivers.
I actually like Eric Parker, but if we only keep 5 WR I think he ends up being the odd man out...I think Buster Davis will be that slot guy, but I agree that it should be an important slot. The only way I see Parker coming back is if we keep 6 WR (CC, VJ, Buster, Naanee, Osgood, Parker). I think Osgood does to much on ST to not keep him, and Naanee is so versatile we can't afford to lose him either, which makes Parker the odd man out. Though I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up as the 4th WR (Naanee and Osgood I wouldn't want in that spot...Osgood I don't want out there as a WR, and Naanee I like in more versatile roles as opposed to lined up split out).

As Rivers continues to develop we'll see a bigger passing game I think. With LT obviously aging we can only stay a running team for so long. The leadership role is being shifted to Rivers on the team, and its only a matter of time before it becomes a passing offense I feel. That being said, I'll never want to see LT anywhere but SD, and doing anything but what he does best in our offense. As long as he's here and effective I like him as the centerpiece. But Rivers will be there longer then LT, and its only a matter of time before it becomes about him.


And also, its been great talking Chargers with all you, it was my first year actaully posting on a forum and it was a lot of fun...I learned a lot.
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