San Diego Chargers – AFC West Preview

San Diego Chargers - AFC West PreviewThe San Diego Chargers lit the regular season on fire last season only to be eliminated in their first playoff game. Gone is “Marty Ball” with new Head Coach Norv Turner taking the throttles to a brilliantly gifted team. San Diego finished with 10 regular season wins and have 18 starters returning from the 14-2 team. With arguably the best football player in the NFL RB LaDanian Tomlinson the Chargers won’t be satisfied unless they are playing in the Super Bowl. has made the San Diego Chargers 6 to 1 odds to win Super Bowl XLII.

While Norv Turner has a poor winning perecentage as a Head Coach his offensive efficiency as a coordinator is undeniable. The San Diego offense is a well oiled machine that is balanced with ground and air assaults. QB Phiilip Rivers has a Dan Marino like quick release on his precise passes. Rivers makes quick decisions that is crucial to the quick strike air game that the bolts exercise. RB’s LaDanian Tomlinson and Michael Turner form the best running back tandem in the game. Tomlin son is all world and can do it all. LT runs like a cross between Barry Sanders and Walter Payton while receiving with cushioned hands. Turner is a nice compliment who runs behind his pads with some nice pop.

Antonio Gates is the best receiving Tight End in the game. Gates has the prototypical combination of size, speed and hands. WR Vincent Young is a big target who made some key TD catches in his first full season. WR Eric Parker is a smallish receiver with excellent body control to make the acrobatic catch. All the starters return to an O-Line that is athletic and has excelled in run blocking.

New Coordinator Ted Cottrell will continue to run the 3-4 D but will be less aggressive than former coordinator Wade Phillips. Whether a more conservative approach will be better remains to be seen. The Defenses centerpiece is run-stuffing NT Jamal Williams. Williams frees up the bolts linebackers to make plays and terrorizes opposing Quarterbacks. DE Luis Castillo is a perfect end for the 3-4 scheme. Luis is quick, insanely strong and has a very high football IQ. At the other end position DE Igor Olshansky is a run stopping specialist who plays like a DT with his ability to stack and shed defenders.

OLB Shawn Merriman led the league in sacks last season and the scary thing is that he can be even better. The San Diego Linebackers are a fierce unit. Merriman is “unblockable” and might be the NFL defensive MVP this year. Efficient ILB Donnie Edwards has departed but he will be replaced by sure tackling hard worker Matt Wilhelm. OLB Shaun Phillips is a another pass-rushing threat that can also hold his own in run support. The San Diego Chargers have the elusive shutdown corner that teams crave in Quentin Jammer. Jammer made tremendous strides last year with his physical style of coverage. CB Antonio Cromartie is an exceptional athlete with loose hips and 4.3 speed. With experience Cromartie could be special. Big hitting Safety Marlon McCree has great ball skills who is strong in run support.
The Kicking game is in good hands with the Pro-Bowl duo of K Nate Kaeding and Punter Mike Scrifes. Coverage and return teams are solid.

The San Diego Chargers are poised to make a run at the Superbowl with the most well-rounded roster in the NFL.

Brad Marchetti Opening Day San Diego Chargers Power Ratings: 20-80 Scale

20- Poor
30- Well Below Average
40- Below Average
50- Average
60- Above Average
70- Very Good
80- Great

Coaching: 50
Quarterback : 65
Backs : 80
Receivers : 65
Offensive Line : 70
Defensive Line : 70
Linebackers : 70
Secondary : 65
Special Teams : 70 has posted NFL odds to win the 2008 Super Bowl:

Arizona Cardinals
45 – 1

Atlanta Falcons
60 – 1

Baltimore Ravens
20 – 1

Buffalo Bills
100 – 1

Carolina Panthers
25 – 1

Chicago Bears
15 – 1

Cincinnati Bengals
15 – 1

Cleveland Browns
150 – 1

Dallas Cowboys
20 – 1

Denver Broncos
20 – 1

Detroit Lions
75 – 1

Green Bay Packers
45 – 1

Houston Texans
100 – 1

Indianapolis Colts
8 – 1

Jacksonville Jaguars
30 – 1

Kansas City Chiefs
60 – 1

Miami Dolphins
55 – 1

Minnesota Vikings
50 – 1

New England Patriots
5 – 2

New Orleans Saints
15 – 1

New York Giants
30 – 1

New York Jets
40 – 1

Oakland Raiders
75 – 1

Philadelphia Eagles
20 – 1

Pittsburgh Steelers
25 – 1

Saint Louis Rams
45 – 1

San Diego Chargers
6 – 1

San Francisco 49ers
20 – 1

Seattle Seahawks
20 – 1

Tampa Bay Buccanneers
50 – 1

Tennessee Titans
60 – 1

Washington Redskins
50 – 1