4 things the San Diego Chargers must address during offseason
What happened to the San Diego Chargers? It wasn’t long ago that they were Super Bowl contenders and now they find themselves in the cellar of the AFC. Poor coaching, subpar quarterback play, an ineffective ground game and an injury riddled offensive line can collectively be listed as legitimate reasons for the Chargers decline. The good news for San Diego fans is that several NFL teams have proven that it’s possible to turn things around quickly. If the Chargers hope to compete in the AFC West in 2013 they’ll have to answer prior to the start of the season.
Coaching: This is the biggest question the Chargers have to answer this offseason as it will dictate the tempo of the organization for the next several years. It’s unlikely that they’ll do it but if the Spanos family wants to show Chargers fans that they are committed to fielding a winning team then they organization must bring in a big name head coach. Retreads, who have previously failed, such as Norv Turner, are not the answer. The Chargers should beg someone like a John Gruden or Bill Cowher to come coach the Bolts.
Quarterback: What’s the deal with Philip Rivers? He’s undergone one of the quickest drop-offs in performance in recent quarterback memory. In his ninth NFL season, Rivers hit a five-year low in passing yards and touchdowns in 2012. Additionally Rivers has been turnover plagued the last two seasons with 27 in 2011 and 28 in 2012. No team can win with that kind of quarterback play and the issue must be fixed immediately.
If the Chargers choose to explore free agency the most attractive quarterback out there is Joe Flacco, but it’s unlikely that the Ravens will let him walk. What the Chargers should do pick up a veteran with starting experience like a Matt Moore or Tarvaris Jackson. This would give them a viable option at quarterback in the event a new coaching staff can’t turn Rivers’ around.
Additionally the team should look to pick up a quarterback in the third or fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Maybe someone like a Landry Jones from Oklahoma and develop him as their quarterback of the future.
Ground game: San Diego thought that they had found a replacement for LaDanian Tomlinson when they drafted Ryan Mathews with the 12th pick in the 2010 draft. Besides the fact that there’s no such thing as replacing Tomlinson, Mathews has been injury plagued throughout his three-year career missing 10 games. In 2012 Mathews had a career low in rushing average (3.8 yards) and touchdowns (1 TD). That won’t get it done in the NFL.
There are several big name free agents who could be available to bolster the Bolts backfield in 2013. Reggie Bush, Rashard Mendenhall, Felix Jones and Shonn Greene could all be options to spell Mathews on occasion or permanently in the likelihood that he becomes injured again. Mike Tolbert of the Carolina Panthers used to be the back that filled that role and enjoyed some of his most productive seasons while in San Diego.
It’s doubtful that the Chargers will use a high draft pick on a running back but if Alabama’s Eddie Lacy is available in the third round he would be hard to pass on.
Offensive Line: The Chargers have the 11th pick of the 2013 NFL draft and will likely use it to strengthen their O-Line. Offensive Tackle Jake Matthews, son of NFL Hall of Fame Center Bruce Matthews, should be definitely on the teams radar in round one. Rebuilding a solid offensive line will ultimately help improve the quarterback and running back play.
From GM to head coach and free agency to the NFL draft, the decisions the San Diego Chargers make this offseason will surely shape the future of their franchise. Hopefully the decisions are solid and a winning culture can be reestablished in San Diego.
Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth.