The San Diego Chargers needed to make several moves to improve a team that finished the 2011 NFL season with an 8-8 record. The Chargers needed to add a pass rusher because they were tied for 23rd with the Cleveland Browns in sacks. San Diego added Melvin Ingram in round one of the 2012 NFL draft. Ingram finished his 2011 season at the University of South Carolina with 10 sacks following a nine sack season in 2010. San Diego ranked 20th against the run last season, so they added veteran outside linebacker Jarret Johnson and strong safety Atari Bigby. San Diego also added strong safety Brandon Taylor in round three of the draft.
Kris Dielman retired during the off-season leaving a void at the guard position, center Nick Hardwick was considering retirement and left tackle Jared Gaither was a free agent. The Chargers re-signed Hardwick and Gaither, which was key because after San Diego picked Gaither up off waivers, Philip Rivers threw 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions in his last five games after throwing 16 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in the first 11.
San Diego was tied for 25th with the Oakland Raiders in punt return yards. The Lightning Bolts added veteran return man Roscoe Parrish in the off-season. Parrish led the NFL in yards per punt return in 2007 and 2008 and had an average of 11 yards per return in 2010. Parrish only appeared in two games last season for the Buffalo Bills, but San Diego also added Eddie Royal who had an average of 16 yards per return on 12 attempts with a touchdown last season. San Diego ranked 13th against the pass which looks solid in terms of their ranking, but they faced the third fewest pass attempts and only five teams allowed a higher quarterback rating. Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer need to play better in 2012.