Given the lackluster quality of the AFC West a year ago, it seems fair to ask if underachieving is even a humiliating enough term for the San Diego Chargers 7-9 finish in 2012. The once prolific Bolts offense sputtered and looked incapable of finishing games of while the defensive secondary had lapses in concentration that allowed two epic comebacks in back-to-back weeks. There aren’t many things to be proud of if you are a fan of the Bolts, but here are some reasons why those things can be put in the past sooner rather than later.
MATURING, YOUNG DEFENSE
Obviously the buzzword of potential is predominantly used with the NFL Draft this time of year, but the Chargers’ defense has plenty of upside to offer in the coming seasons as well. The club is fully committed to a youth movement now with nearly every player on that side of the football under 30 years of age in the upcoming year. Signing cornerback Derek Cox who is just who is just 26 and is a big physical corner at 6’1” 195lbs. shows a real focus on getting younger and better at positions of need.
OFFENSIVE LINE OVERHAUL
Quarterback Philip Rivers was running for his life more often than not during the 2012 season. A lackluster offensive front was to blame for his lack of production, and their inability to open up running lanes only further underscored the issues that the passing game faced. With additions like King Dunlap, Chad Rinehart, a new blocking scheme, and a few picks in the upcoming draft we can presume, the Bolts appear poised to put those leaky line concerns behind them.
What seemed most obvious to those who watched Norv Turner’s era with the Chargers in its entirety was that he could not motivate a team to save his life. That lack of passion, urgency, and the need to make the kill shot really doomed the team in their two unforgettable come from ahead losses to the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos on prime time television. Mike McCoy brings in a new attitude that has already been convincing players that things are heading in the right direction, and it seems like only a matter of time before that talent comes together with a belief and solidarity that leads to wins.
If it seems like the 2012 Chargers were worse than their 7-9 record actually indicates, that might not be that far off with four of those seven wins coming against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders who select first and third overall in the upcoming draft. Thankfully there is a new regime in town now and the Bolts appear ready to begin their rise back toward a fight for the AFC West crown in 2013.