While it goes without saying that the San Diego Chargers have experienced some unusual turnover this offseason, the fact that the team has nearly completely transformed its identity as well has been an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. From the decision making crew itself to the decisions that the men in charge are making, things have taken a turn for the better with the Bolts. There are several reasons why this offseason has been unlike any in the recent past, but here are a few of the most significant.
COACH & GM
Obviously Norv Turner and A.J. Smith are finally gone (finally). That has paved the way for two 40-year-olds to get the job done with the Bolts in Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco as head coach and general manager respectively. Their decisions have been less about asserting their superiority off of the field and more about returning to that feeling on it. In past years, adding key underrated players (Derek Cox, Danny Woodhead) are moves the front office would have turned its nose up at. Now that the team has made these sly additions for relatively affordable prices, the Bolts have players in their prime poised for a breakout.
VITAL VETERANS ADDED
Whether it is due to necessity or just because having some additional leadership is always a good thing, the Chargers now have some solid veterans in the locker room. The addition of Dwight Freeney was necessitated by the loss of Melvin Ingram to a torn ACL in minicamp, but he will no doubt bring an added dimension to the San Diego defense. Adding Max Starks at left tackle was obligatory due to Jared Gaither’s lazy ways earning him a pink slip this offseason. Starks will bring Super Bowl experience and some solid skills as a blindside protector to a team that desperately needs both of those attributes.
STAR-STUDDED 2013 NFL DRAFT CLASS
Names can only get you so far, but it’s been a long time since a draft didn’t include a Craig “Buster” Davis or a Larry English or a Jonas Mouton type selection. This time around, GM Telesco went to work on a marvelous draft class that has been lauded league-wide. Both first rounder D.J. Fluker and second round pick Manti Te’o figure to be week one starters while wideout Keenan Allen will provide a much needed reliable possession receiver to move the chains in a pinch. They may just be rookies, but the Bolts can expect veteran-like contributions from these three in year one.
It’s been quite a while since the optimism has been this high surrounding the Chargers heading into a season. Obviously there was always the token sentiment that ‘they have to put it together sometime’ and ‘why not now?’, but this time it seems to be more than just talk. The Bolts can expect to do most of their talking with their play under this new regime, and that’s much better than a mountain of unfulfilled hype, right Norval and A.J.?