San Diego Chargers’ Weaknesses Turned Into Strengths and Vice Versa

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San Diego Chargers: Weaknesses Become Strengths, Strengths Become Weaknesses

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is a time for teams to strengthen their weaknesses and shore up areas of concern looking ahead to the upcoming campaign. Many times problems that manifest early in a season tend to linger throughout that year and become bigger burdens on clubs than originally anticipated by the time things come to a conclusion.

On the other side of that coin, maintaining areas of strength is just as difficult in today’s free agency era of the NFL. With successful players looking to cash in on their big performances, chances are slim for teams to hang on to players that have outplayed their current deals due to cap constraints that face every franchise.

For the San Diego Chargers, the team definitely saw some transition in several different areas of their roster that will have a serious impact on the 2013 season. The Bolts improved significantly in some areas but may have taken a step backwards in others.

The new coaching staff and front office is justifiably excited to see what this retooled roster can do in the upcoming campaign. After three straight years of missing out on the playoffs, the Chargers have fallen from the likes of trendy Super Bowl pick to a chic postseason sleeper heading into 2013. While that isn’t an ideal situation to be in, sometimes lowered expectations can be a blessing in disguise for a team on the rebound.

Several areas will look completely different from a year ago in a very positive way, but some positions will be a bit more of a question mark heading into 2013 than they were last season. Here are some of the positions where the Chargers have gone from a weakness to a strength as well as some where they have gone in the opposite direction and made a strength a potential weakness.

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Copy Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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Running Back

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Weakness to Strength

The struggles of Ryan Mathews have been well-documented, but now that Danny Woodhead has joined the team via free agency, having a shared backfield will be an ideal situation for both guys. Injuries have plagued Mathews, but a smaller potential workload should allow him to stay healthier. Woodhead brings tons of versatility and a reliable third-down presence that will be very useful in the passing game and in pass protection.

All in all, running back saw a serious upgrade in the offseason.

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Wide Receiver

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Weakness to Strength

After a year where this position went from a super strength to abysmal, it’s nice to finally go in the other direction again. Adding Keenan Allen in the draft was an absolute theft in the third round, and he could see serious playing time as a rookie. Injuries depleted the Bolts at receiver last year, but entering the season they could go six deep with Malcom Floyd, Danario Alexander, Vincent Brown, Allen, Robert Meachem, and Eddie Royal. Royal may actually find himself on the chopping block should Allen impress enough in training camp.

Just getting Brown back from the broken ankle that kept him out all of last season is enough to classify this as a definite weakness turned strength.

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Offensive Line

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Weakness to Strength

It’s hard to get much weaker than the offensive line was a season ago. The sieve that the Chargers attempted to protect Philip Rivers with gave up 49 sacks a year ago and never allowed their quarterback to get comfortable in the pocket. Additions of Chad Rinehart, Max Starks, and King Dunlap in free agency will provide solid competition. Throw in the first round selection of D.J. Fluker which allow false-start junkie Jeromey Clary to kick inside to guard and this unit saw a serious upgrade. Switching to a zone-blocking scheme can’t hurt either as offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris comes over from the Buffalo Bills this season.

Stalwart Nick Hardwick returns at center as the one consistent performer on this line, and his presence will allow this group to be a true strength in 2013.

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Cornerback

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Strength to Weakness

Calling cornerback a strength is stretching it a bit, but it’s important to acknowledge that the team did likely downgrade here this season. Lifelong Bolt Quentin Jammer is gone as is former first rounder Antoine Cason. Two new starters in free agent addition Derek Cox and either Shareece Wright or rookie Steve Williams figure to be manning the corners this season. Cox has been injury prone in the past, and the other two options don’t have much of a track record.

Call me cynical, but until these guys can prove it out on the field, this is a definite step backwards for the Bolts in 2013.

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Tight End

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Strength to Weakness

This one might raise a few eyebrows, but Antonio Gates is losing the battle with father time having turned 33 this offseason and Randy McMichael was released. While Ladarius Green has potential and newly signed John Phillips will be solid as a blocker, I’m not very enthusiastic about this position. Gates has to stay healthy and show some pep in his step for me to reverse my thinking here.

Green could be called into action if there is any kind of injury issue with the future Hall of Famer, and I just don’t think he’s ready for that quite yet.

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Copy Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.


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