In Week 2 of the San Diego Chargers‘ 2013 campaign, they lost Malcom Floyd in what appeared to be a career-threatening neck injury. Without their best receiver, the Chargers still managed to put together their best season in almost five years, finishing the year with a 9-7 record before being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
Philip Rivers, who got a great deal of help from key players on the roster, led the Bolts to their first playoff berth since 2009.
Behind Rivers gathered a group of players who were determined to help their quarterback get the Chargers back on the right track. Keenan Allen emerged as one of the best young talents in the league, finishing the year with 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. Their new addition, Danny Woodhead, provided a huge spark out of the backfield alongside Ryan Mathews, who had his best season as a pro. Antonio Gates also had his best season in years, pulling down 77 receptions for 872 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
The Chargers are entering the 2014-15 season with loads of optimism, especially after learning that Floyd is recovering well from the injury that threatened his days as a professional football player. Floyd was recently cleared for light workouts and is out of the neck brace he used for months. All signs are pointing in a good direction for both Floyd and the Chargers. The team also inked Donald Butler, their best linebacker, to a long-term deal.
One question that remains to be answered is whether Danario Alexander, who missed the entire 2013 season with a knee injury, will be ready to lace up his cleats for the upcoming season. If so, the Chargers could possibly have one of the best receiving corps in the NFL. Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal would be their fifth and sixth offensive options at best, and they are better than most third-string WRs in the league. Woodhead’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will open up lanes for the Bolts’ top playmakers.
With Gates looking as good as he has in a while and the emergence of Ladarius Green, the Chargers’ aerial attack could be virtually unstoppable — that is as long as Rivers continues his rise in the ranks of elite quarterbacks. The Chargers’ balance of size and speed on offense will be their best weapon. If the defense can play up the offense’s potential and give them time to produce, then I think the Bolts could have the most effective offense in the league in 2014.
Even if Alexander and Floyd are not healthy enough to start the season, the Chargers are still in prime position to return to the playoffs and maybe go even further than they did this past season. With those guys, this team could put themselves in position to enter the playoffs as one of the top two teams in the AFC. Only time will tell how it all plays out for the Bolts, but fans in San Diego should be very optimistic about their team’s direction.