2013 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS PREVIEW
June 28, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
2013 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS FOOTBALL PREVIEW
LAST YEAR: 7-9, 2ND IN AFC WEST
COACH: MIKE McCOY, 1ST YEAR
The San Diego Chargers went through a disappointing 2012 season. With disappointment comes change. The Chargers overhauled the front office and the coaches staff with Tom Telesco taking over as the GM and Mike McCoy as the new coach. Telesco and McCoy went to work first on rebuilding the offensive line to protect QB Phillip Rivers. OT King Dunlap was signed as a free agent as was LG Rich Ohrnberger. The Chargers used their first round pick in the draft on OT D.J. Fluker (Alabama). Fluker will play right tackle for the Chargers.
Ken Whisenhunt was hired as the new OC. Whisenhunt could be good for Rivers as he continues to develop as an NFL QB. Whisenhunt has coached QB’s Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner. Rivers had a very poor 2012 season as the Chargers fell to 24th overall in the NFL in passing offense. It may not get better in 2013 if the Chargers don’t find some receivers to get excited about. There is no clear #1 receiver and right now it is unclear who will fill that role. The choices are Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal and Danario Alexander. Keenan Allen was selected in the third round out of Cal. The Chargers were just about as bad in running the football, ranking 27th overall. Ryan Mathews is back and Danny Woodhead comes in from New England.
The Chargers defense kept San Diego in most of their games ranking 9th overall. John Pagano is returning as the DC and most of the talent is back as well. S Eric Weddle and DE Corey Liuget return as the core of the defense. San Diego signed CB Derek Cox (Jacksonville) to help shore up the pass defense and Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o was selected in the 2nd round. Te’o should be a consistent inside LB for years to come. Two 2012 draft picks LB Melvin Ingram and DE Kendall Reyes must step up in 2013 if the Chargers are to get better. Losing Shaun Phillips and his nine and a half sacks will be hard to replace, especially since he signed with the Broncos.
The Chargers aren’t ready to challenge the Broncos yet in the AFC West but with the changes, they are heading in the right direction.
2012 IN REVIEW:
TOTAL OFFENSE: 297.2 (31ST)
RUN OFFENSE: 91.3 (27TH)
PASS OFFENSE: 205.9 (24TH)
TOTAL DEFENSE: 326.4 (9TH)
RUN DEFENSE: 96.4 (6TH)
PASS DEFENSE: 230.1 (18TH)
2013 CHARGERS DRAFT
Round 1, Pick 11 (11th Overall)
D.J. Fluker, RT
I still don't totally understand this selection. If D.J. Fluker is going to be the cornerstone of your offensive line, then your offense is going to be heavily based around the running game and probably isn't going to be running a Zone Blocking Scheme.
So, why bring in Joe D'Alessandris to be the Offensive Line Coach when his resume shows him to be a "Zone Blocking" guru that has helped install the scheme at every place he's been?
Also, why bring in Danny Woodhead, who isn't going to challenge Ryan Mathews as an every-down "power running back"? Are they comfortable with building the San Diego Chargers offense around Ryan Mathews now?
I can see how improving the running game could take some pressure off of Philip Rivers but doesn't the lack of a starting-caliber Left Tackle sort of even that out?
I have nothing against Fluker. If this were a team that was a piece or two away from going to the Super Bowl, like the Pittsburgh Steelers for instance, I would love this pick. However, improving the RT spot when there are so many other holes on the roster is confusing. At this team, at this time, I have a hard time rating it as anything but "mediocre".
Many of those that didn't appreciate my initial reaction to the pick argued that Tom Telesco would find a Left Tackle in the 2nd or 3rd round and then I'd have to shut my mouth. Well, he didn't, and now Rivers' blindside will be protected by King Dunlap or Eric Winston or maybe Bryant McKinnie, all of which are available because they haven't been very good Left Tackles, in what will be the most crucial season of his career. That's scary to me.
Round 2, Pick 6 (38th Overall)
Manti Te'o, ILB
Another head-scratcher of a pick.
Just like I would like the Fluker selection if the Chargers didn't have so many holes, I would love trading up for Te'o if I thought the team could afford to be throwing away 4th round picks.
If this was just a 2nd round selection, I'd love it. Te'o dropped down draft boards for silly reasons, and everyone seemingly forgot that he was the best Linebacker in college football in 2012 and almost single-handedly carried the Fighting Irish to the national championship game.
My grade is for this being both the 38th & 110th selections combined, which takes a lot of the value away from it.
Round 3, Pick 14 (76th Overall)
Keenan Allen, WR
I love this pick. When I watched Allen last season, I saw a WR that was very strong. Strong hands, strong cuts, and someone that could simply out-tough opponents.
I've heard comparisons to Anquan Boldin, but I think a better comparison is Michael Crabtree. Boldin was a 2nd rounder and Crabtree went in the 1st round. Allen has some knee issues that will keep him from competing for a starting spot this season, but if he can get 100% healthy he could be the team's #2 WR for years to come.
Round 5, Pick 12 (145th Overall)
Steve Williams, CB
This pick showed me that Telesco knows and understands that Chargers' roster. Steve Williams is a possible improvement over Marcus Gilchrist at Nickel CB, which allows Gilchrist to either challenge for the starting spot at outside CB or Strong Safety. That type of versatility comes only through roster depth, and Telesco just created that.
Round 6, Pick 11 (179th Overall)
Tourek Williams, OLB/DE
This is another pick that creates versatility. Williams is probably a better 4-3 DE than he is a 3-4 OLB, but there's a place for those types of guys on this defense. If he has a good preseason, Williams could be kept on the roster for someone that steps in for Jarret Johnson in the Nickel defense package. Seems a bit like a luxury pick.
Round 7, Pick 15 (221st Overall)
Brad Sorensen, QB
As per usual, the Chargers use a late-round draft pick on a QB that they hope can out-duel the current backup QB (which currently happens to be Charlie Whitehurst). Sorensen seems to have good tools but will need a good QB coach to fix his flaws and get him reading defenses quickly. Otherwise, he'll end up on the San Diego practice squad at best.
2013 CHARGERS SCHEDULE
Sept. 9 HOUSTON, 8:20
2013 CHARGERS ROSTER