If ever a team was the poster child of “statistics lie and liars use statistics”, it’s the San Diego Chargers. Finishing 1st in the NFL in both offense and defense, the Chargers failed to make the playoffs in 2011 finishing with a 9-7 record.
When a team ranks this high on offense and defense and loses, you usually don’t have to look much past the turnover differential. The Chargers were 23rd in the NFL at -6.
Special teams were the main reason for the Chargers shortcoming, particularly early in the season. This translates into needed depth at LB and in the Secondary that they will build via the draft.
Most teams say the draft is their lifeblood, but no team has built more exclusively through the draft than the Chargers. Until the recent signing of Safety Bob Sanders formerly of Indianapolis, only two of the Chargers starters began their careers elsewhere.
This bodes well for the chargers who have 5 picks in the first 90 selections in this years draft; picking up the Jets 2nd rounder for Antonio Cromarti and the Seahawks 3rd rounder for QB Charlie Whitehurst.
The Chargers top priority is probably an edge rushers 2009’s 1st round pick Larry English has been disappointing. An elite pass rusher will allow new DC Greg Manusky, to get pressure on the QB without having to heavily rely on the blitz.
The Chargers are going to be tested with one of the toughest schedules in the league. As I noted earlier, west coast teams fair poorly when they have to travel east. The Chargers will do that 3 times as they face Jacksonville, New England and the New York Jets all on the road. They also have to face the NFC North as their out of conference opponents and you can throw in Baltimore just for good measure.