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NFL's finest roster should finally produce NFL's finest team

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Nick Canepa

    Union-Tribune Columnist
    10:39 p.m. July 28, 2009

    Maybe we should be tired of saying it, maybe we shouldn't. The Chargers have the most talented roster in the National Football League, one that includes an elite, efficient quarterback, and athletic pedigree covering most every blade of grass. If the key components to their engine remain serviceable (which hasn't happened lately), they should win the Super Bowl.

    I've picked them before and been wrong. I'm picking them again, thinking this time they won't pay much attention to anything I – or anyone else – has to say in late July, and gather some alfalfa prior to Columbus Day. Thinking, this time, they've matured and can remain nearly as healthy as they are this week, as training camp begins.

    Hopefully, they don't believe in the San Diego Curse.

    “I have no idea what the San Diego Curse is,” General Manager A.J. Smith says. “Even if I did, my response would be that it's ridiculous.

    “I don't predict. I believe this is a playoff-caliber team. I believe we have a coach who can take us there and give us an outstanding opportunity to win the Super Bowl. Absolutely, I would be disappointed if we're not in the playoffs.”

    It all begins with the AFC West, which appears three-quarters awful from every perceivable angle. Barring an inhumane rash of injuries, if the Chargers don't win their division, everyone should be fired, and that includes you, me, the mayor, City Council and anyone else who cares.

    It's hard for players not to read and hear their notices without having it bite their rear ends. But, while skeptics abound – can head coach Norv Turner really get it done? (hardly an awful question) – I'm not a lone wolf baying this premonition.

    Can they handle it? That's it. The NFL is many things, and a whole lot will have to go right before booking a February flight to Miami. Dame Fortune plays an enormous role, as we have seen. But, for teams aspiring to greatness, it's all about pressure – and what you do once it batters your chops.

    The Chargers are football's great paradox. They play uphill. For some inexplicable reason, they do better in cold than they do in warmth. This they once again proved in 2008, when, after a brutal 4-8 start that had football morticians rubbing their hands, they finished 8-8 and tiptoed into the postseason – thanks to a total Denver collapse – and even beat Indianapolis in a thrilling playoff game.

    The Chargers are 12-2 in December and January through Turner's first two years on the bridge (an astonishing 9-0 in his Decembers). But last year they started 0-2, which included the Ed Hochuli disaster in Denver. In 2007, they began 1-3.

    “I need to know who can operate in pressure situations, but I also need to have pressure to know that,” Smith says. “I know our head coach can. There's a huge difference between the regular season and the playoffs, because they're special for special players and special coaches. That's when you discover your weaknesses.”

    I don't believe in the injury excuse, but I also believe the only way to adequately replace a Pro Bowler is with another Pro Bowler.

    Two years ago, in the AFC Championship Game loss in New England, injured tailback LaDainian Tomlinson shouldn't have suited up, tight end Antonio Gates'bad toe made him more decoy than threat and quarterback Philip Rivers played despite having knee surgery the week of the game.

    Last year, they shouldn't have made the playoffs. Linebacker Shawne Merriman opted for knee surgery after the first game. LT (toe and groin) played hurt the entire season, Gates and receiver Chris Chambers had bad ankles, cornerback Antonio Cromartie went on with a fractured hip (and it showed).

    Shall I go on? Humor me and count the lost Pro Bowlers. Hard to win that way.

    The loss of Merriman, the league's most dynamic defender, hurt most, because he's the type who makes those around him better – teams must prepare for him – and most of the defenders were not adequate in his absence.

    But the preseason hype was there, as it is now, and maybe these guys thought too much of themselves.

    “I think it's part of it,” Smith says. “It's part of the growing process. Young guys, especially, can get caught up in how great you are. You get smacked in the head and realize it isn't this easy. There has been a transition period, coaching changes and scheme changes, and injuries. You can get knocked to your knees.

    “Can you learn from it? There's phenomenal pressure in the playoffs, and these guys have been there. I love the experience factor on this team. I believe we've outgrown guys reading articles and having pictures in their rooms. If they haven't, we have a bunch of guys on this team who will remind them.”

    There's a difference between being a champion and acting the part. It's one thing to grab the rope. Great teams don't let go.
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    I'm very optimistic for our chances this season, but then again ... it's that time of year.

    If you listen to the player interviews, most of them do have a different tone. More serious. More determined. More .... ready.

    I want to see less on-field celebrations & more reasons to have them.

    I want to see less chest-thumping & more opponent thumping.

    I want to see less hanging on for the win & more keeping our foot squarely on the other guy's throat until the fight ends.

    I want to see less lapses of concentration & more commitment to being in the game every play for the full 4 quarters.

    I want to see less talk & more walk.

    I want to see less might have been & more how sweet it is.

    I want less disrespect & more talk about how we earned our place with the other champions.

    I want to shove the Lombardi that we will win this year right up the nay-sayers' asses. :icon_twisted:

    Now - quit tweeting & let's go win a championship. :icon_toast:
  3. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

    Oct 3, 2006
    Besides a strong team, a unique gameplan and a very good roster, you just need to have luck to win the trophy.

    .. at least it's the coolness the Steelers showed with the last
    drive, coming from behind vs. Arizona.

    San Diego has the window to get it done - no doubt - we juts have to execute.

  4. 17Rocks

    17Rocks Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2006
    "There's a difference between being a champion and acting the part. It's one thing to grab the rope. Great teams don't let go."

    If they don't win a championship this year there will be plenty of "rope" to go around...
  5. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    I don't believe in the window is closing BS... AJ has put a team together to win every year and will continue to do so... the window is always open for superbowl run ... :yes:​

  6. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

    Jul 27, 2007
    I hear you JL, but the time is NOW to win that damn thing finally! :tup:
  7. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    That thing surrrre is sexy. I want a parade dammit!!!
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