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Behind Enemy Lines: San Diego Chargers

Rivers and Manning can duel for the AFC West's Funniest Expression in 2012.
Rivers and Manning can duel for the AFC West's Funniest Expression in 2012.

2011 Recap: The Chargers once again had a roller coaster season. They started off the year 4-1 before their bye, and then promptly lost six straight after it. They recovered from that skid to make a run for the AFC West crown, finishing 8-8 and losing a three-way tie for first in the division.

Offseason Review: I think the biggest decision San Diego made was to retain both AJ Smith and Norv Turner for this season. Turner was brought in to get the team over the hump and into the Super Bowl but his teams have failed to live up to expectations. The team lost Vincent Jackson in free agency to Tampa Bay but brought in Robert Meachem to offset it. Jarret Johnson was signed from Baltimore to man an OLB spot and hopefully revitalize the defense.

Draft Review: In my opinion the Chargers had a tremendous draft. MCM favourite Melvin Ingram was drafted 18th, and they followed up that pick with Kendall Reyes. Both of those two players should make a difference this year immediately. Smith continued to add to the defensive side of the ball with third round pick Brandon Taylor. Keep on eye on David Molk, taken in the seventh round. A lot of MCMers, including myself, were interested in selecting him earlier in the draft.

Hit the jump for individual player spotlights and the view from

Most Dangerous Player to the Titans: Philip Rivers' many facial expressions provide internet fodder, but he will continue to be the Titans biggest challenge in this matchup.

Overrated Player: At this point Ryan Mathews has not shown enough to warrant the 12th pick in the draft. I thought he'd be a great player, but he's into now-or-never territory.

Underrated Player: I thought Eddie Royal was underrated in Denver and he should prove to be a valuable asset in the Chargers offense. Having a good slot receiver is a must in the pass-friendly NFL, and I like the acquisition of Royal even more than the Meachem signing.

Insider Info: After a recommendation from commenter Father of Zeus, I asked John from to provide some thoughts on the Chargers potential this year.

Kind of a complicated answer. The 2011 Chargers were hindered by injuries to their offensive line, Antonio Gates and (possibly) Philip Rivers. Not to mention, the defense and pass rush was atrocious. This year, it's a rebuilt offensive line, Gates and Rivers are (currently) healthy, and a new Defensive Coordinator (John Pagano, who has never been a DC before) has been chosen to fix the issues on that side of the ball. So, in reality, we have no idea how good or how bad the Chargers will be. We don't even know what kind of schemes the defense will run.

The offense will be roughly the same as it has been with Rivers and Norv Turner, but it's really hard to stop no matter who is on defense. The defense could be anything.

My Thoughts: I'm still stunned that Norv Turner is a head coach in this league, but there is no question his Rivers-led offense is lethal. That strong passing game will continue to create issues for our defense. John mentioned that the defense is a major question mark but I'm really interested to see how the draft additions impact it. The Chargers have historically been a tough matchup for the Titans, and I wouldn't expect otherwise this season.