Welcome to the first installment of the Sideline Chronicle, a weekly column discussing various topics in the world of sports.
March is a month dominated by basketball with March Madness in full effect and the NBA playoffs approaching rapidly. For my first issue however, I want to discuss football and how the offseason of the San Diego Chargers has gone leading up to the NFL draft in April.
Last season the Chargers finished with a disappointing 7-9 record missing the playoffs for the third straight year. With the Denver Broncos starting to take over the AFC West, San Diego is going to have to make some drastic changes if they want to compete for the division.
Here are the biggest losses for the Chargers so far this offseason:
CB Antoine Cason
CB Quentin Jammer
OT Jared Gaither
LB Takeo Spikes
DT Vaughn Martin
San Diego suffered some damages on their defense will the loss of two of their top corners in Cason and Jammer. For a defense that has had difficulty stopping the pass, they will have to work hard to replace these two talented players.
Along with the secondary, the Chargers need to figure out a way to fix a big hole at the tackle position after the departure of Gaither. The offensive line has been sub-par at best in recent years and San Diego needs to find a way to fix that immediately.
The Chargers will most likely look to the draft to fix the issues at tackle keeping a close eye Oklahoma player Lane Johnson or Alabama tackle D.J. Flucker but depending on who is available at the number 11 spot, San Diego might just have to pick the best available player just to add overall talent to the squad.
Though some might disagree, the Chargers have made some attempts this offseason to try to improve with the additions of:
CB Derek Cox
RB Danny Woodhead
OT King Dunlap
TE John Phillips
Cox is the biggest improvement this offseason for San Diego bringing in a young guy who can develop takeaways and fill the holes at one of the corner positions. Dunlap will give more depth to the offensive line while Woodhead and Phillips will assist an offense that finished towards the bottom of the pack last season.
The Chargers will have to get a lot through the draft and the rest of the offseason if they want to be able to compete with Denver. One thing is clear, drastic improvement is needed under the new coaching staff if the Chargers are to stay relevant in the AFC.
With improvements to the offensive line, San Diego will once again be able to protect their quarterback Phillip Rivers and blog for running back Ryan Matthews who has failed to have a breakout year for his team.
I believe the Chargers will have a much better year in 2013 finishing with a 10 win season. If they are going to the playoffs it is more likely to happen through the wild card rather than winning the division. The Broncos are too talented not to get the favorite for the AFC West.