Everywhere I go I hear about how great the San Diego Chargers are. Even here at MileHighReport.com, the most sacred place a Bronco fan can go, the Charger worshipping is getting out of hand! Are the Chargers good? Yes. Are they as good as everyone says they are? I don't think so.
The Chargers are a Paper Tiger. Their leaders are immature and selfish. No amount of talent can make up for those two weaknesses. San Diego is supposed to be this vaunted team stacked with talent and depth. Where exactly? What depth are you people referring to? We can all recognize that this team has gotten into the heads of our beloved Broncos, but have they gotten into the heads of the Bronco fan as well?
Here is the most recent depth chart I could find for the Chargers. It was last updated on March 21, 2008. Looking through the list, I don't see any worthwhile backups that could start on any other team except for maybe Billy Volek. I wonder if the Chargers got this stigma because of Michael Turner. For the Broncos, we got several backups that have been NFL starters for other teams. Colbert, Parker, Manuel, Wiegmann, McCree, Boss Bailey, Pittman have all be starters for other teams. Some more than others, but the point is that the depth on the Broncos team is still much, much deeper than what the Chargers are fielding in 2008. In any case, the mantra of the "incredible" depth of the Chargers has been decidedly disproven.
So what about talent? Apparently, the Chargers are one of the most talent laden teams in the NFL. I'll name those players who I think definitly fit into this category. LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Shawne Marriman, Luis Castillo, Antonio Cromartie, and Darren Sproles on special teams. That's two offensive guys, three defensive guys, and one special teamer. On the Broncos, I see quality talent in Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Tony Scheffler, Champ Bailey, DJ Williams, Elvis Dumervil, and Eddie Royal on special teams. Sure Eddie Royal hasn't even played a game yet, but there is no denying the threat he will pose from day one returning kicks. However, for the sake of fairness I will exclude him. I still count three offensive guys and three defensive guys. I am also curious to see how great LDT will do without Lorenzo Neal. Everywhere I look, the Chargers appear to be nothing more than an over-hyped, over-rated paper tiger. Sure, a paper tiger can still give you nasty paper cuts, but blowouts should not occur to the Broncos in 2008. At least not when facing this hollowed out, arrogant football team.
I know I have written about this before, somewhere, but it's now time to compare these two teams yet again, because I obviously did not get through to many of you the first time.
Phyllis Rivers vs. Jay Cutler
I just don't see any category that Rivers beats Cutler in. Arm Strength. No. Accuracy. No. Game Management. No. Leadership Skills. No. Rivers is just a punk who acts childish in victory and in defeat. I am sure many will disagree with accuracy or with game management, but I think these two are about even in the accuracy department and Cutler edges Rivers in game manamgement because of his late game heroics. The Broncos win our at the starting quarterback position.
Billy Volek vs. Patrick Ramsey
Volek has the potential to be a solid starter in this league on many other NFL teams. Ramsey has been a starter for another NFL team and did not live up to his first round status. I still think that they rank pretty evenly because of Ramsey's experience accounts for about as much as Volek's potential.
San Diego RB vs. Denver RB
Obviously, any team that has LDT will rank among the tops in the league. But what happens if he gets hurt? The Broncos have the depth right now to suffer two, even three injuries and still have a quality running back available to come in and play. I hope this doesn't happen, but I feel better knowing we'd be okay. Charger fans should be worried about what happens if LDT goes down for any significant time. Sproles wouldn't last long being the feature back. San Diego gets the edge here if LDT stays healthy, but the Broncos get the edge if LDT misses more than four games in 2008.
San Diego WR vs. Denver WR
The Chargers have next to nothing at this position. They'd have a bunch of no names playing if either of their starters lose any playing time. The Broncos on the other hand have a solid mix of proven veterans and rising stars on the roster. BMarsh obviously is our go to guy. Stokely in the slot and several guys fighting it out for the other starting spot. Of course, Eddie Royal and Sammie Parker could prove to be reliable deep threats heading into the season. The Broncos should light up the scoreboards this season, even in such a talented AFC West in regards to defensive backs.
San Diego TE vs. Denver TE
Basically this comes down to Antonio Gates versus Tony Scheffler and Daniel Graham. Together I think we beat Gates easily. The depth alone of having two solid starting tight ends proves to be more advantageous than having one super stud who could leaving a gapping hole in your offense if hurt.
San Diego OL vs. Denver OL
This is my most glaring question heading into 2008. I'll have to give the edge to San Diego, but only because I am not sure what I am going to get from our OL this year. My gut tells me it'll start gelling after the first month of the season, but only time will tell. Either way, our depth alone is impressive when compared to last year.
San Diego DL vs. Denver DL
Now this is San Diego strength on defense. They obviously beat us on the line, but we have the youth and talent potential to be great as well. It all depends on how our line works together. Is Jarvis Moss going to live up to his first round status? Will Marcus Thomas continue to develop? Many questions and not enough answers, so San Diego gets the nod in this area even though it appears on paper that the Broncos may have tremendous depth on the line.
San Diego LB vs. Denver LB
The Broncos have too many questions on defense to win out here either. San Diego has Shawne Merriman and even though we have DJ Williams, he is again going to be starting at a new position next to two new starting linebackers for the Broncos. The Chargers get the nod here as well.
San Diego CB vs. Denver CB
By virtue of depth and Champ Bailey, the Broncos beat out the Chargers. Sure the Chargers Cromartie and Jammer played at a higher level last year, the Broncos Bly and Bailey are hungry and look to become a dominating force this season. Top it off with probably the deepest depth of any team in the league at the CB position and the Broncos handily win out at this position.
San Diego Safeties vs. Denver Safeties
This position was a glaring weakness in 2007, but by adding solid veterans like McCree and Manuel the Broncos have turned their secondary into a formidable force. The Chargers look somewhat thin at the position and again lose out to the Broncos in the depth department. Edge to the Broncos again.
There you have it. The Chargers are not the greatest team on the face of this great Earth. They are not even in the Top 5 as far as I am concerned. They are an immature team with talented starters and very little depth. I predict a 9-7 season for them this year. The question for Broncos fans is simple, will our guys be angry enough and hungry enough to overcome the mental block they have had when it comes to matching up against the Chargers. As it stands right now, the Chargers OWN us...and will continue to OWN us until both the Bronco players and the fans realize that the Chargers are nothing more than a Paper Tiger. Let us be the shredding machine for that paper.