Chargers Seek More than the Division Title
Shawne Merriman (Shana Siler/
Shawne Merriman (Shana Siler/

Posted Sep 8, 2009

The Chargers head into the season seeking yet another AFC West title but oh so much more. If believing in window of opportunities, this seems to be a critical year for the Chargers to reach the second Super Bowl in franchise history.

Philip Rivers is back leading a potent offense, and Shawne Merriman's return from a serious knee injury should give the defense a boost.

But LaDainian Tomlinson, on the back side of 30, could be in his last year with the Chargers. And while the Chargers took care of Rivers with a new contract, others seeking deals include left tackle Marcus McNeil, wide receivers Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson and Merriman.

So if the Chargers are going to do something special - with this core group of players anyway - this seems to be the season.

Throw in the fact that the Chargers play in the watered-down AFC West, and a playoff invitation is all but in the mail.

But winning the division title isn't on the top of the Chargers' goals for 2009. They aim to do something super by advancing to the title game in Miami.

LB Shawne Merriman
Shana Siler/

1. Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman returns to his Pro Bowl form to aid a woeful pass defense.

2. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson shows he still has game after turning 30 years old and coming off career-lows in rushing yards and carries.

3. The right side of the offensive line performs at a high level so one of the NFL's most potent attacks can be utilized to its fullest.


RB Darren Sproles: After being designated the team's franchise player and given a $6 million contract, can the undersized Sproles take the pounding as a return man and a reliable back?

DT Jamal Williams: The three-time Pro Bowler is the key to the team's 3-4 alignment. If Williams falls victim to injury or Father Time, the Chargers' defense will be impacted.

ILB Kevin Burnett: A special teams standout in Dallas gets his first chance at starting. The Chargers are eager to add his athleticism to an active unit.

CB Antonio Cromartie: Two years ago Cromartie lead the NFL with 10 interceptions. It went to his head and he had only two picks last year and was routinely picked on by quarterbacks.

WR Vincent Jackson: Can he continue his ascend as one of the NFL's top receivers? He is coming off a 1,000-yard season, the first by a Chargers wideout since Curtis Conway in 2001.

QB Philip Rivers: He has a rich contract and is coming off a breakthrough season where he tied for the NFL lead with 34 touchdowns passes and was first with a 105.5 rating - both franchise marks. Can he reach those numbers again?

Related Stories
Where Are They Now? Safety Marlon McCree
 -by  Sep 7, 2009
Tyson Q's: Fantasy Football Corner
 -by  Sep 5, 2009
Game Scout: Raiders vs. Bolts
 -by  Sep 11, 2009

> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
ILB Kevin Burnett (profile)
CB Antonio Cromartie (profile)
QB Philip Rivers (profile)
RB Darren Sproles (profile)
DT Jamal Williams (profile)
[View My HotList]