The 2016 season for the San Diego Chargers will be huge. Not only for the impending stadium vote that will decide the future of the team in the city of San Diego, but for the Chargers team itself which has a limited window of opportunity with an aging quarterback at the helm.
Philip Rivers has never missed a start in the NFL since being named the teams starter. He has started 160 straight regular season games for the Bolts. For the past 10 years Chargers fans have had Rivers behind center and that is a great thing. Coming from a fan who lived through the Billy Joe Tolliver, John Friesz, Mark Malone and a head-banded Jim McMahon (late 80’s and early 90’s), it has been a pleasure to see Rivers in action on a weekly basis.
The team has gone the extra mile in order to protect Rivers recently. D.J. Fluker was drafted. Orlando Franklin was signed as a free agent before the 2015 season and Matt Slauson was signed last week. The team has also drafted Donovan Clark and Max Teurk this season to protect their franchise QB. Protecting Rivers is priority for the Bolts if they want to move the ball. He cannot afford to take any unnecessary hits. Philip Rivers is getting up there in age and one tough blow could be a catastrophe for the Chargers season.
There are tons of things to be excited for in the upcoming season. The Chargers rookie class this upcoming season is excellent. Joey Bosa, Hunter Henry and Teurk are all breakout candidates for the 2016 season, but for this list we have stuck to established Chargers that are due for a big year. The list is always debatable but these particular players should enjoy career years with the Bolts.
Having Denzel Perryman next to him for the entire year will definitely help Te’o. He has all the ability in the world but injuries continue to be an issue for him. The team drafted Joshua Perry in the draft from Ohio State. Perry has “Mic LB” experience and could push Te’o to perform at a whole new level. Having competition is a great thing. Hopefully Te’o can stay healthy and become the player the Chargers envision him to be.
Health issues have also plagued Johnson lately in his career. A shoulder issue made him unproductive last season, but a healthy Johnson could easily reap the benefits of Rivers new weapons. Travis Benjamin and Hunter Henry give Rivers two new potential targets and when you factor in Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen, who’s gonna cover Johnson? A big year could be in store for this veteran. Keep an eye on Stevie.
Drafting Joey Bosa gives the defense an immediate player to focus on. As long as Bosa grows as a player he will likely be the focal point of the defense. If the defensive coordinator is concentrating on Bosa, then that leaves the speedy Melvin Ingram free to wreak havoc from the other side. He could easily record double-digit sacks if he can stay healthy. Like all three players on this list, health has been a concern for Ingram early in his career. Look for Ingram to eclipse all his personal bests if he suits up every Chargers game.
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