The San Diego Chargers fell just short of joining the postseason party last go-around, but all the pieces are in line for the Bolts to make a huge playoff push this coming season. Here are three things we learned about the Chargers this offseason:
3) Focus is on Philip Rivers
Chargers management has expressed optimism that they'll be able to get a contract extension done and relatively soon, but either way the Bolts will have one of the unsung elite NFL quarterbacks in their corner for 2015. Rivers' competitiveness makes all of his skill-position weapons better. You're never far out of a game with him under center, and in this QB-focused league, that's HUGE. Now, they want to make sure he ends his career as a Charger.
2) Focus on younger, more athletic defense
Drafting Gordon was huge, but the true story of the Bolts' 2015 NFL Draft was their dedication to pure speed on defense. Linebacker Denzel Perryman (2nd round), cornerback Craig Mager (3rd), edge-rusher Kyle Emanuel (5th), and defensive tackle Darius Philon (6th) all ran 40-yard dashes at the NFL Combine under five seconds. This is a part of San Diego's master plan to infuse its defense with an unstoppable mixture of fresh (and fast) legs and unquestionable athleticism. That, combined with the men already in two, will reap major dividends for the team in 2015.
1) Melvin Gordon is the answer in the backfield
Ryan Mathews is a heck of a talent, but the injury bug kept him from truly living up to his potential with San Diego. Danny Woodhead, Donald Brown and Branden Oliver are still around, but the brightest spotlight in the backfield will be on dynamic first-round pick Melvin Gordon. He's was a truly transcendent force in college and all indications point to his unique skill set translating to the pro game. If and when that happens, the Bolts will have one of the most varied and talented running back corps in the league.