If the Eagles are to be believed, it never rains in California. But fans of the Chargers would have to acknowledge that there are certainly some storm clouds surrounding the Bolts as the 2015 season approaches. With the teams long term home a matter of serious speculation, the unsettled outlook of the QB regarding a potential move, a “conditioning error” by a team leader that will prevent him from suiting up for a quarter of a season AND a seemingly inevitable split from the best defensive player on the roster (contract rebel Eric Weddle), you’d forgive most fans for adopting a seriously pessimistic attitude.
On the field, there are many reasons to be cheerful, however. There is a real chance that the balance of power in the AFC West, held recently by the Denver Broncos, could be ripe for a shift. With Peyton Manning coming to the end of his reign as NFL quarterbacking royalty, the division looks more wide open than it has for years. In Phil Rivers, the Chargers still boast one on the best QB’s in the game, with Keenan Allen Malcolm Floyd and former Bills star Stevie Johnson a more than passable trio of wideouts for him to target. Antonio Gates suspension does hurt, given his famous chemistry with Rivers, but physical phenom Ladarius Green has been waiting for a chance to emerge. Rookie running back Melvin Gordon could be the long term answer to a question posing the team since LT left, namely who is the next bell cow back, and with Branden Oliver and Danny Woodhead in support the ground game should be considerably improved from last year. The West, a division that produced three playoff teams in 2013, looks very winnable at the moment.
There is a danger, however, that off field events sabotage whatever progress is made on the field. Cleveland fans of a particular age can attest to how news of a move can derail a team, however talented. Should news break during the 2015 season that the team will be leaving San Diego, fan support and morale could bring this team to its knees. Rivers has made it apparently clear that living in LA is not in his future, so the team could find itself heading to a new home with a seriously disgruntled and uninvested franchise cornerstone.
This team has a very high ceiling, namely the potential of a division title and a first home playoff game since Obama’s first term. But the floor, namely erosion of popular support and a limp to the finish line, is a sight not far from the eyes of all Chargers fans. With so much uncertainty regarding on field matters, the sooner the focus becomes the games the better.
You can follow Neil Dutton UKEndZone fantasy writer, fantasy Correspondent for FantasyPros, and contributor to GridironExperts at @ndutton13.