Jan 1, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) passes the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. San Diego defeated Oakland 38-26. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NFL Preview: San Diego Chargers

Another day, and another NFL team previewed for the 2012 season. This time, the San Diego Chargers are the team in the spotlight. Of all the teams in the AFC West, the Chargers are the one I least think of as a Seahawk’s rival. I think it’s because the Chargers and Seahawks were rarely good at the same time.

Helping me out this time is Ernie Padaon from Bolt Beat.

Biggest Team Need Heading Into Offseason: Pass Rush

Key Free Agents Retained: Jared Gaither, Antonio Garay
Key Player Additions: LleRon McClain, Robert Mechem, Eddie Royal, Jarret Johnson, Atari Bigby, Melvin Ingram
Key Players Leaving: Vincent Jackson, Kris Dielman

Quick Thoughts on Draft: We lucked out with Melvin Ingram falling into our laps. He was the player that we were hoping for and never thought that he would be available at our spot. Now we have a versatile defensive player that we can move all around the defense. The rest of the draft filled some depth on the roster that we needed.

Quick Thoughts on 2012 schedule: The schedule will not be easy, but we have to win our games against the AFC West and the rest of it will sort itself out.

Most Interesting Roster Battle: Strong Safety. We brought in Atari Bigby who will be the favorite to win the job, but there are a pair of youngsters, Darrell Stuckey and Brandon Taylor, that will have a good chance to take it.

Biggest Strength Heading Into 2012: Offense. Philip Rivers is running the show and he can’t have as bad a year as he had last season. Even in a bad season, he put up monster numbers.

Biggest Weakness Heading Into 2012: Head Coach. Norval Turner is still calling the shots and we all know that is not a good thing.

Biggest Question Still To Be Answered: Can Jared Gaither put together a whole season at left tackle? Can Ryan Mathews keep his paws on the ball? Will Philip Rivers bounce back? How bad will we miss Kris Dielman? Can we put pressure on the quarterbacks?

2012 Prediction: 11 wins and we will see what happens from there.
The Charger’s talent is beginning to erode. They were perhaps the league’s most talented team just a couple years years ago, but that isn’t the case anymore. Make no mistakes though, they is still talent there.
The problem for the Chargers, at least from my point of view, is head coach Norv Turner. Turnerjust has never been one of the coaches that get the most out his players. Instead, his team seem to ritualistically underperform. As long as Turner is there, I just can’t consider the Chargers as a realistic contender.

Tags: Chargers Norv Turner Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers