SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Chargers will be among the most exciting teams in the NFL to watch in 2014, and that’s not just optimistic fan-speak.
The players believe it too. What’s more, they believe they can compete for a championship.
“We can win it all,” said veteran safety Eric Weddle on Wednesday after practice. “We’ve added some pieces that we’ve needed both defensively, offensively. Got our guys back (on) special teams.”
“We’re a year better, a year better under the system…We play our best and we stay healthy for 16 games, we can beat anybody.”
With the sting of an AFC Divisional Round loss to the rival Denver Broncos in the back of its mind, San Diego is looking to exceed expectations this season and take that next step in the postseason.
While Weddle was optimistic, wide receiver Eddie Royal was measured in his outlook when pressed about the Bolts’ chances to make good on their aspirations.
“It’s a different team,” said Royal. “So you got a lot of the core guys back, but at the same time we added some pieces and flip-flopped some things, so we really got to build that chemistry back up again.”
There is no doubt the Chargers look like a team with a real shot to win in the postseason.
From their established offensive weapons in Ryan Mathews, Antonio Gates, and Malcom Floyd to their still-developing pieces in Keenan Allen and Ladarius Green, Philip Rivers has all that he needs around him to show he can build on a strong 2013 campaign.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers have more reason to exude confidence.The roster features experienced, proven players in Dwight Freeney, Weddle and Brandon Flowers, but also has budding talent in first-round pick Jason Verrett and second-year linebacker Manti Te’o.
The 2014 squad has the capability to produce a double-digit win season, but their history of untimely losses and a tough schedule will be challenges to overcome. In addition, facing the NFC West will be a true test to see where San Diego sits among the NFL’s best.
The AFC West won’t be a walk in the park, either.
This may not be a Super Bowl-or-bust year for the Chargers, but the postseason continues to beckon another talented roster.
Photo Credit: Chris Gray /Getty Images
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