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 »This Week in History
Los Angeles Chargers
INSIDE SLANT

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  Rivers says Chargers can be 'pretty dang good'

The Los Angeles Chargers not only tied a big bow around their offseason workouts on Thursday, but the same could be said for their nearly six-decade stay in San Diego.

When the team reunites again it will be in Orange County for training camp. The final minicamp practice in San Diego is complete as the Chargers pack up their gear and head north.

It's been an eventful offseason, to say the least, with the team deciding to move to Los Angeles. But don't overlook what happened on the field as the Chargers set sail to begin, what they call, "the fight for L.A."

Really it's a battle for the AFC West. And the Chargers, who have missed the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons, know their quickest way to the postseason is by winning their division.

Good luck with that.

"We are going to need to be pretty dang good," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "I do believe this could be the toughest division in football. We will find out, I guess. They don't give out any spring division championships, but I think we have a chance to be pretty good."

Rivers is always upbeat, but he's not just blowing smoke. Despite winning but nine games in the past two years, a tailspin that cost head coach Mike McCoy his job, there are some nice pieces for the Chargers to build around.

New head coach Anthony Lynn, of course, will lean on Rivers. The veteran quarterback will direct a unit that has the potential to be ultra explosive considering its versatility and talent.

First-round pick Mike Williams (the gifted wide receiver's balky back willing), joins Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry and Tyrell Williams (a 1,000-yard receiver season last year).

There's running back Melvin Gordon, who fell just shy of 1,000 yards rushing last year.

"It's an exciting group, a deep group," Rivers said. "In certain offenses, certain schemes you go, 'we just need this big-time receiver and just sprinkle anyone else around him because you know how the offense is going to work through him.'

"With ours, it's best to have what we have right now. Gosh who knows where the ball is going to go with five, six receivers, three or four tight ends, three or four running backs all can contribute."

There's a rebuilt offensive line, with fresh bodies in impressive rookies Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney; veteran Russell Okung is on board, too.

The defense is making the transition to a 4-3 scheme under new coordinator Gus Bradley. It's a defense that features Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on the edges, veteran Brandon Mebane leading the line and a Pro Bowler in Jason Verrett at cornerback.

That's a compelling group for the gung-ho Bradley to work with.

There's promise in San Diego, oops, Los Angeles, for the upcoming season. The Chargers will try to make a good first impression, returning to a place they once called home in 1960.

But the Chargers are about looking ahead for better days after basically a dreary decade of mediocre football. They just might have the squad to pull it off.


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