Over the next month, "SportsCenter" will put every NFL team "On The Clock." Scouts Inc. will break down each team and look at what questions still need answering. The Chargers are up next.
The biggest addition is head coach Norv Turner, who has his third head coaching job. While he is generally regarded as a solid offensive coordinator, Turner's teams in Oakland and Washington underachieved with him as head coach. From a personnel standpoint, Smith has been outstanding. The Chargers have not added a free agent this offseason and don't need to. Smith has done an excellent job adding players through the draft. More importantly, he has done an excellent job extending contracts of players he drafted and keeping them off the market. The biggest offseason addition was getting guard Kris Dielman back after he went out to test the market. They also did a good job getting OLB Shaun Phillips, center Nick Hardwick, right offensive tackleShane Olivea, ILB Matt Wilhelm and ILB Stephen Cooper signed before they were allowed to hit the market.
The biggest loss is clearly Schottenheimer. Say what you want about his 5-13 postseason record, this is a guy who has won 205 games in the NFL and knows how to coach. From a personnel standpoint, the team lost ILB Donnie Edwards. Smith has never been a fan of Edwards, but Edwards played at a Pro Bowl level last season and kept the defense together when Shawne Merriman was serving a four-game suspension and
Shaun Phillips was hurt. The team also released starting SS Terrence Kiel. He had off-the-field issues this past season and was released to send a message that the team wants to clean up the locker room. Veteran WR Keenan McCardell was waived and ILB Randall Godfrey is an unrestricted free agent who was not brought back. Both players are clearly on the downside of their careers.
The biggest questions this team faces are: How will it react to Schottenheimer's firing and will the players buy into Turner's program? It is almost unfathomable that a team that went 14-2 could have a new coach, but that is the situation San Diego finds itself in. From a personnel standpoint, this team is as talented as any in the NFL. It has all the pieces in place for another Super Bowl run except for a No.1 WR. The biggest thing this team needs is a playmaker to take the pressure off TE Antonio Gates and RB LaDainian Tomlinson. If the Chargers can find a No.1 WR, they are as good as anyone on paper.