Bolts Begin Next Phase of Rebuild
By Andrew Burer
It’s about that time of year again.
The NFL Draft is upon us. Voluntary workouts have begun. Optimism is oozing.
This is when the NFL season starts.
Last year, high hopes were plentiful in January when the San Diego Chargers’ new regime stepped in. The early optimism of 2013 was just as much a mystery as it was a glimmer of hope. With a new coaching staff and a new regime running the show, anything different than the mediocrity of years past would have garnered such feelings.
But this year, those feelings are no longer overshadowed by what the team may or may not be like under new management. For the Chargers, now it’s about building upon what they accomplished last season, instead of laying the foundation.
“There’s not as many unknowns, so we can really hit the ground running,” Philip Rivers said after the team’s first voluntary workout. “As far as where we are, it was figuring out how we were going to call a play, what do we call in a formation, and still a lot of getting to know one another. Now, it’s get right into it and building off what we did. So, from a comfortable standpoint, from an understanding of what the expectations are and how we do things, it’s a night-and-day difference.”
The reality is that it’s a night-and-day difference from season to season. And the Chargers know that. A four-game win streak and a road-playoff victory don’t guarantee wins in 2014.
“I think it’s quickly realizing, hey we were 5-7, we were struggling there for a bit,” Rivers said. “It wasn’t like we were lights out all year long. I think we take what we can take and quickly put that one behind us and try to become a team again. ... We had a special group last year, the way we came together, the way we fought together, the love we had for each other, so we got to rebuild that and it starts this time of the year.”
The rebuilding process is much smaller in scale this time around. The focus is entirely X’s and O’s, not getting to know the new coaching staff, the work flow or the new terminology.
Now is when the Chargers begin honing in on their deficiencies from a year ago (red-zone efficiency and the lack of takeaways come to mind).
“The thing now is just details, details, details of every little thing that we can just get even that much better at,” Rivers said. “We know what this game is. That much of a difference is a championship or find another way to win a playoff game and keep staying alive. So, I think just focusing on those details and now that we have a year under our belt, we can do that a little more precisely because we all know it a year better and a year more than we knew it when we came in here last year.
This is the perfect time of the year to start that process.”