Chargers still in flux after schedule release

Running back Brandon Oliver (43) had a productive season last year for the San Diego Chargers. Photo Credit: Kevin Reece/News4usonline.com

There’s been a lot of questions and little or no answers this offseason around what is going to happen with the San Diego Chargers. From the NFL Draft to stadium housing, it seems as if the Chargers has been on the clock since their last game back on Dec. 28 when they fell to AFC West rival-the dreaded Kansas City Chiefs.

The NFL Draft, scheduled for April 30 to May 2, should answer a lot of those questions. In regards to the stadium issue, that’s a little bit more complicated and a lot more to digest than picking a player of the future.

Will it be UCLA signal-caller Brett Hundley? How about enticing fans with a trade and the selection for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, college football’s reigning Heisman Trophy winner? Will the team really ship off star quarterback Philip Rivers to get younger? What about the gap at the running back position now that injury-prone Ryan Mathews is now in Philadelphia?  Coach Mike McCoy and his staff has that covered. Well, almost.

After solidifying the cornerback position by re-signing Brandon Flowers, the Chargers are left with trying to nail down All-Pro safety Eric Weddle for life and decide what the future will be for Rivers, the cornerstone of the franchise for over the past 11 years. With the release of the annual NFL schedule, there’s bound to be more questions around the future of Weddle, Rivers and the team as a whole as the countdown to Sept. 13, when the Chargers host the Detroit Lions at Qualcomm Stadium, begins .

The Chargers have an interesting schedule for the 2015 season. After opening up against Detroit, the Chargers then hit the road to take on Cincinnati and Minnesota before coming back home to play Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Game 6 will be against Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay, with Oakland next and a date with Baltimore following thee home contest against the Raiders.

Philip Rivers has been the cornerstone for the San Diego Chargers for years. Photo Credit: Kevin Reece/News4usonline.com
Philip Rivers has been the cornerstone for the San Diego Chargers for years. Photo Credit: Kevin Reece/News4usonline.com

The second half of the Chargers’ schedule is more of a redundant exercise against AFC West opponents with the exception of games against Chicago (Week 9), Jacksonville (Week 12) and Miami (Week 15). The Chargers have a formidable schedule in front of them. What they have to decide is to into the 2015 season with or without their offensive and defensive leaders in Weddle and Rivers, both of whom are in the final year of their contracts.

One of the top five passers in the game, Rivers has clearly been the established face of the franchise. But approaching the age of 34, the question becomes how much gas left in the tank does Rivers have to continue his excellent play?  Can the Chargers afford not drafting a quarterback of the future? How about Weddle, the Chargers’ top defensive player the last few seasons? The anchor of the Chargers’ secondary, Weddle, a three-time All-Pro player, would be an extremely hard player to replace.

What the Chargers do in the draft will say a lot in the direction the team is going. The offeseason has proven to be a great tool  for the  Chargers as the team have upgraded and made improvements via free agency. Outside of Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal, both considered to be disciplined route-running, possession-type receivers, the Chargers sorely lacked speed on the outside. They answered that need by signing flier Jacoby Jones from the Baltimore Ravens and claiming former Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers burner Stevie Johnson.

They’ve beefed up the offensive line by re-signing King Dunlap and signing Orlando Franklin and plugged in a dynamo for their defensive front with Mitch Unrein now in the mix. But getting players is immediate need for the team.

Getting those players in the right venue to play in is an even larger item the Chargers are trying to deal with and must deal with soon. With a bidding war basically going on in the cities Carson and Inglewood for the right to place an NFL franchise in the Los Angeles market, the Chargers are in that mix and have a lot of stake in the matter.

The questions now become unavoidable to stakeholders and fans. Where will the Chargers be playing its brand of football in the next year or two, or beyond? What are the San Diego Chargers prepared to do for the future of the franchise now that that the release of the  NFL schedule has been unveiled? We’ll soon find out.

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