Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Apr 2010

ESPN: The Marshall Plan For...The Chargers

We've got an article up on ESPN today regarding the Brandon Marshall trade and what it means for the AFC West -- namely, that the Chargers can print up their AFC West Division Champs shirts about now.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 14 Apr 2010

15 comments, Last at 18 Apr 2010, 9:46pm by Brendan Scolari


by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 04/14/2010 - 3:57pm


What exactly makes a Jamal Williams-less Chargers better than a Raiders team starting Bruce Gradkowski all year? Even if we assume DHB, Louis Murphy, and Chaz Schilens don't improve at all (which is probably silly), the Raiders can run the ball and play decent defense, and even last year played respectable football even against tough opponents like Cincinnati.

Even if you think, as I do, that Denver is an 8-8 team, the Chargers haven't fixed anything on defense and appear to be planning on relying solely on Philip Rivers to win games for them. They are, basically, the Houston Texans circa 2008-2009.

I think either the Broncos with a few breaks or a lucky Raiders team could win the division.

by dancingeek@gmail.com :: Wed, 04/14/2010 - 4:52pm

Because the Chargers were a 13 win team last year when they were Jamal Williams-less for pretty much the entire season. They were also mostly Merriman-less in that he was hurt most of the year. He should be healthier this year.

by huh? (not verified) :: Thu, 04/15/2010 - 10:18am

Besides the fact that they were Williams-less for 15 games last year, and the Raiders have all but named Jamarcus as the starter for now?

They are, basically, the Houston Texans circa 2008-2009.

Except that they were 13-3, and they still have a chance to get better with the draft.

by geekosphere101 (not verified) :: Wed, 04/14/2010 - 4:38pm

I generally agree. The chargers can get a new back to put in an RBC with sproles in the first or second round, Williams is on the downside of his career, they may not have a replacement but flat out cutting him says a lot about his value.

I see the Bronco's as a train wreck team next year. They don't have a lot of players to fit the 3-4 scheme, especially on the interior, and the loss of Nolan will be felt. The offense will have a hard time being effective without Marshall, or as effective as they were with him.

Oakland is a joke, they proved last year that they have no idea who they are. One week they would show up and compete with a decent team, the next week they were the traveling circus.

Even if the charger's D sucks, no team in that division can keep up with Rivers and gang.

by JCRODRIGUEZ (not verified) :: Wed, 04/14/2010 - 4:43pm

First of all, OK, anything can happen in the NFL, but, being this far from the actual season to begin, I do not see anything that place the Raiders or the Broncos at the Chargers' level on THE most critical area of the modern NFL, being that the passing game; sorry, I just can't mention on the same breath Philip Rivers and any of the possible starters QB's for either Oakland or Denver, without smiling and feeling sorry for those guys.

by t.d. :: Wed, 04/14/2010 - 4:50pm

Just like the 2008 Pats

by Steve (not verified) :: Wed, 04/14/2010 - 7:16pm

The 2008 Pats won 11 games and barely missed the playoffs. 9 wins might be all the Chargers need to win the AFC West.

by Misfit74 :: Wed, 04/14/2010 - 6:42pm

I think the Chargers draft Cam Thomas in round 2 in order to replace departed Jamal Williams. I think they could also draft Jared Odrick in round 1 if both the elite RBs are gone. They need to beef up that D-Line if they are going to play English at OLB.

by are-tee :: Wed, 04/14/2010 - 6:54pm

Come on, isn't the loss of Marshall offset by the addition of Brady Quinn?

by San Marcos Landlord (not verified) :: Thu, 04/15/2010 - 2:55pm

As much as I would like to book my playoff tickets, and as much as I want to agree, it is preposterous to assume anything at this point. None of the teams has completed their rosters or even identified who all the roster candidates are. Sure, it looks like SD is currently the class of the division; but who the heck knows at this point.

by Brendan Scolari :: Fri, 04/16/2010 - 1:57am

Yeah, for all we know Rivers gets hurt in preseason and is out for the year (sorry for even bringing it up).

by Brendan Scolari :: Fri, 04/16/2010 - 2:06am

Just a pet peeve addressed at no one in particular, but assuming everyone commenting here values the stats used on this site (hopefully a safe assumption), can we use the great stats available to us and please stop bringing up how the Chargers were an elite team last year because they were 13-3?

Look at their DVOA, they were 11th in the league (13.6%) and the Broncos (11.9%) and Texans (9.4%) were basically as good as they were last year. So no, the Chargers are not a great team, the 2009 Texans are a pretty good comparable for their situation, and (barring offseason changes) there's no reason to think the Broncos can't compete with the Chargers.

by Jimmy :: Fri, 04/16/2010 - 12:11pm

A fair point well made.

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 04/16/2010 - 12:34pm

I think that's a reasonable point about the Chargers, but it's not really germane to the topic of them winning the AFC West in 2010.

The Chargers were 11th and the Broncos were 12th. However, as I wrote in the article, the Broncos are re-vamping both sides of their offense without their only receiving threat AND their defense is extremely likely to suffer more injuries than they did in 2009, neither of which DVOA (especially last year's, obviously) accounts for. With that in mind, they're extremely likely to drop in DVOA, particularly on defense. That doesn't even consider the nature of the Chargers' season -- riddled with injuries on either side of the line. The other two teams in the division finished in the bottom six in DVOA; perhaps one of them will make a sudden, unexpected run to post-mediocrity.

by Brendan Scolari :: Sun, 04/18/2010 - 9:46pm

I wasn't trying to argue that the Chargers won't win the division, I would bet quite a bit that they will, only that the reasoning used by the some of the commenters in this thread and quite a few other threads on this site is invalid.