There is a wide variety of opinions and expectations regarding the San Diego Chargers in 2013. Some fans are expecting (and accepting) a season of rebuilding.
Ex-general manager A.J. Smith's last-gasp gamble to sign other team's free agents after years of avoidance has left the Chargers with a mess both on the field and on the books. It appears that this will be an offseason of frugality.
But will an increasingly cranky fanbase accept another season without a playoff berth? Some Boltheads might reply "yes" only if it appeared the team was headed in the right direction.
Is Tom Telesco "dumpster diving" for players due to the salary cap mess left by the former regime?
Telesco wasn't the GM in his former post, Indianapolis. However, the Colts "rebuilt," beginning with the jettisoning of Peyton Manning and the drafting of Andrew Luck. This approach landed the team back in the playoffs.
The Chargers did the same thing after the 2003 season and saw an eight-win improvement in their regular-season record. Sadly, it did nothing to improve their playoff mark. Marty Schottenheimer's big-game problems never left once he arrived in San Diego.
The biggest rebuilding effort that Telesco and McCoy have on their hands may be in restoring fan confidence. Boltheads were divided on the impact and appropriateness of Ryan Mathews' comments to Steve Wyche and Eric Davis on NFL Network last week that the team grew complacent under Norv Turner.
While this could hardly have been a surprise to anyone watching the Chargers for the last three years, Mathews has not accomplished enough thus far to point fingers. It's more than a little disconcerting to hear that the team felt they were "owed" wins based on the fact that they were ousted in the first round of the playoffs the season before Mathews arrived.
Of course, there are also fans who wonder if the Bolts even plan to stay in San Diego for the long haul. The negativity and frustration is only exacerbated by the fear that the Bolts might be some other city's burden in the future.
The biggest thing Telesco and McCoy must do is convince fans that these won't be the "same old Bolts." It will be no easy task; the aforementioned cost-cutting has alienated as many fans as it has impressed.
Mathews' comments suggest to some fans that the Chargers' issues are finally on their way to being resolved. Others see the airing of dirty laundry by the team's least dependable and durable running back as proof that it's still business as usual on Murphy Canyon Road.
The one thing that all Charger fans can agree on is that they deserve better than what they've gotten from their team. Hopefully the new regime can give it to them.