AFC West: Tony Gonzalez. Todd Haley
July, 3, 2009
By Bill Williamson | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Let's rank the offenses in the AFC West.
In making our decision, we considered every aspect of the unit. We took into account the passing game, the running game, blocking and coaching. Here is how we saw it:
|Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images|
|The Chargers' offense runs through Philip Rivers.|
Of course, it all starts with quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers, 27, is emerging as one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL after three seasons as a starter. He threw for 4,009 yards last season.
His top targets are tight end Antonio Gates, who remains a premier player at his position, and receiver Vincent Jackson. A big receiver, Jackson is a deep threat who has a penchant for making big plays in important games.
Rivers works well in Norv Turner's system. Turner might have his detractors based on his work as a head coach, but his prowess as an offensive coach cannot be denied. Rivers has made strides under Turner.
The Chargers' run game is also top notch, even though superstar running back LaDainian Tomlinson is showing signs of decline. Still, Tomlinson, who turned 30 in June, has to be counted as a 1,100-plus yard rusher until he proves he can no longer produce. His backup, Darren Sproles, is a key.
The diminutive Sproles is a terrific change-of-pace back who has proven he can help win games when Tomlinson is out. Expect to see Sproles get more carries this season as Turner tries to utilize both running backs.
San Diego's offensive line isn't as strong as it was a couple of years ago, but if the unit can stay healthy and rookie Louis Vasquez can come along at guard, it should be fine.
Overall, this is a strong group and the best offense in a division that is fairly decent on that side of the ball.