Chargers camp setup: Can they begin as they ended?

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was picked off only 10 times last season.Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Philip Rivers is back and looking for an encore to a sensational season.

By Jay Paris, The Sports Xchange

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- It is Year 2 for the Chargers in Los Angeles and just maybe their second round comes with an AFC West title.

The Chargers embark on another season in California's biggest city -- actually their third if counting their AFL debut in 1960 -- and they do so with sights set on their first division crown since 2009.

What's not to like about the Chargers' chances as they will have weapons spread across the field on both sides of the ball. They will get to show off their wares when veterans and rookies report on July 27, with the first of 14 practice dates beginning the following day.

Quarterback Philip Rivers is back and looking for an encore to a sensational season. Rivers took care of the ball with a vengeance, letting his reputation as a turnover-machine fade into the L.A. sunset. His 10 interceptions last year were the fewest since 2009 -- the same year the Chargers ruled the AFC West.

Melvin Gordon is a 1,000-yard rusher and a dynamite option in the passing game out of the backfield, too.

The offensive line allowed the fewest sacks (18) in the NFL last year and it might be better this year. The Chargers added Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, which will help keep Rivers upright and supply a boost to the running game.

Keenan Allen set NFL records as a wide receiver last year with a Pro Bowl season that was the best of his career.

Jumping to the other side of the line of scrimmage doesn't diminish the Chargers star power.

Linebacker Joey Bosa has 23 sacks since his rookie season of 2016, which is the fourth-most in the league. On the opposite side of Bosa is Melvin Ingram and he's nearly as productive as Bosa.

The secondary is deep with Pro Bowl corners Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett. Safety Derwin James, a Florida State star and the team's top pick at No. 17 overall, is expected to contribute immediately.

The return game has potential with the speedy Travis Benjamin fielding punts, Desmond King bringing back kicks. And with Caleb Sturgis expected to fill the dark hole the Chargers had kicking last year only adds to the promise of the special teams.

Then there is Anthony Lynn, in his second year as a head coach after proving last year the job wasn't too big for him. His squad lost its first four games in heartbreaking fashion, but the players didn't quit on Lynn. Conversely, they played their best ball down the stretch winning nine of the last 12 games.

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