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With or without Gordon, can Chargers be ‘team to beat in the NFL’?

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During mandatory minicamp earlier this month, the brash edge rusher for the Los Angeles Chargers said what all players in the NFL privately believe about their own team.

Asked about teammate Melvin Gordon’s comments that the Chargers are the team to beat in the AFC West, Ingram took it a step further — anointing the Bolts as the top team in the league heading into the 2019 season.

“We’re the team to beat in the NFL, not just the AFC West — it’s the NFL,” Ingram said. “We feel like when we’re going against our offense that we need to beat them because they’re the best. They need to beat us because we’re the best. And that’s how we’re going to get better.”

With or without Gordon, the Chargers saying they are the best team in the NFL is one thing, while proving it is another. After finishing 12-4 during the regular season last year, the Chargers were embarrassed in the AFC divisional playoffs on the road against the New England Patriots.

New England dominated all aspects of the game, racing out to a 38-7 lead before the Chargers responded with some garbage-time points in a 41-28 loss.

The Chargers understand they have to go through the Patriots and the defending AFC West Division champion Kansas City Chiefs to back up Ingram’s bold statement and ultimately reach the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1994 season.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

That starts with winning the division, something the Chargers have not done since the 2009 season.3

So why do the Chargers and Ingram insist 2019 is their year? Better health, improved depth, playoff experience and playmakers in key positions are reasons the Chargers believe they are Super Bowl contenders.

“Shoot, it’s a long ride,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “It’s a long run to get there. We know how tough our division is. Obviously, Kansas City being the No. 1 seed last year. We haven’t won the division in a long time, as we all know. It’s going to be a heck of a road.

“But we have the capabilities of getting that done. Like we know, that’s why they play the games and play the season. We’ll find out, but we have the right makeup, I think, physically and mentally. I think we have to recreate it, mentally, both from a football standpoint with how you prepare and then recreate it from a camaraderie standpoint.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Chargers regain a handful of impact players who either limped through or did not finish the 2018 season.

Starting linebackers Denzel Perryman (knee), Kyzir White (knee) and Jatavis Brown (knee) should make healthy returns from the injured list. That trio’s absence was the primary reason Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley employed seven defensive backs in the postseason.

Along with those three, defensive end Joey Bosa, tight end Hunter Henry, cornerback Trevor Williams and guard Forrest Lamp should be healthier after working their way through significant injuries last season.

“Health is important for any team that wants to compete for a Super Bowl,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “I like our depth. We do have some depth on this football team. I don’t want to see anyone getting hurt. I definitely want to try to take care of guys a little bit better than I did last year and see if that helps in December and January — see if that’s when we can play at our best.”

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