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San Diego Chargers 'Have To Earn Back' Status As AFC West Champs

San Diego Chargers GM A.J. Smith has the reputation of being kind of a hard ass. He slapped restricted free agent tenders on both LT Marcus McNeill and WR Vincent Jackson last year and didn't flinch when they decided to sit out as protest.

(Don't complain, Chiefs fans. They missed that first game in Kansas City which helped the Chiefs pull out a victory.)

Speaking to the San Diego Union Tribune, Smith also showed that he's a realist.

"We're not an elite team; we've lost that. We were second in our division last year and out of it. We have to earn back that status we had. Because it's gone; it really is. I deal in facts, man."

Agreed. The Chiefs took control of the AFC West last year and there are reasons to think the balance of power is shifting. Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, I think the having Philip Rivers on the Chargers makes San Diego a legitimate contender every year.