Ben on the Bolts: Super Bowl chances

When will the Chargers get a chance to lift the Lombardi Trophy into the air as blue and gold confetti swirls around delirious players in February? I couldn't help but wonder about the answer to that question as I watched Seattle's dominating win over Denver.

We already know the Chargers can compete with, and beat, the Broncos … but what about the Seahawks?

I'd argue that the Chargers already have a better offense than Seattle. Sure, the Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin, but by the numbers, the Chargers were tops in 2013, gaining nearly 1,000 more yards. Once again, however, the Seahawks proved that a great defense can stop a great offense in the Super Bowl, and the Chargers still have a long way to go in that category.

Can the Bolts take a big leap on "D" in 2014? It's going to take a major effort on the part of general manager Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy. The Chargers hit on two major offensive contributors in last year's draft, adding both D.J. Fluker and Keenan Allen. Telesco will need a similar haul with a defensive bent in May. A pass rusher and a cornerback who can play -- and play well -- right off the bat; that's the stuff of GM daydreams.

Players already on the roster will need to take another big step forward, as well. Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes will need to play as well as we hoped they would play in 2013. Shareece Wright needs to stay healthy (and not drop Peyton Manning's next duck that heads his way). Manti Te'o needs to get healthy and show us that his injured foot was the only thing stopping him from bigger and better things on the field. Melvin Ingram needs to take the "leap" to become a quarterback-sacking machine. Eric Weddle can't afford a drop-off from his Pro Bowl-level performances. Oh, and the Chargers better pony up to keep free agent Donald Butler in the fold.

If all of that happens, the Chargers will have an excellent defense. Good enough to beat the Seahawks in next year's Super Bowl? I'm not sure about that. It's a sign that the Chargers still have plenty of work ahead of them.

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