The tagline on Oliver Stone's 1987 movie "Wall Street" is "every dream has its price." For the Chargers, the dream season last year -- a 12-4 finish and division title -- begets them a little something the NFL likes to call a tougher schedule.

Nondivision opponents include New England, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Indianapolis and the Jets; all five made the conference semifinals. Only the Colts and Jets were on the schedule last year, and they both beat the Chargers (the Jets also beat them in the first-round game).

Don't tell San Diego fans their team may be coming back to earth. The team had a sellout in its preseason home opener; it was the first sold-out preseason game in 10 years.

San Diego plans on showcasing outside linebacker Donnie Edwards (150 tackles) in its new 3-4 scheme. Also watch outside linebacker Shawne Merriman and middle linebacker Ben Leber (60 tackles).

Starting quarterback Drew Brees (3,159 yards passing) is in a contract year. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson (1,335 yards rushing) is among the top players in the game. He runs behind a line that remained very healthy last year -- four linemen started in all 16 games.

"I don't think we have any issues in the first five," Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "Everyone is back from a pretty solid group."

Local fans will note the roster includes Merriman (Douglass), defensive tackle Jamal Williams (Carroll), tackle Roman Oben (Gonzaga), free safety Bhawoh Jue (Chantilly) and wide receiver Carl Morris (Episcopal).

The Chargers hope that rookie linebacker Shawne Merriman can keep a good thing going. The former Maryland player was picked 12th overall.