<strong>July 17, 2005</strong>
Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a>
This zinger is already making its way around San Diego: Russia's Vladimir Putin has more Super Bowl rings that Marty Schottenheimer.
Ouch - but true.
Is this the year Schottenheimer, after so many heartbreaks, finally makes it to the game featuring Roman numerals?
The Chargers are set to build on their remarkable 12-4 season last year, with three Pro Bowlers on offense returning and a defense which is stout against the run and hopefully improved against the pass.
If all that comes together, Schottenheimer could be motoring to Detroit for the Super Bowl.
That's about the only nugget left off the resume of one of the NFL's all-time winningest coaches. But what sticks in many people's throats when hearing Schottenheimer's name his is unsightly 5-12 mark in the playoffs. Last year was another reminder that Schottenheimer's teams are often like egg nog - put away right after Christmas - as the team was the first in the AFC to be eliminated in the playoffs, a home loss to the Jets.
There's no denying Schottenheimer's regular-season success, 177 career wins. But there's no getting around his postseason woes, in which his .602 winning percentage is the highest among North America pro sports for a coach to have never competed in a league championship game.
"It is what it is," Schottenheimer said of his postseason failures.
Schottenheimer is the fifth NFL head coach to lead three different teams to the playoffs (Chargers, Chiefs and Browns). But it's what he has done once he has got there which people remember. If the Chargers could give their fans an unforgettable season, that might change.
CAMP CALENDAR: July 25: Rookies report; July 26: First rookie practice; July 28: Veterans report; July 29: First full-squad practice; July 30: Oklahoma drill; Aug. 25: Break camp
-The Chargers have started negotiations with first-round pick Shawne Merriman. It will be interesting to see how much Merriman poisoned the relationship by declining to participate in the offseason workouts and minicamps.
-Hall of Fame WR Lance Alworth became the second Charger to have his jersey number retired; QB Dan Fouts' is the only other Charger. No Charger will ever wear Alworth's No. 19 again. "To me, it lets me know they enjoyed watching me play," he said. Alworth, a successful businessman in real estate, said the honor was greater than being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Chargers fans give thanks to Al Davis? It was Davis who convinced Alworth to sign with the AFL Chargers when he was an assistant for the team.
-Congratulations to longtime Chargers executive John Hinek for moving into his new home. Hinek, who started with the Chargers as a ball boy in the '70s, was the only member of the organization to lose his home to the San Diego wild fires of 2003.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "In my opinion, he was the best ever." - Former Chargers QB John Hadl on ex-teammate Lance Alworth.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
QUARTERBACKS: Starter - Drew Brees. Backups - Philip Rivers, Cleo Lemon.
RUNNING BACKS: Starters - LaDainian Tomlinson, Lorenzo Neal. Backups - Jesse Chatman, Michael Turner, Darren Sproles, Andrew Pinnock.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter - Antonio Gates. Backups - Justin Peelle, Ryan Krause.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters - Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker. Backups - Reche Caldwell, Vincent Jackson, Kassim Osgood, Malcom Floyd.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters - LT Roman Oben, LG Toniu Fonoti, C Nick Hardwick, RG Mike Goff, RT Shane Olivea. Backups - LT Leander Jordan, LG Kris Dielman, C Bob Hallen, T Wesley Britt, G Wes Sims, C/G Scott Mruczkowski.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Starters LE Jacques Cesaire, NT Jamal Williams, RE Igor Olshansky. Backups - LE Luis Castillo, LE Adrian Dingle, RE DeQuincy Scott, NT Ryon Bingham.
LINEBACKERS: OLB Steve Foley, ILB Randall Godfrey, ILB Donnie Edwards, OLB Ben Leber. Backups - OLB Shawne Merriman, OLB Matt Wilhelm, ILB Stephen Cooper, OLB Shaun Phillips.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: LCB Quentin Jammer, RCB Drayton Florence, SS Terrence Kiel, FS Jerry Wilson. Backups - LCB Jamar Fletcher, RCB Sammy Davis, SS Clinton Hart, FS Bhawoh Jue.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Starters - PK Nate Kaeding, P Mike Scifres, KR/PR Darren Sproles, LS David Binn.