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Bennett makes it tough on coaches during eventful Chargers victory

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    By Kevin Acee
    Union-Tribune Staff Writer
    10:05 p.m. September 4, 2009



    Michael Bennett continued to make it difficult on the Chargers to decide what they're going to do with him.

    Kevin Burnett gave the team a scare.

    There was an onside kick to start the game, and some guy who plays special teams made a nice catch in the end zone to give the Chargers an early lead they never relinquished. The Chargers' young defenders were mostly dominant.

    All in all, a pretty eventful exhibition finale.

    With the other regular starters going no more than a dozen plays, and with Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and many others not even taking a snap, the Chargers beat the 49ers 26-7 Friday night at Qualcomm Stadium.

    The game began with Nate Kaeding sneaking a bouncing ball to the side of the field and 12 yards from where he first touched it. There, Antoine Cason, without a 49er anywhere near him, smothered the ball.

    The Chargers drove from their 42-yard line to San Francisco's 39 and, on third-and-5, Billy Volek lofted a well-placed ball just inside the end zone and behind cornerback Nate Clements.

    The receiver who came back for the ball? Kassim Osgood, a special teams star who hadn't caught a pass in 32 games, including preseason and playoffs.

    On the fourth play of the ensuing 49ers possession, Burnett ended up face down for several minutes before sitting up and then walking to the locker room with no assistance.

    On the play, a run up the middle by Glen Coffee, Burnett, a linebacker, got spun and launched out of a pile at the line. Off-balance, he then went forward as his helmet bounced off Coffee's helmet. Burnett then went head-first into the backside of tight end and lead blocker Vernon Davis and down to the turf.

    The Chargers reported that Burnett suffered a stinger. With the way he changed the mentality in the middle of the defense and showed big-play ability, some breath will be held at Chargers Park over the next few days.

    Meanwhile, the decision makers have some work to do.

    Last night, the focus was on Bennett, who started and carried eight times for 30 yards and turned one short pass into a 25-yard gain.

    “I felt pretty good,” Bennett said. “I'm glad I got a chance to get in there and get situated. It felt good to go out there and play with the first unit. I think we got some positive things done in the passing game, so overall I think it went pretty good.”

    Head coach Norv Turner, et al, will need to choose today whether they can afford the luxury of keeping the eight-year veteran.
    Rosters must be trimmed to 53 players by 3 p.m. PDT.

    It seems unlikely the Chargers could hide rookie running back Gartrell Johnson, a fourth-round pick, on the practice squad. He has not been as spectacular as Bennett, but the feeling is he has a future after mostly bruising his way to 85 yards on 20 carries last night and 184 yards on 48 carries this preseason.

    So the most intriguing decision today likely comes down to whether the Chargers keep Bennett or fullback Mike Tolbert. Indications have been that Tolbert's special teams ability has earned him a roster spot. Bennett would be kept almost solely as insurance for a catastrophic injury to Tomlinson.

    But Bennett has shown speed, smarts and moves all preseason, finishing with 26 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns and five receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown.

    Turner earlier this week said Bennett had “earned a spot on this team.” But that, he said later, doesn't mean Bennett will actually be on the team come tomorrow.

    “My thing is, I try to go out with a good feeling whether I'm here or not and leave a great impression with the organization and the fans,” Bennett said. “If I'm still here, then it worked out but if not, then who knows.”

    While there aren't that many spots up for grabs, Chargers coaches got an extended look at their young players and reserves last night.

    Chris Chambers, Quentin Jammer and Jamal Williams joined Gates, Jackson, Rivers and Tomlinson on the sideline from the start. Darren Sproles didn't play a snap either. Even backup tight end Brandon Manumaleuna rested the entire night.

    The bulk of the first-team offensive line (save for rookie right guard Louis Vasquez) went just two series. The usual defensive starters played only one series.

    Four Kaeding field goals accounted for the Chargers' scoring between Osgood's touchdown and a 15-yard catch and run for a touchdown by tight end Kory Sperry with 3:29 remaining.

    It got a little sloppy at the end, as it does when third-teamers (and lower) populate the field.

    But in the second and third quarters, the Chargers dominated against a 49ers team that was previously unbeaten this preseason.

    First-round pick Larry English, playing in just his second game, was consistently near the quarterback. Antwan Applewhite had a sack.

    “We're getting to look at a lot of guys,” Turner said at halftime. “It's nice to see Larry (English) and Antwan (Applewhite) and those guys get a chance to go. We're working to get ready for the opener and we got some good things done tonight.”
     
  2. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    They cannot cut him. He has more than proven himself and we need him.
     
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  3. Daddy_O

    Daddy_O Well-Known Member

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    Gartrell Johnson looked great, against the 2nd and third string D.

    Now if he could do that on gameday against the 1st string, his name would be Michael Turner. :icon_eek:

    BTW, Bennet is a monster. We should hang on to him.
     
  4. TheBeast

    TheBeast BoltTalker

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    Keep him at all cost.
     
  5. Layne

    Layne Banned Banned

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    Yes, Bennett stays for sure.:abq2:
     
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  6. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Yes he is the only "real" RB on our roster besides LT. Sproles is situational and Gartrell Johnson is not proven anything yet. Hester is a joke.
     
  7. SD Native WY

    SD Native WY Well-Known Member

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    I agree .....keep him :tup:
     
  8. coachmarkos

    coachmarkos BoltTalker

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    We're SB contenders "this year", therefore we need to keep bennett this Year.

    If you keep Gartrelle, you must cut Tolbert.

    If it was me, and AJ never sees anything like I do(Thank God for that), I'd cut Gartrelle, and look for another "young" back next year. We could also PS one of the other young dudes. Gartrelle is the only one who would possibly get claimed.
     
  9. TBF

    TBF BoltTalker

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    Johnson has ability, but the dropped pass, fumbled balls and inconsistant results make the decision easy.
     
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