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Bolts try to salvage this season against the Saints in London

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    BAGSHOT, England – The Chargers arrived here Monday and settled into a posh resort 45 minutes southwest of London. Tuesday is set aside for Big Ben and Buckingham Palace and the like.

    But this team can't afford to be on holiday.

    “Hopefully we can zero in and get ready for the game, and certainly also enjoy being here,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “Our game and the preparation comes first. ... It certainly can be (distracting). We'll have to manage it.

    “Those are things you don't get an opportunity to do or see some things that are out here. I know for me, and I'll bet a lot of the guys, we've never been out of the country. Those things are fine. Go have fun, and enjoy it. Soak some of those things in. As long as it doesn't creep in or get in the way of what we're trying to get done, which is win a game.”

    The Chargers face the NFL's top offense Sunday at Wembley Stadium – former Chargers quarterback Drew Brees, now in his third season as the pass-happy leader of the New Orleans Saints, likely salivating at the thought of facing the Chargers' soft (like tissue) secondary.

    “It really didn't matter if we were playing in London or back in the States,” linebacker Shaun Phillips said. “We have to prepare to play a good football team. We have to be mentally ready to play a good football team.”

    Still, it might be a good time to be a Charger and be 5,500 miles from home, coming off a 23-14 loss at Buffalo, shaking their heads as they digest their 3-4 reality.

    “I think it is,” running back LaDainian Tomlinson said after arriving. “It is a good escape for us. Obviously losing (Sunday), a lot of guys are really down about that loss. I think it really gives us time to take a deep breath, time to get away from the national media in the States and just have some time to ourselves and really just get close and bond a little bit.”

    It has not been lost on the Chargers that the New York Giants played here a year ago this week, beating the Miami Dolphins, and then went on to win the Super Bowl.

    “I honestly think that's why the Giants were successful last year,” Tomlinson said. “They were kind of going through the same struggles. They came here and it kind of changed their season. We're hoping for the same kind of luck. Hopefully London brings us that.”

    London will have to be truly magical to stop the Chargers' topsy-turvy season. Those Giants began the 2007 season 0-2 but arrived in England 5-2.

    The Chargers' plane touched down at Gatwick Airport about 9 a.m. local time (1 a.m. in San Diego), after being delayed about 90 minutes getting out of Buffalo. The players worked out and met in the afternoon before spreading out into the cool and damp English night.

    Tuesday is the NFL's off-day, and it will be no different here. Most of the players and staff are expected to head to London for some sightseeing.

    Wednesday, the team will practice on a finely manicured field at their hotel. They'll also work here Thursday and Friday before heading to London. Until Friday night, there is no curfew, same as home. When the players are finished with practice and meetings they will be on their own.

    Most were not looking too far ahead Monday, just trying to get their legs after crossing the Atlantic immediately after another disappointing loss.

    “It's kind of exhausting, especially coming off a game like we had,” Phillips said. “The whole long flight and everything is a bit exhausting.”

    Unlike the Giants and Dolphins last season, the Chargers and Saints arrived here six days early to acclimate.

    The Chargers are here to face an old friend, here to show the Brits a little of the other football, here to once again (for the last time?) try to salvage a season.

    “There is no more time to continue to do the things we have,” defensive end Luis Castillo said.
    With Brees quarterbacking the Saints, with family in town, with so much to see and being so far from home, there is, of course, concern about focus.

    But there can't be. Not now.
    “It shouldn't be difficult, because of the way we lost the game,” linebacker Stephen Cooper said.

    The Saints are 3-4 as well, having lost at Carolina on Sunday.

    “It's going to be huge,” Phillips said. “Drew gets to play against his old team. We're going all the way to London to play this game. It's a lot for both of us. Both of us have our backs against the wall.”

    The Chargers seem resigned to the fact they will come home Monday either still a contender or a team with little hope of making something of this season.

    They believe they must be even going into the bye week that follows Sunday's game.

    “Yeah,” Rivers said. “And the Saints are saying the same thing. They're coming off a tough loss. We're both 3-4 and hanging on to having a shot down the road.

    It's big. We're right back where we were last week. We've got to quit trading wins and losses – we'll be 8-8 and going home. We've got to get this one this week find a way to bounce back, zero in, get to the off week at .500 and go on a tear.

    What else is there?”
  2. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    We need a total team effort, from AJ on down to the waterboys. Everybody's gotta be on the same page.

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