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By the pricking of my thumb; The Turk this way comes

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    By Curtis Egan
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    <strong>The month of September beings the Turk a lurking:</strong>
    It is that time of year again, the time when every professional football player looks over their shoulder to see if the shadow looming over them is the dreaded Turk (*1). Some will see the shadow pass by a mere specter. Others will get the dreaded message "The Coach wants to see you, being your playbook." As their hearts are cut out and in some cases their dreams of playing in the National Football League is ended for good.

    The Turk will have a difficult job in the Chargers locker room this year. There will be possibly one or two surprising cuts, and maybe two positions that will have the starter position up for grabs. However the Chargers are one of the favored teams to make the Superbowl. Consistency in the roster is one reason many people give for this, and the reason that the Turks job could be a difficult one.

    Marshal Faulk of the NFL network includes coaching consistency in the equation as well, mentioning that the Chargers change in coaching staff made sense due to the scheme they run and the unity in the locker room. Meaning that though the Chargers did have major upheaval in their coaching staff, the brought in coaches who were familiar with the current system to keep things running the way that have been. The very same unity that kept players like Kris Dielman in San Diego even though the Seattle Seahawks offered him more money. The unity has lead to stability that very few other teams enjoy this time of year.

    The Chargers have had extremely little turnover in their roster of late, creating little room for undrafted free agents, and late round draft choices to find a niche on the roster after September 1st. No the Turk is not going to have an easy task this season. He will of course find the stragglers on the outside of the pack, the young players who, though they played well, found themselves in the camp of a team that is as loaded at all positions and has quality depth as the Chargers currently do. Perhaps the Turk might even find a veteran on the outskirts of the pack, near the water cooler, unaware-

    Last season at this time Players such as Floyd and Camarillo were battling each other for a roster spot. This season Floyd seems to be on the in, but Camarillo finds himself dancing on the surface of the bubble against the likes of Legedu Naanee, and Kassim Osgood. The veterans cannot rest on their laurels and believe that they are a show in to remain on the team. General Manager AJ Smith did away with that notion in March this year.

    <a href="http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/chargers/20070302-9999-1s2chargers.html" target="_blank">AJ Smith was quoted as saying</a> "<em>You're a Charger one year at a time,</em>" AJ said. "<em>You're judged off the field, on the field, production and work ethic.</em>" This was after cutting McCardell, Krause, Kiel, and Foley.

    Even with such cuts, the quality depth at just about every position that AJ Smith and his staff have been able to accumulate in San Diego instantly filled any gaps. The new draft choices shored up that depth. There is not a lot of wiggle room in the San Diego roster of late, a true testament to not only the ability of the front office and scouting department, but I would say also to the culture that the Chargers have been able to instill into the locker room.

    Indeed AJ and staff have shown that everyone is reviewed annually and nearly no one is expendable. But they have been able to build the team to the point that a little turnover is quickly solidified by the time the draft rolls by. Yet another sign of this is the fact that AJ Smith and company can spend draft picks on players such as Antonio Cormarie and give them time to grow until they are ready to start. Cormartie was the Chargers first round draft choice in 2006, he did not start one game that season. Not because he wasn't any good, but because there was no reason to rush him into the lineup. Instead Cromatrie proved a valuable asset to the nickel coverage and special teams.

    Back to the Turk; he will of course find some victims in the over sized San Diego locker room. The first round of visitations will have to happen before this Tuesday (8/28/07) when the Chargers have to reduce their roster size form the current number (86) to 75. Most likely the first round of cuts will not offer any surprises, and it is highly unlikely that any of the first round of cuts will hold any practice squad players.

    <strong>Hush or the Turk will find you!</strong>
    Who will the Turks first victims be? It is purely speculation at this point but we could see a surprise cut or two. Listed below are the players whom I think could receive a visit from the Dreaded Turk:

    <strong>#81 Kassim Osgood</strong> has been an outstanding special teams player, even made a pro bowl in that capacity. So did Hanick Milligan before being cast before the Turk. Could the Turk be sharpening his scimitar and starting at Kassim out of the corner of his eye? It is possible, he has caught the ire of new Head Coach Norv Turner, but he is a special teams burner who isn't afraid to mix it up. The numbers game does not play in his favor in my opinion. The roster is loaded with talent and there are young players full of potential like Legedu Naanee who could make a player like Osgood expendable. The Turk loves expendable veterans-.

    <strong>13 Mark Simmons:</strong> A possible practice squad player, but with only catching one pass for eight yards in preseason, it is up to his performance in camp to keep the Turk away. I don't see that as happening, I think Mark can hear the scraping sound of the wet stone on the blade of the Turk's scimitar.

    <strong>9 Rhema McKnight:</strong> You have to feel sorry for a guy who has a QB jersey (*2) number and is a wide receiver. It is akin to being a red shirt security person on Star Trek without a last name. You know the salt sucking space vampire is going to get you. Chargers camp may not be Seti Alpha VI but there are footsteps of doom behind you Rhema.

    <strong>77 Tony Pape:</strong> Tony, man your bio on Chargers.com doesn't even have any text in it. Has the Turk shown his hand?

    <strong>67 Jeremy Sheffey:</strong> Jeremy is a big body at 6' 2" and 291 pounds, but the numbers game is against him. I think Jeremy could easily be a practice squad player, but only after the Turk has his way.

    <strong>60 Mark Bihl:</strong> Another big body who unfortunately is harmed by the quality depth and the numbers game. However if there is room for a young man to make a push to making the squad it is at Center, where behind incumbent Nick Hardwick we have only one veteran, and only 4 players in camp who can play the position.

    <strong>62 Mike Jones:</strong> Another big body at Guard. This boy is 6' 5" and weighs in at 312 pounds! Though I have not heard much mentioned of him in camp, that cant be something that is in his favor.

    <strong>64 Erik Robertson:</strong> A friend seems to be a big Robertson fan, and unfortunately for her I fear if the Turk finds him on Tuesday we will not see him again. He does have a good pedigree however, as listed at Chargers.com:

    <em>Selected to play in Texas vs. Nation Senior All-Star Game in El Paso, Texas in February 2007-honorable mention All-Pac-10 and team's Most Valuable Offensive Lineman as senior-honorable mention Academic All-Pac-10 selection as junior and senior-redshirted 2002-played at Cal-Berkeley from 2002-06-graduated with degree in Scandinavian studies.</em>

    So he has had success in the College ranks, another thing in his favor is he is vying for a position (Center) that has the least amount of depth. That means that the Chargers will most likely keep two centers on the active roster and one on the practice squad. That is three positions for four players. We will have to see who the Turk has selected for his Center cut-

    <strong>89 TJ Cottrell:</strong> TJ, in every movie the king loses a close loved one. Take the Two Towers movie; The King of Rohan lost his only son, it happens to build tension and to develop the plot to allow the king to go to war. Well you're the son of the Defensive Coordinator, thought that will not save you from the visitation of the Turk. Chandler will take the slot. Let's hope that gives your Dad the desire for justice and puts a fire in his belly.

    <strong>15 Sonny Shackelford, 12 Rich Musinski, 11 Onea Jones:</strong> Two preseason games down, one more to go before the Turk comes a calling. You have not registered a catch, which does not bode well for a young wide receiver hoping to dodge the scimitar.

    <strong>30 Eldra Buckley:</strong> You have not registered a single carry in preseason, there have not been any reports of your performance coming out of camp. The Turks gaze is falling on you.

    <strong>58 Zach Latimer:</strong> Zach played against Seattle, and registered three solo tackles. However the team is loaded with talent at the Line Backer positions; this makes the numbers game even harder for this young man. If Zach is not cut on the 28th, then I would not be surprised to see him make the practice squad.

    <strong>47 Jules Tucker:</strong> Jules has played thus far in both games this preseason, recording one tackle. The numbers game does not bode well for Tucker.

    <strong>39 Quentin Jones:</strong> The Chargers have a corner with the initials QJ already, you know they don't want to get confused when looking at the laminated cards on the sidelines-

    <strong>38 Gabe Franklin:</strong> Gabe, baby, I worry about you! Your bio at Charger.com has no information in it. I hope to keep the Turks eyes off of you for a bit. You have played in both preseason games thus far and registered 4 solo tackles and a pass defensed. That is better than some of our starters. Dude, go get with the Charger.com web master and have him put in your bio before the Turk takes the empty space as an invitation to come calling-

    <strong>36 Tra Battle:</strong> Ok, I will admit it, I am rooting for ya Tra, simply because you have one of the coolest names on the team. Against Seattle you had five tackles, four of which was solos. Man I am not sure if the numbers game will not turn against you. We shall see, but rest assured, with a name like Battle, the coaches should think twice before unleashing the Turk on you-

    <strong>44 Miguel Merrick:</strong> Another strong safety, but your name isn't as cool as Tra's. No tackles registered in the first two preseason games. Keep your head on a swivel, if you hear footsteps behind you-. DUCK!

    <strong>4 Brian Monroe:</strong> He is a punter. What more do I need to say?

    <strong>From the CBA: </strong>
    <a href="http://www.nflpa.org/CBA/CBA.aspx" target="_blank">http://www.nflpa.org/CBA/CBA.aspx</a>

    <strong><em>CUT DOWNS/SQUAD SIZE</em></strong>
    For the 2007 season, each NFL club must reduce its roster to 75 players by Tuesday, August 28, 2007. Each club must further reduce its roster to 53 players on the Active/Inactive list on Saturday, September 1, 2007. Immediately prior to kickoff each week during the regular season, clubs establish a 45 player Active list from their 53 man Active/Inactive roster, and also identify one additional player on the Inactive list as a third quarterback who can enter the game only if the other two quarterbacks cannot play.

    <strong><em>PRACTICE SQUADS</em></strong>
    On Sunday, September 2, 2007, the day after the final pre-season cut-downs, each club may establish a Practice Squad of no more than eight (8) players who are free agents and who do not have more than nine games on an Active list in a previous season. The minimum salary for a practice squad player is $4,700 per week, including the playoff weeks. In addition, a player under contract to a club as a Practice Squad player is completely free to sign a contract with any NFL club to play on their Active/Inactive list.

    <em>Note:</em>
    Aug. 28 – Roster reduced to maximum of 75 plyers
    Sept. 1 - Roster reduced to maximum of 53 players

    <strong>(*1) Origins of the term ‘Turk' revisited:</strong>
    Every year NFL teams have to reduce their rosters from the expanded training camp size to the 53 man rosters they go throughout the season with. Every year as raining camps begin the term Turk become synonymous with person whom has to inform the players that they need to see the coach, "Bring your playbook.".

    Not a job most people would cherish, and current wisdom points to the early 40's for the coining of the phrase to it's current use. The TURK referred to the ancient warriors who, would behead their enemies with a scimitar (a curved long sword). The Turks were also the Turkish revolutionaries of the 1920's who rebelled against the Ottoman Empire leading to it's dissolution. The Turkish Revolutionaries were said to be fierce and hard fighters.

    So it is believed that the term TURK was used because, though the coach would not be cutting the head from the player, they would certainly be cutting their hearts out. Also an interesting note is during the 1940's there was no playbooks to be returned to the coaches before being let go by the team.

    <strong>(*2) Position Jersey Numbers:</strong>
    <strong>QB, P, K</strong>
    Primary: 1-19

    <strong>RB, DB</strong>
    Primary: 20-49

    <strong>C</strong>
    Primary: 50-59
    Alternate: 60-79

    <strong>G, T</strong>
    Primary: 60-79

    <strong>WR</strong>
    Primary: 80-89
    Alternate: 10-19

    <strong>TE</strong>
    Primary: 80-89

    <strong>DL (NT/DT/DE)</strong>
    Primary: 60-79
    Alternate: 90-99

    <strong>LB</strong>
    Primary: 50-59
    Alternate: 90-99

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