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CAMP MULLET: Chargers want to avoid hype

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    by Alex Marvez
    August 3, 2009

    SAN DIEGO - The sack artist with the blue Mohawk doesn't want my kind around here.

    "You should write about somebody else," San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman recently said inside the team's locker room. "Go to New England or Pittsburgh. Kansas City will have a good squad this year. They've got a quarterback (Matt Cassel). Give them all the glory."

    Merriman isn't being confrontational. He just doesn't want to hear about the talent-rich Chargers being picked as my AFC preseason Super Bowl favorite.

    "Whoever anybody chooses to pick," Merriman says, "We're just not going to fall into that trap."


    Players bought into the preseason media Super Bowl hype surrounding San Diego the past two years. It cost the Chargers dearly. Overconfidence contributed to the 2007 and 2008 Chargers getting off to a slow start. San Diego was a .500 team after 10 games in 2007. General manager A.J. Smith admits he was "embarrassed" when last year's team stood at 4-8.

    Both squads won the AFC West and made noise in the playoffs. But injuries and the emotional strain of late-season "win-or-else" rallies ultimately took their toll as the Chargers were KO'd from title contention.

    "It's tough when you're playing from behind, especially when you get into December and have to string together (victories)," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said.

    Avoiding a repeat of that scenario is a top priority entering this season. Improved team health entering training camp has Smith optimistic that the goal will be reached. So does a more mature outlook from players who now realize just chatting about the Lombardi Trophy won't win it.

    "We've learned all the hoopla and Super Bowl-or-bust stuff that has gone on has gotten us nowhere," Rivers said. "The different feel I've gotten from this (training) camp is that guys are a little more business-like. Not to say we weren't in the past, but it's like, "'Look, we don't need to talk about it anymore. Let's just go get it done now.'"

    "Now" is the key word, as San Diego's star veterans are feeling their NFL mortality. LaDainian Tomlinson recently turned 30, which is an age when some running backs begin a quick decline. Jamal Williams — the anchor to San Diego's stout run defense — is entering his 12th NFL season. Even a relative youngster like the 25-year-old Merriman says missing 15 games last season with a serious knee injury made him realize "you have to seize the moment and take advantage of it."

    "These core guys aren't going to be here forever," said Rivers, who is entering his sixth NFL season. "That doesn't mean we won't still be good if new guys come in. But there is definitely a sense of urgency, especially when we've been on the brink of doing something special for three, four, five years now."

    The Chargers are in that same position once again. A loaded roster returns almost entirely intact in Norv Turner's third year as head coach. San Diego is much healthier than at this point last year when Rivers, tight end Antonio Gates and center Nick Hardwick were all coming off major offseason surgeries. Merriman is back to pressure quarterbacks and provide defensive leadership that was sorely lacking in his absence. The Chargers also are considered the clear-cut favorite in a division that includes two rebuilding squads (Kansas City and Denver) and one that has lost at least 11 games for six straight seasons (Oakland).

    Just don't tell Merriman about it.

    "On paper, people look at us like, "'That's a Super Bowl team right there,'" he said. "We're not falling into the trap of that this year and believing it. We'll let people talk about it. But in here, we just want to get to Game One — period."
  2. SD Native WY

    SD Native WY Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2008
    Good for Merriman about FFFing time sombody on the team said it. He is a the Team Leader that we missed last year.

    :bolt: Go Chargers :bolt:
  3. ntman68

    ntman68 Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    Funny how they are just realizing what many of us have said for three years...
    • Like Like x 1
  4. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    The Chargers also are considered the clear-cut favorite in a division that includes two rebuilding squads (Kansas City and Denver) and one that has lost at least 11 games for six straight seasons (Oakland).

  5. ChargerJeff

    ChargerJeff Boltaholic

    Mar 24, 2008
    I love this quote!!!
  6. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Proof's in the pudding. :icon_evil:

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    Good I hope they don't buy into all the SB hype. It's about time they shut up and play, don't tell me what you can do. Show me.

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