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Chargers feeling good after bye

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Casey Pearce
    Posted Jan 13, 2010

    After a week off, the Chargers had a short injury report Wednesday as they amped up their preparations for the New York Jets.

    Following Wednesday’s practice, the Chargers issued their first injury report in nearly two weeks and listed just one player, punter Mike Scifres[​IMG] (groin), on the report. The short list showed just how much San Diego benefitted from the week of rest they received with their bye last weekend.
    “Last Wednesday if we did this, there would have been a host of names on the injury report and there would be some guys that I was concerned if they could play or not,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “I think we’re going to be as healthy as you could ask to be going into a game at this point.”
    Scifres fully participated in the practice. Others such as linebacker Shawne Merriman[​IMG], defensive end Jacques Cesaire[​IMG] and wide receivers Vincent Jackson[​IMG] and Legedu Naanee[​IMG] were also full participants after missing the regular-season finale with injuries. Jackson, for one, would have likely been on the list a week ago. The week of rest has him feeling much better.
    “It’s definitely an improvement,” Jackson said. “I’m feeling good this week. I’m going to continue to work towards Sunday, being as close to 100 percent as possible.”
    The last two years, the Chargers entered the postseason with health concerns to key players. That’s not the case this year, particularly after last week’s bye.
    “I think that can show you the value of a bye, from a physical standpoint,” quarterback Philip Rivers[​IMG] said of the short injury report. “It allows you to get some guys healthy that have been nicked up and it allows you to get some guys who have played your normal 16-game season with some bumps and bruises to get an extra six or seven days of not having that game in between. We feel healthy and fresh and now we’re heading towards being as prepared as we can be to go out and play our best.”
    Running back LaDainian Tomlinson[​IMG] is one of the key players who was hampered in the last two Januarys. He said Wednesday that he feels great, and Turner is happy to see the Future Hall of Famer in good spirits mentally and physically.
    “It was hard for him last year because he was really coming on in December and he got hurt in that last regular season game and that was really difficult for him to not be able to play,” Turner said. “I know this is something that he’s really looked forward to. It’s really important to him.”
    Turner said that he was extremely pleased with his team’s focus and preparation as they turned things up a notch Wednesday. While it’s often debated how much teams benefit from a first-round bye due to the momentum that’s potentially lost, Turner was encouraged by the energy his team showed Wednesday.
    “Momentum is a big part of this game,” Turner said. “I think the way we practiced today, our guys haven’t lost that edge, haven’t lost that momentum.”
    The Chargers held a walkthrough Monday, were off Tuesday and got back to work Wednesday with a physical practice that players felt good about.
    “We had a chance to go in shoulder pads today, which is not usual for us on a Wednesday,” Castillo said. “But after the week off, I think it was a good change of rhythm for us, getting back to that physical nature.”
    Ready for pressure
    One of the trademarks of Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan’s defense is heavy pressure from multiple places, and the Chargers are spending plenty of time this week preparing for the blitz.
    “It’s as good of a blitz package and scheme as we’ve faced this year,” Rivers said. “This group does a lot of different things that we have to be prepared for. We feel like we will have a plan and scheme together to handle all of those things. You’re playing against a good team and that’s the fun thing about the playoffs; it’s a lot of good verses good out there and whoever can execute the best will be on top.”
    Rivers was one of the NFL’s best against the blitz this season. His passer rating of 103.7 against the blitz ranked fifth in the league, and he tossed 14 touchdown passes against pressures of at least five men. Turner appreciates how his quarterback handles the blitz and believes heavy pressure provides the opportunity for big plays.
    “This is a different style but I think Philip sees things awfully quick and he does get the ball out,” Turner said. “That’s one of the things, obviously, when you’re confident and you’re good, you look forward to the blitz because it creates not only one-on-one situations but also in the zone blitz, it creates seams where you can make big plays.”
    New York report
    The Jets listed eight players on their injury report. Only three players missed some practice time Wednesday. Defensive end Shaun Ellis (knee) was limited, while running back Thomas Jones (knee) didn’t practice and fullback Tony Richardson missed practice for non-injury related reasons.
    Ryan thankful
    Ryan was one of six candidates who interviewed with the Chargers when the club hired Turner in 2007. Ryan said Wednesday that the Chargers “made a great hire in Norv Turner. Ryan said he’s appreciative of the opportunity Dean Spanos and A.J. Smith provided him to interview. Although he didn’t get the Chargers job, Ryan believes the interview helped him land his current gig.
    “I don’t think I was seen in that light as a head coaching candidate until San Diego put me on the map,” Ryan said. “A.J. Smith and Dean Spanos, all those guys, they were just fantastic. What an opportunity for me. I thank A.J. because I think he’s the guy that really put me on the map where people started to look at me maybe differently than they had done in the past.”
    Going long
    One of the side benefits that the Chargers have seen in regards to their big-play ability on offense has been their defense’s ability to limit the large chunks of yards. San Diego’s defensive backs get so much work on the deep ball that Turner believes it’s helped them become proficient at defending it.
    “We don’t give up a lot of real long passes and our guys have done a good job of playing the ball when it’s in the air,” Turner said.
    On the season, the Chargers gave up just 34 pass plays of 20 yards or more, the third-lowest total in the NFL.

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