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Chargers report: Cincy cornerbacks are a hit

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Saturday, December 19, 2009

    Leon Hall could almost hear them from three time zones away, the sound of his name being mentioned by coaches in a film room in San Diego, the plans the Chargers have for him and Cincinnati Bengals compatriot Johnathan Joseph.
    “You see a 6-(foot)-5 receiver on a 5-11 cornerback, you just know,” said Hall, half of what’s quickly become a tremendous pair of corners for Cincinnati. “You can see the way (Chargers quarterback) Philip Rivers puts it up there for his receivers, big as they are and athletic as they are. You can see his trust in them.
    “I can’t blame him. If I was him, I’d be doing the same.”
    Meanwhile, Hall will be doing everything he can to break up the fun Rivers has been having with Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd and the other Chargers receivers who comprise the tallest corps in the NFL. As they arrive tomorrow at Qualcomm Stadium — where Hall twice played San Diego section championship games for Vista High — he and Joseph will have contributed equally for a total of 10 interceptions between them.
    “I don’t know of a better tandem,” said Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer. “The two guys in Green Bay (Charles Woodson and the injured Al Harris) are really good, but I don’t think I would take either of those guys over our guys. Our guys are young, fast and physical.”
    The last part no doubt will play more of a role in the Bengals’ defensive approach to Jackson and Floyd, which would suggest a gross mismatch, since both of them are 6-5, 225 (or more). Hall and Joseph both are under 6 feet and listed below 200 pounds.
    Naturally, invariably, the comparisons wind up back on a basketball court.
    “They’re not only tall, but they can jump and it’s tough to keep the ball away from them,” Hall said. “You just put yourself in a good position, like basketball, box out.”
    The Bengals rank in the top three in the NFL in scoring defense, partly owing to a ground game that keeps the ball out of opponents’ hands, but head coach Marvin Lewis also has said it’s attributable to the play of two cornerbacks “who carry us in their back pocket.”
    Joseph was Cincy’s top pick of 2006, Hall the No. 1 choice of 2007. As a player at Michigan, Hall was a consensus All-American who played in two Rose Bowls, heretofore the only chances he’s had to play back in his native Southern California. The first time he played at Qualcomm, he intercepted a Rancho Bernardo pass with 34 seconds remaining to preserve a 10-7 victory and the 2001 section title for Vista.
    “It’ll be good to get home and get the family together,” said Hall, “but this is a big game for us and a big game for the Chargers.”

    Strength vs. strength

    The Chargers’ fourth-ranked scoring offense meets the Bengals’ second-ranked scoring defense tomorrow.
    “It’s a good matchup,” LaDainian Tomlinson said.
    Sure. But what usually happens when a top offense meets a top defense?
    In terms of victories, there is no clear trend.
    Over the past three seasons, when a team ranked in the top five in scoring offense meets a team ranked in the top five in scoring defense, the team with the top five offense has gone 18-16.
    What is consistent is that the defense holds the offense to fewer points than the offense’s average (in 24 of the 34 games) but the offense almost always scores more than the average the defense allows (28 of 34).

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