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Chargers stayed healthy ... for 30 minutes

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Injuries to LT, offensive and defensive lines are concerns going into home opener

    By Kevin Acee
    Union-Tribune Staff Writer
    September 15, 2009

    SAN DIEGO – The injury-free version of the Chargers lasted a little more than 30 minutes of the 2009 season, and now they'll hope that depth they're always bragging on keeps coming through.

    “There's all kinds of things going through my mind,” General Manager A.J. Smith said. “That was a tough, physical game We got whooped upside down physically. We're just trying to make our way through some of these things for the big picture.”

    Center Nick Hardwick's ankle and right guard Louis Vasquez's knee will keep the players from practicing at least one day this week, and Hardwick appears the most likely among the wounded to miss Sunday's home opener against the Baltimore Ravens.

    “I'm doing better than I expected today, actually,” Hardwick told host Darren Smith during his weekly appearance on XX Sports Radio.

    But Hardwick left Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on crutches after Monday night's 24-20 victory, and he remained in a protective boot Tuesday.

    Scott Mruczkowski, who initially replaced Vasquez, moved over to deliver his first snaps in a real game at center after Hardwick went down and played well. And Brandyn Dombrowski, playing in his first NFL game, filled in adequately at guard after Mruczkowski slid to center.

    Whether the Chargers are able to find some help for the interior of their offensive line or hope and pray Hardwick and/or Vasquez get better quickly or attempt to use some bailing wire and hay and go with the Replacement-owskis remains to be seen.

    A.J. Smith and his circle of decision-makers met Tuesday to determine, as the GM put it, “What can we do to be comfortable, what can we do to put us in position to help us, short-term and long-term.”

    On the defensive line, Jamal Williams and Luis Castillo suffered elbow injuries and are expected to miss practice time and possibly more.

    And then there is the man whose injuries are an almost constant topic of late.

    LaDainian Tomlinson could well miss Sunday's home opener after suffering a sprained ankle.

    While head coach Norv Turner said it is premature to speculate on Tomlinson's availability, he acknowledged that there is a “backup plan” in place with Michael Bennett having been retained for just such a circumstance.

    “We don't have to play him like we did a year ago when his toe was bothering him,” Turner said of Tomlinson. “That's why Michael is here.”

    Tomlinson rolled his ankle on a play near the end of the first quarter wherein he took a shovel pass and then fumbled after a 1-yard gain, his first fumble in 987 regular-season touches.

    Tomlinson carried 10 times after that, including runs for 11 and 13 yards in the third quarter. But his ankle was “tight” enough late in the fourth quarter that he was not on the field for the Chargers' winning drive.

    When the topic of his recent injury history was broached, Tomlinson said, “You play the game. That's all you can do.”

    For now, the Chargers will cling to the fact that they have a few days to let people heal and make decisions on their direction. And they will continue to believe in some promising young players.

    “It is a concern,” Turner said of the injuries. “But the exciting thing to me is I can't say enough about what Mooch did at center, what Brandyn Dombrowski did at right guard. To go in and do the things he did, that's tough. And we played a lot of guys in the defensive line. We played guys – a couple guys, I should say – that got their first NFL action ever because of our situation.

    “We are fortunate to have depth. Some of it is very, very young depth, and they're going to learn as they go through it.”

    Nuts 'n Bolts

    The Chargers reported to the NFL that they have 2,500 tickets remaining for Sunday's game. Those tickets must be sold by 1:15 p.m. Thursday to avoid the team's first regular-season blackout since 2004, and team officials did not seem optimistic about doing so.

    Running back Gartrell Johnson, released by the Chargers on Monday to make room for defensive end Andre Coleman, was claimed off waivers by the New York Giants.

    Left tackle Marcus McNeill went down after tweaking his ankle in the fourth quarter but continued playing. Turner said if not for the injuries already suffered on the offensive line, McNeill “would have come out.”

    The Raiders had 81 yards rushing in the first quarter and just 67 yards rushing the rest of the game. Turner attributed much of the trouble early to new players on the defensive line being in the wrong place. “I was concerned about the first quarter and the way the game started,” Turner said, “and I was pleased with the way our guys responded through the next three quarters.”

    Turner and Smith each talked Tuesday about games they were able to watch over the weekend in which favored teams had to hang on or come back for victories. Said Smith: “The remarkable thing is it happened in a lot of games in the first week.”
  2. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Does Jon Runyan have anything left...
  3. Skuzzlebutt

    Skuzzlebutt BoltTalker

    Jan 10, 2007
    If we give it our best this year, and our best doesn't bring home the Lombardi, then I will be disappointed. But I just don't want to have injuries to blame yet again.

    Just let us have a season we either win or aren't good enough, not one with the same old scapegoat.

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