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Chargers Team Report - 06/25/09

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>
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    <div class="alignright"><a href="http://www.pe.com/imagesdaily/2008/07-26/chargers26aerc_300.jpg"><img title="LaDainian Tomlinson" src="http://www.pe.com/imagesdaily/2008/07-26/chargers26aerc_300.jpg" alt="LaDainian Tomlinson" width="137" height="209" /></a></div>

    Was this the offseason that leads to the Chargers' first Super Bowl title?</div>
    Hard to say before the calendar hits July, but the team is upbeat over a number issues after completing its OTAs.

    The team is in much better shape - medically - than it was last offseason. Many key players who had their fingers crossed they would be ready for the 2008 season opener were out running for this offsesason's work.

    In particular, quarterback Philip Rivers wasn't worried about his mended knee.

    Center Nick Hardwick wasn't rubbing a sore foot.

    Tight end Antonio Gates wasn't moving gingerly on a tender toe.

    That gives the Chargers - as well a roster stocked with talent - optimism to win its first NFL title.

    OFFSEASON STANDOUT: Running back LaDainian Tomlinson would seem like an odd selection here.

    But now 30 years old and coming off his second consecutive season which ended with an injury, many wondered if Tomlinson still had the get up and go.

    Tomlinson, though, proved time and again in the practices that there are plenty of skills still at his beck and call.

    Sure, there was little hitting - and that's particular true for a franchise player like Tomlinson.

    But it was also obvious that Tomlinson was running, cutting and faking out players with regularity. He has proved - so far - the serious groin injury which derailed him in last season's playoffs is a thing of the past.

    LINEUP WATCH: The Chargers have to find a right guard and their choices seem to be between Kynan Forney and rookie Luis Vasquez.

    Forney didn't play last year, although he was with the Chargers most of the season.

    Vasquez, a third-round pick, has to prove he can make the transition from blocking in a pass-happy, spread offense at Texas Tech, to one which likes to employ a power-running game to complement its awesome passing attack.

    Forney has the edge at the time. But if Vasquez can show the learning curve isn't steep, he could be a surprise starter here.

    ROOKIE IMPRESSIONS: Larry English was the team's top pick and he hasn't done anything to show that the Chargers should regret this pick.

    Not only could English contribute right away - that's the word from coach Norv Turner - but he supplies the Chargers with insurance.

    The insurance comes in that if Shawne Merriman doesn't bounce back as expected from knee surgery, English will be at the ready.

    And next year, if the Chargers let Merriman walk after his contract expires, English could offer a nice fallback position.

    Two other youngsters worth watching - in addition to Vasquez - are defensive tackle Vaughn Martin and safety Rick Ellison.

    Martin is a potential load in the middle, but he is relatively new to football and played college ball in Canada.

    Ellison could push for significant playing time if he can stay healthy. The strong safety position is being looked at with a keen eye, and Ellison could take advantage of the opportunity for the team to upgrade at that spot.

    INJURY WATCH: Wide receiver Buster Davis is looking to get back into the mix after missing most of last season with a groin injury. A first-round pick in 2007, Davis has to prove he can be a contributor in what could be a do-or-die season for him as far as the Chargers are concerned.

    The key player returning to the fold, of course, is Shawne Merriman. While he hasn't be plopped into the practices just yet, all signs point to him being ready for training camp and then shooting for his fourth Pro Bowl season.

    CONTRACT WATCH: The Chargers have a lot on the plate here, as the contracts of quarterback Philip Rivers and left tackle Marcus McNeill - as well as Merriman - expire at the end of the 2009 season. Rivers and McNeill aren't going anywhere and it's believed preliminary discussions have already taken place

    Merriman? The team has been reluctant to engage in any talks yet - they could use the franchise tag on him in 2010 or let him work if they are that impressed with rookie Larry English.

    <strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong>

    -RB LaDainian Tomlinson blew out 30 candles on his birthday cake on June 23 - and also earned another honor. ESPN selected Tomlinson to its all-decade team; no player can match Tomlinson's 126 touchdowns since 2000. "As an athlete, you set out to be consistent over a period of time," Tomlinson said. "When you're consistent, your teammates and coaches know what they're going to get from you each and every week."

    -CB Brandon Hughes, a fifth-round pick out of Oregon State, signed a four-year contract. "Brandon has played an awful lot of press coverage," coach Norv Turner said. "He's very natural in the slot. I think he's going to have a presence on our football team as a young player. He's picked up what we're doing extremely well. He's a very competitive player."

    - The Chargers have rekindled their interested in relocating to Oceanside in building a new stadium. Their other option, Chula Vista, is running into numerous obstacles. If moving to Oceanside in North San Diego County, the team would be much closer to the Los Angeles and Orange County markets.

    -Oakland released rookie free agents G Sam Allen, CB Ramarcus Brown, WR Jeremy Childs and LB Anthony Felder.

    <strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "I think people were concerned about Kevin because he had some injuries but he is 100 percent healthy. He's moving around awfully well." - Coach Norv Turner on the offseason work of rookie Kevin Ellison, a hard-hitting safety whose career at the University of Southern California was marred by injuries.

    <strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong>

    Could the Chargers be light in wide receivers?

    It's possible if Vincent Jackson is eventually convicted of a driving under the influence charge, which would be his second such incident. If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell takes a look at Jackson's off-the-field troubles, might a suspension be forthcoming?

    Also, Buster Davis has to prove he was worth a first-round pick in 2007. Davis has been a huge disappointment to date - injuries have come into play - but the Chargers are counting on him contributing.

    FRANCHISE PLAYER: RB Darren Sproles: Tendered at $6.621M (signed tender April 28).

    TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

    RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

    EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

    DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED

    -CB Brandon Hughes (5/148): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

    PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

    -OT Jeromey Clary: ERFA; $460,000/1 yr.

    -WR Malcom Floyd: RFA; $1.545M/1 yr.

    -OG Kynan Forney: Potential UFA; $4.8M/2 yrs, SB unknown.

    -CB Cletis Gordon: RFA; $1.545M/1 yr.

    -RB Darren Sproles: Franchise FA; $6.621M/1 yr.

    PLAYERS ACQUIRED

    -LB Kevin Burnett: UFA Cowboys; $5.5M/2 yrs, $2M SB.

    PLAYERS LOST

    -RB Eldra Buckley (released).

    -OG Mike Goff: UFA Chargers; $3.5M/2 yrs, guarantees unknown.

    -LB Marques Harris: UFA 49ers; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    -C Jeremy Newberry: Not tendered as UFA/Falcons; terms unknown.

    -DE Igor Olshansky: UFA Cowboys; $18M/4 yrs, $8M guaranteed.

    -LB Anthony Waters (released).
     

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