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Chargers Team Report - 09/22/09

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=teamreports-2009-nfl-sdg&amp;prov=sportsxchange&amp;type=team_report" target="_blank">Yahoo Sports</a>

    <div class="alignright"><a href="http://www.cnnsi.com/2007/images/10/01/p1_norv.jpg"><img title="Norv Turner" src="http://www.cnnsi.com/2007/images/10/01/p1_norv.jpg" alt="Norv Turner" width="167" height="227" /></a></div>

    The problem with the Chargers? People just expect too much.

    The Chargers have had little problem with people including them when talking about Super Bowl contenders. How could a squad which has reached the playoffs for three straight years not be expected to shoot for the NFL's ultimate prize?

    But after winning in Oakland-when not playing well-and losing to the Ravens-when not playing smart-the Chargers are telling everyone to back off.

    "I don't think right now we're as good as you that cover us think or expect us to be," coach Norv Turner said Monday. "I don't think we're as good as what our fans want us to be. But I believe we can get there. We have a lot of work to do to get there."

    Seems like the Chargers got a big dose of Ravens and crow in Sunday's win.

    Despite seeing their quarterback <span>Philip Rivers</span> throw for a career-high 436 yards, the Chargers strangely enough lost when calling a running play on their final down.

    So maybe if they keep everyone's expectations down the results will improve?

    "It seems the expectation outside the building is we never should lose a game, we should score every single time in the red zone, we should never punt," Rivers said. "It's just a little bit unrealistic. We aren't as good as we want to be or can be yet."

    Hopefully that's true. Because while Rivers enjoyed a sensational game, his offense went an eye-popping 0-for-5 in the red zone, settling for four field goals and giving the ball back with the game all but over.

    Maybe the Chargers are grumpy knowing they are not only at 1-1 but tip-toeing through the minefield of injuries this early in the season.

    The biggest ailment showed up in Sunday's loss with the middle of the defensive line being compromised time and again on running plays.

    That speaks to losing three-time Pro Bowler <span>Jamal Williams</span> for the season with a triceps injury. Like Pro Bowl linebacker Shawn Merriman did last year, Williams had to shut it down after one game.

    And now Merriman is hobbling again, too.

    Merriman didn't play in the last two series after straining his groin. While his status will be determined later in the week, this much is clear: he's not the same <span>Shawne Merriman</span> we remember-yet.

    Merriman is still looking for sack eight quarters into his return; he did have a quarterback pressure Sunday which helped result in an interception.

    Those expecting Merriman to come back and start slamming quarterbacks to the ground to help the backside of the defense have been disappointed.

    Hey, kind of like those folks predicting great things for the Chargers this year, one year after they started 4-8.

    "It's a work in progress," linebacker <span>Stephen Cooper</span> said. "It's only Week 2. Everyone is starting to panic. It's part of football."
    <h3><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></h3>
    <strong>• </strong>The Ravens were able to run for 130 yards and that was because the Chargers played their first game with standout DT Jamal Williams-he's out for the year with a triceps injury. "Obviously, the loss of Jamal Williams for the season is something we're going to miss terribly as a defense," DE <span>Luis Castillo</span> said. "We just have to do better."

    <strong>• </strong>OLB Shawne Merriman knows he's not having the impact he had hoped. "I have to do a better job of making more things happen," Merriman said. "Period. One or two big plays aren't enough."

    <strong>• </strong>TE <span>Antonio Gates</span> said the Chargers' loss was easy to figure out-taking five trips into the red zone and not converting any into touchdowns. "We know we can throw the ball up and down the field, but leaving the red zone without scoring touchdowns came back to haunt us."

    <strong>• </strong>Want to rankle a coach? Ask him if it's a moral victory to play a team which was in the AFC title game last season-like the Ravens-close. "I'm not even into using those words, moral victories," coach Norv Turner said. "We came into this game with one thought: to win the game. We didn't get it done."
    <h3><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></h3>
    <strong>Player Notes</strong>

    <strong>• </strong>RB <span>LaDainian Tomlinson</span> will test his sprained ankle this week and will try to go Sunday.

    <strong>• </strong>LB Shawne Merriman (groin) could be limited in practice this week.

    <strong>• </strong>LB <span>Shaun Phillips</span> (groin) could miss practice Wednesday but should go this week.

    <strong>• </strong>RG <span>Louis Vasquez</span> (foot) is expect to try and practice this week and could go Sunday.

    <strong>• </strong>C <span>Nick Hardwick</span> (ankle) is still in a boot and he could be down for another week.

    <strong>• </strong>WR Buster Davis was a healthy inactive for the second straight week.

    <strong>Report Card Vs</strong> . RAVENS

    <strong>Passing Offense:</strong> A-Philip Rivers was sensational-that said he had two killer turnovers, one in which he just flipped the ball over the middle of the field when trying to throw it away. But he was on target for most the game, including a sensation scoring pass to <span>Vincent Jackson</span> in triple coverage. Pass blocking was OK; he did get sacked twice and was pressured numerous other times. Eight different receivers got into the mix and but one drop-by <span>Chris Chambers</span>-was noted. <span>Darren Sproles,</span> using his legs as much as his hands, racked up 124 yards and a score on seven catches.

    <strong>Rushing Offense:</strong> D-The Chargers weren't that interested in running the ball because if they were, they would have used Michael Bennett more. He was averaging nearly 5 yards a carry on four attempts, but he didn't get a sniff late in the game. Darren Sproles wasn't a factor here. Hard to tell on the run blocking because there was so little of it. But it did have its hands full against the Ravens' front seven.

    <strong>Passing Defense:</strong> D-<span>Joe Flacco</span> throws for two touchdowns when <span>Antoine Cason</span> bites too hard on an underneath route fake and Steven Gregory can't keep up with TE <span>Todd Heap.</span> But the key here is once again the Chargers cannot generate a consistent pass rush and it is hurting the back end.

    <strong>Rush Defense:</strong> D-The Ravens go for 130 yards here and on many carries no obstacles were found on the Chargers' side of the line until the runners were reaching the linebackers. The middle was gashed time and again and the ends had trouble containing the outside as well. With DT Jamal Williams out, this is going to be tough sledding for some time.

    <strong>Special Teams:</strong> B-Sproles was tough to bring down once again as he collected 128 yards on for kick returns. P <span>Mike Scifres</span> was decent; he is nursing a sore groin. K <span>Nate Kaeding</span> tied a career-high with four field goals. It's an A here if Larry Hughes doesn't get a roughing the kicker penalty.

    <strong>Coaching:</strong> F - Norv Turner's call to run the ball on fourth-and-1 behind a makeshift line will long be remembered as the Chargers absorbed their first loss. But just as disturbing was his kicking a field goal with 10 seconds left in the half from the Baltimore 5. The bigger picture here is that the Chargers, once again under Turner, seemed destined for a slow start.

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