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Chargers Team Report - 09/23/10

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by RaiderRay, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. RaiderRay

    RaiderRay RIP SD Chargers...Go Padres, Gulls, Ducks, Raiders Staff Member Administrator Podcaster

    Jun 20, 2005
    Source: USA Today

    The Chargers say hi to an old friend Sunday, and we're not talking about Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
    The Chargers and Seahawks once shared the AFC West, where they played each other twice a year from 1978-2001.

    But that history means little Sunday, when the Chargers try to win their second straight game and first on the road in 2010.

    The Seahawks have a new look, starting at the top with former USC coach Pete Carroll.

    "Pete's obviously an outstanding coach," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "They're playing hard. They're defending the run extremely well. They're very good offensively on third down. They're at a 56 percent conversion rate. They have a veteran quarterback. And they've got a lot of players who have had success.

    "We know (that) and just like we talked about going into Seattle, going on the road, the crowd noise, there's a lot of things we'll have to deal with to get ready."

    The Chargers look a lot more capable of embracing the challenge after a home win over the Jaguars under their belt. That helped — but didn't erase — how befuddled the Chargers looked when trying to wrestle with the Chiefs in a hostile environment in the season opener.

    But Turner stresses those issues aren't a concern, as long as the Chargers prepare in the proper manner. The Chargers proved last year the road doesn't intimidate them when winning a franchise-best seven road wins.

    To match that this year, they would have to go undefeated on the road the rest of the way. No one is promising that, but they are promising to go all-out in getting No. 1 on Sunday.

    Turner, a noted offensive guru, will be matched against the defensive-driven Carroll.

    "Defensively, Pete's been an outstanding defensive coach for a long time, so there's things that you know he's going to bring to their system," Turner said. "Whether it's identical to what they did at USC, I'm sure there's going to be some similarities. This isn't the opening game. Now we have two games on tape that count, so we'll get a pretty good handle on what they want to do."

    The Chargers' mission is simple as it attempts to find balance to a pass-heavy attack and for its defense to generate pressure on quarterbacks and turnovers.

    With Mike Tolbert rushing for two touchdowns and the team collecting 151 rushing yards Sunday, they did that.

    And with the defense forcing six Jacksonville turnovers, it did that.

    Now can it do this and that on the road, against a Seahawks team which lost a little spring their step after losing to Denver, but are still playing with the emotion that most Carroll teams do.

    The potent Chargers offense needs to make sure it keeps Rivers clean. It's clear the Seahawks won't be shy about attacking him first with various looks.

    "Pete's always been very aggressive," Turner said. "Their guys are going to play extremely hard. They're going to be extremely fast. They've always been multiple in terms of things they present for you. And his defense has always played real well."

    This makes for a good matchup Sunday. And for Pete's sake, the Chargers can't play any worse than they did in their first road game.

    This is a Chargers team still seeking their identity. With the numerous roster changes this is a new era in Chargers football and one that comes with many questions still unanswered — like can they win on the road with regularity.

    Some of those mysteries might be solved Sunday.

    SERIES HISTORY: 49th regular-season meeting. The Seahawks lead the series, 25-23. Seattle had won straight between the teams until the Chargers prevailed in their last meeting, 20-17 in Seattle in 2006 when Philip Rivers hit Vincent Jackson with a 37-yard touchdown with 37 seconds to play. But Seattle has won 10 of the past 13 matchups between these old AFC West foes.


    —The Chargers declined to trade disgruntled WR Vincent Jackson by Wednesday. If doing so by then, his six-game suspension would have been reduced to four. Jackson's agents said they had a contract agreement and deal in place but that GM A.J. Smith wouldn't budge on his asking price. ""I can understand why Archie Manning calls the Chargers what he calls them," said Jackson's agent, Neil Schwartz, alluding to Manning not wanting his son, Eli, to play for the Chargers in 2004.

    Asked for clarification, Schwartz said, "Well they call (Smith) the Lord of No Rings."

    —It's not rare that TE Antonio Gates catches touchdown passes; he had two in the win over the Jaguars. What's odd is no one was covering him on either reception. "All along I've been talking about the ability that we have in our receiving corps to make a play and make you respect the fact that you have Malcom (Floyd) and Legedu Naanee on the outside," Gates said. "The defense was keying in on them and I was able to get open and make a play."

    —QB Philip Rivers now has 16 300-yard passing games, which ties him for second in franchise history with John Hadl.

    —Rivers is also shooting for his third straight 4,000-yard passing season which would tie the team mark set by Dan Fouts. Fouts — who had Chargers coach Norv Turner as a backup at Oregon — is calling Sunday's game for CBS.

    —ILB Kevin Burnett said the defense coaches have preached about the need to create turnovers. After getting the Jaguars to cough it up six times on Sunday, Burnett explained why turnovers are so critical. "Taking the ball away from a team takes away one of their possessions but even more importantly, it gives our offense back the ball," he said. "We know that as a defense, it we can make those stops and creates those turnovers, our offense will have a chance to score multiple touchdowns. For us, that's our main objective."

    —Depending on the health of ILB Stephen Cooper (knee), Brandon Siler could see considerable action again Sunday. That's cool with CB Antoine Cason. "Brandon Siler is one of those guys who played a lot last year so he knows how to come in and do things like that," Cason said of Siler's showing of an interception and a quarterback hit. "The defense as a whole is so close. We know how to fill in for each other and pick each other up and do the right thing."

    —Speaking of Cason, he had two interceptions in the win over Jaguars, one a leaping catch which reminded some of the player he replaced: Antonio Cromartie. "I'd never compare any two guys," Turner said. "Cason is a really good football player. He has a knack for making plays. I really appreciated his approach to the game and how he prepares."

    —Turner is upbeat over his defense, which has played pretty solid in both games. "Our defense is doing exactly what I envisioned when we started talking about the things we wanted to do in mid-February and March," Turner said. "We want to be sound in what we do and you always start with that, and we want to be able to hit the quarterback. We want to pressure the quarterback."

    BY THE NUMBERS: 66 — Consecutive regular-season games to start a career in which QB Philip Rivers hasn't a three-interception outing; that's an NFL record.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm doing whatever my team needs me to do. Whether it's playing fullback behind Jacob (Hester), helping Ryan (Mathews) and Darren (Sproles) when they need a break, or running down kickoffs." — RB Mike Tolbert on his various roles with the team.


    The team has settled in with long snapper Ryan Neill after going through three long snappers last week.

    Neill replaces James Dearth, who had replaced veteran David Binn. Dearth and Binn landed on IR with injuries.

    Neill was the long snapper Sunday when Mike Scifres suffered a rare blocked punt. But Scifres said the snap was true and it wasn't Neill's fault.


    —LT Brandyn Dombrowski was leg-whipped in Sunday's game but should be OK by Sunday.

    —If LT Dombrowski can't go — he practiced Wednesday — he would be replaced by Tyronne Green. Green has just a handful of plays under his belt at left tackle.

    —RB Mike Tolbert could be in for a nice encore to last week's two-touchdown showing. Tolbert's carries are increasing, and that was before Ryan Mathews went down with a tender ankle.

    —RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) didn't work Wednesday and when he does punch the clock again, you can bet ball security drills will be in order. The team is downplaying its concern, but Mathews has two fumbles in five quarters.

    —WR Legedu Naanee could be in for a big game — or at least the chance for one. With Vincent Jackson still unsigned and Malcom Floyd absent from Wednesday practice with a leg injury, Naanee is zooming up the depth chart.

    —WR Patrick Crayton was advertised as someone ready to make an immediate impact with the team when he came over from the Cowboys. But he has but one catch in two games; he could be a bigger part of the mix this week.

    —OLB Jyles Tucker didn't practice Wednesday because of a personal issue.

    GAME PLAN: Look for the Chargers to come out fast and aggressive. If they can get up early on the Seahawks, it might take away some of the noise issues which befuddled the Chargers two weeks ago in Kansas City. Defensively, the Chargers are feeling more confident on that side of the ball in quite some time. They trust the cornerbacks more, which means they can send more people from more areas. Blitzing Matt Hasselbeck into some mistakes is in the Chargers' plans.

    MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Chargers running game vs. Seahawks run defense —

    The Chargers are bent on establishing the running game and providing some balance and they were able to do that in Sunday's win. But Ryan Mathews, if he plays, will likely be compromised; Mike Tolbert will get an increased role. But the Seahawks aren't pushovers against the run, averaging 57 yards per game. That run defense is spearheaded by MLB Lofa Tatupu — he's tied with the team lead with 13 tackles. Among the keys will be the Chargers' interior line opening inside room for Tolbert by beating Seahawks tackles Brandon Mebane and Colin Colt.

    Chargers' passing game vs. Seahawks secondary — With Mathews hurting the Chargers could turn to the passing game and that is never a bad thing when it is directed by Philip Rivers. But the passing game could be less than full strength as well with Malcom Floyd battling a leg injury. Still, the Chargers took note of Denver's Kyle Orton throwing for 307 yards and two scores in last week's win over the Seahawks and they will likely follow suit. Plus, the Seahawks' pass rush hasn't been anything special — three sacks in eight quarters. But again Brandyn Dombrowski, the new left tackle, needs to show he can withstand Red Bryant (one sack).

    Chargers offense, in particular the line vs. the noise coming from Qwest Stadium — The Chargers head back on the road; the last time they did so was a disaster. In Kansas City the team was bothered by rain and noise to the tune of five penalties being attributed to those two elements. So how will the Chargers rebounding at Qwest where it could be wet — although rain isn't in the forecast — but will be loud. The Chargers are preparing by piping loud noise into their practice — much like they did leading up to the Chiefs game. But it will be worth watching, especially out at the tackle spots with Brandyn Dombrowski and Jeromey Clary, if the Chargers' offense can run smoothly on the road.

    INJURY IMPACT: RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) didn't practice on Wednesday but didn't rule out getting into Sunday's game.

    —OLB Shawne Merriman (Achilles tendon) was able to work Wednesday and that is a good sign for him and the Chargers.

    —LT Brandyn Dombrowski (leg) was able to work, wearing a heavy wrap. He's good for Sunday.

    —ILB Stephen Cooper (knee) was limited in practice and depending on how his knee responds Thursday, he could return to the lineup.

    —WR Malcom Floyd (leg) didn't practice on Wednesday which was a bit unexpected. His injury is worth watching as the week develops.

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