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Chargers Team Report - 10/13/10

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by ChargerRay, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. ChargerRay

    ChargerRay #FireMcCoy #FirePagano Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    Source: USA Today

    The Chargers' special teams play has been horrible, that much we know. How they go about fixing it? That's anyone's guess.

    Among the possible shakeups to this shoddy play that has helped the Chargers lose three games is firing special teams coach Steve Crosby.

    That's the other thing we know: he's not going anywhere.

    Try another method because according to coach Norv Turner, Crosby's position is in zero jeopardy.

    "I know what everyone wants to make it out to be," Turner said. "It turns out to be a blame game. You guys have been around me. You know what I'm about. It ain't gonna turn out to be that with me. We're going to address the things. I look forward. I always look forward. We've got to fix the problems we've had and then we've got to go get better, and that's what we're going to do."

    This comes on the heels of the Raiders blocking two punts in their upset of the Chargers. That came on the heels of Seattle's Leon Washington returning two kickoffs for touchdowns.

    That came on the heels of Chiefs rookies Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas both scoring on returns in the opener.

    Plus, Oakland's Nick Miller returned a punt for 46 yards in his first career chance in Sunday's loss.

    The Chargers answer is to shuffle some players and they continue to do that. Gone are C.J. Spillman and Fred Bennett; in is wide receiver Richard Goodman.

    But Crosby is staying put as the Chargers try to shore up a unit on the verge of becoming the laughingstock of the NFL.

    NOTES, QUOTES

    —Former NFL coach Tony Dungy got under Norv Turner's skin when commenting on television Sunday night that the head coach is ultimately responsible when a team commits as many errors as the Chargers have.

    "You make a comment and you see a team from afar and I understand his comment and I can relate to him," Turner said, setting up his zinger. "It's probably how he felt when his players let Darren Sproles return a punt and a kick for a touchdown here on a Sunday night game or when Peyton (Manning) threw six interceptions against us. I understand we have work to do, and it's like any head coach would feel after a game like that."

    —RB Ryan Mathews looked good Sunday — when he got a chance. For some reason — Turner said Mathews' ankle is fine — he was limited to nine carries. Mathews averaged 6.6 yards and had a long of 17.

    "How is he physically? He's a little bit sore but not to the point where I think he gets on an injury report or anything," Turner said. "I think he made it through the soreness he had Friday, and I think he's ready to go. I hope he's ready to go and carry the load or carry more of the load. When he gets an opportunity, he plays awfully well.

    —Turner doesn't think the Chargers' slow starts on the road are related to a lack of focus. "I think we've had great focus," he said. "This is an emotional game. There's great emotion, and when you go on the road, there's going to be ups and downs, and there are in every game. You're going to go play four quarters. Our guys know how to go get ready to play, and they've gotten ready."

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    PLAYER NOTES

    —QB Philip Rivers has been sensational this season — the Dan Fouts, possibly, of his generation. He tacked on 431 passing yards and two scores and a rating of 114.3 against the Raiders last week. But, he had two critical lost fumbles — the last one cost the Chargers the game. To his credit, Rivers will be the first to tell you that gaudy numbers don't mean squat unless you win and take care of the football.

    —RB Ryan Mathews looked good — when he had the chance — against the Raiders. It seems the Chargers continue to coddle him after he suffered a sprained ankle earlier in the year. He didn't look compromised on Sunday, averaging 6.6 yards on nine carries. The real question goes to Norv Turner: Why not give it to him more?

    —RB Mike Tolbert hit the wall and then some on Sunday, gaining 11 yards on 12 carries. His worst carry was when he fumbled away the ball at the Oakland 1. Tolbert could see his role decreased as the season progresses.

    —WR Malcom Floyd is coming off a career-high 213 receiving yards, one of the top performances at that position in team history. Floyd has shown he can take some of the load after Vincent Jackson's decision not to sign his tender. Floyd's deal is usually about durability and not production. If he can stay healthy — with Philip Rivers at quarterback — he could have a tremendous season.

    —TE Antonio Gates is having one of the best seasons of his career. He added five catches for 92 yards and a score Sunday. That said, he had a critical holding penalty when the team was marching for the go-ahead touchdown.

    —LT Marcus McNeill is close to signing a long-term deal. McNeill, a two-time Pro Bowler, is expected to start on Sunday after his three-game stint on the roster exempt list expired after Sunday's game.

    —OLB Shaun Phillips is having a Pro Bowl type season. On Sunday, he had three tackles and a pass defensed. However, he didn't supply the pass rush the Chargers are so desperately seeking.

    —ILB Brandon Siler could return this week after sitting out Sunday's game with a foot injury. Not only is Siler a hard-nosed player against the run, but he shines on special teams.

    —OLB Shawne Merriman was able to go about 10 plays Sunday and relying on him on anything much more than that is foolish. He is still slowed by a calf injury, the latest in a series of nagging injuries which has reduced this three-time Pro Bowler to a seldom-used role player.

    —S Paul Oliver was a bust in his first of what will likely be four starts in replacing suspended S Steve Gregory. He whiffed on tackles and seemed tentative.

    —DT Antonio Garay has been playing well in the middle — at least that was the case early in Sunday's game.

    —KR/PR Darren Sproles continues to give the Chargers very little for their big bucks. Despite earning some $7 million this year, Sproles is average on returns. He averaged 23.3 yards on four kickoffs and had a 10-yard return on his lone punt. Decent, but hardly the payoff the Chargers were expecting.

    REPORT CARD VS. RAIDERS

    PASSING OFFENSE: B — Philip Rivers continues to amass amazing numbers — but they usually come in a loss. He cranked it up for 431 more yards and two touchdowns for a gaudy 114.3 rating, but one can't ignore two more turnovers. Malcom Floyd had the game of his life with a career-high 213 yards and a score. The pass protection was OK — Rivers usually had enough time, but he did get sacked three times. He was stripped of the ball, and the fumble was turned into a score.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: C — There were some decent holes, and why Ryan Mathews continues to be babied is a mystery. When he got a chance he produced. But the Chargers leaned more on Mike Tolbert, and the result was 11 yards on 12 carries — and a fumble at the Oakland 1.

    PASS DEFENSE: C —— At first glance, 173 passing yards seems like a respectable total for a defense to allow. But when the game was hanging in the balance, the Raiders consistently picked up critical yardage through the air, allowing them to stay in the game and win. The pass rush produced three sacks, but there was far too much time when it mattered, as Jason Campbell was able to go through his reads and find the right target time and time again. Finding a consistent pass rush continues to be a problem.

    RUSH DEFENSE: C — Michael Bush went for 104 yards — not bad for a backup, as the Chargers were spotty here. Early in the game, it was clear the Raiders would be hard-pressed to run the ball. But as the game matured, the holes — especially up the middle — were more than enough for the Raiders to exploit. Kevin Burnett and Stephen Cooper played well inside.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: F — Two blocked punts to start the game — which led to 12 points — would have been shocking if the team hadn't played so poorly on special teams for most of the year. Antwan Applewhite was the guilty party on letting the pressure come through on the blocks — at least he manned up for them. But there was also a killer 46-yard punt return that was almost a touchdown. San Diego's special teams were horrible, and no one really sees it getting better if it can't be fixed by now.

    COACHING: F — Terrible special teams play, bonehead penalties, three more turnovers — should we go on? Norv Turner isn't directly responsible for all the miscues, but as head coach, he gets the blame. So after the boatload of errors his team made, the first play he mentions in his postgame press conference is a blown call for the Raiders having 12 men in the huddle? Turner needs to say it's on me, men, something that no one can remember him ever doing. The Chargers played down to the Raiders' level and that is just what the head coach has to avoid. Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera was apparently kidnapped at halftime because after dialing up various packages that had the Raiders dead in the water in the first two quarters, Oakland roared back to steal the win.
     

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