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Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Trumpet_Man, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    Chargers Stand Between Packers, 3-0 Start

    (Sports Network) - One of the more surprising undefeated teams in the NFL this season, the Green Bay Packers will try to open a campaign with three straight wins for the first time in seven years when they play host to the San Diego Chargers at historic Lambeau Field this Sunday.

    The Packers knocked off Philadelphia at home and the New York Giants on the road to begin the season. A victory this weekend over the Chargers would improve the club to 3-0 for the first time since 2001, when Green Bay reached the divisional round of the playoffs.
    The Packers are doing it this year against some solid opposition. A win over the Chargers would mark the first time in franchise history that Green Bay began a season 3-0 by defeating teams that all reached the playoffs the season prior.

    In Green Bay's win over New York last week, quarterback Brett Favre threw for 286 yards and three touchdown in a 35-13 win. It was Favre's 149th career victory, passing John Elway for first place on the all-time list.

    Favre is also now just four touchdown passes shy of passing Dan Marino's record of 420.

    Both Elway and Marino are Hall of Famers, company Favre is sure to join when he finally decides to hang up his spikes.
    Down 10-7 at intermission, Favre threw all three of his scoring passes in the second half as Green Bay outscored New York 28-3 over the final two quarters. The defense also played well in the second half, holding the Giants to 133 yards while intercepting a pass. The Packers' special teams also came up with a fumble recovery off a kickoff.

    Dating back to last season, the Packers have now won six games in a row.

    San Diego, meanwhile, will put a six-game winning streak against the NFC on the line Sunday, which includes a victory over the defending conference champion Chicago Bears on opening weekend.

    However, the Chargers stumbled last weekend, falling to New England, 38-14.

    Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers went 19-of-30 with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Antonio Gates added seven catches for 77 yards and a score versus the Patriots.
    It also marked the second straight week that reigning NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson was held in check, at least by his standards. The star running back ended the game with just 43 yards on 18 carries and four receptions for 15 yards.

    The Chargers highly-touted defense also had a poor game. The unit allowed 407 net yards, with New England gaining an average of 6.3 yards per play. San Diego's secondary had trouble handling wideouts Randy Moss and Wes Welker, who combined for 16 catches, 196 yards and two touchdowns.

    San Diego, which finished the regular season at an NFL best 14-2 last year, is trying to avoid its fourth 1-2 start in the past five years.


    Green Bay has a 7-1 edge in its all-time series with San Diego, including a 38-21 road victory when the teams last met in 2002. The Packers have won four straight against the Chargers since the Bolts scored their only victory in the series, a 34-28 win at Lambeau Field in 1984.

    Though in his 10th season as a head coach and having spent seven years in the NFC, Chargers head coach Norv Turner has never faced Green Bay. The Packers' Mike McCarthy will also be meeting both Turner and the Chargers for the first time as a head coach.
    Turner succeeded McCarthy as the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers when the latter took the head job in Green Bay prior to 2006.


    The Chargers are still waiting for the game-breaking play from Tomlinson that came so regularly last year. He wasn't bad in the club's Week 1 win over Chicago -- he ran for a score and threw another -- but he had only 25 rushing yards and has totaled just 68 yards on the ground through San Diego's first two games. That has put a lot of pressure on Rivers (369 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT) and Gates (16 receptions, 2 TD). However, while Tomlinson has yet to get it going on the ground, he has made 11 catches for 66 yards so far. Vincent Jackson (7 receptions) made four catches for 53 yards against the Pats as San Diego was again without wide receiver Eric Parker, who has been sidelined with a toe injury and is again out for this Sunday. Rookie Craig Davis made his first career start last week. Right tackle Shane Olivea left the New England game with a back injury and did not practice on Wednesday.
    Green Bay's defense enjoyed a solid second half versus New York, led by Nick Barnett's team-high seven tackles out of the linebacker spot. He leads the team with 20 stops this season. Defensive end Aaron Kampman (9 tackles, 1 sack) also turned in a solid game with three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He now has 16 1/2 sacks in his past 18 games.
    Right after a Favre touchdown early in the fourth quarter made it 21-13 in favor of Green Bay, defensive back Charlie Peprah put the nail in the coffin on Sunday, as he jarred the ball loose on the resulting kickoff and it was recovered by linebacker Tracy White. That set up another Green Bay touchdown.
    The Packer secondary held New York quarterback Eli Manning to just 211 passing yards while limiting wide receiver Plaxico Burress to two catches for 32 yards. However, the unit did allow 90 rushing yards to the unknown Derrick Ward, meaning Tomlinson should have some room to run in this game. Furthermore, corners Al Harris (back) and Charles Woodson (hip) both missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.


    Favre (492 passing yards, 3 TD, 2 INT) continues his assault on the NFL record books Sunday against a tough Chargers defense. The signal-caller has been sacked five times this season, though, and he will likely be under a lot of pressure. Having Donald Driver (14 receptions, 139 yards) to throw to helps, as the wideout made eight catches for 73 yards and a score against New York, giving him a reception in 82 consecutive games. That is the second longest streak in Packer history, though he still trails Sterling Sharpe's record of 103 straight games by a healthy margin. Rookie James Jones (8 receptions) added four catches for a team-high 75 yards last week as Green Bay again played without receiver Greg Jennings, who has been limited in practice this week and is questionable for this game because of a hamstring injury.
    Running back Vernand Morency (knee) has also missed Green Bay's first two games, but could be back on Sunday. His absence opened up the door for rookie DeShawn Wynn (58 rushing yards), who rushed for the first two touchdowns of his career in last week's win. He should get the bulk of the carries again this week over fellow rookie Brandon Jackson (75 rushing yards) if Morency can't go. Tight end Bubba Franks (knee), who caught a touchdown pass last week, missed practice on Wednesday but returned in a limited role Thursday.

    The Chargers defense will try to rebound against Green Bay's banged-up offense. While the club was torched by New England last week, linebacker Shawne Merriman (8 tackles) had a strong game with two sacks and a forced fumble. San Diego is 8-1 when the Pro Bowl linebacker has two or more sacks in a game. Safety Clinton Hart (10 tackles) posted his first interception of the season in the loss. Hart did not practice on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, but should be ready to go on Sunday. Linebacker Stephen Cooper had 12 total tackles last week to give him a team-high 20 on the season, along with a fumble recovery.

    San Diego's secondary as a whole should be on notice this weekend, as Tom Brady, Moss and Welker had little trouble finding room in their win over the Chargers last week. Perhaps pressure from the linebackers will help San Diego get pressure on Favre and force the veteran into hurried passes that cornerbacks Quentin Jammer (11 tackles) and Drayton Florence (10 tackles) can pounce on.


    Favre has been a surprise so far for owners that took a chance on him as a backup, but his reward will be minimal this weekend. Also, while Wynn did tally a pair of scores last week, it is still unknown how much work he'll get on Sunday. Driver is a must-start each week, but James Jones may be held in check even if Jennings doesn't play.

    For San Diego, Tomlinson isn't putting up the fantasy points at such a rapid pace as last year, but can't be benched and a breakout game is inevitable. It could happen against any team. However, until the Charger wideouts get in the act, Rivers is a risky start, although Gates will continue to put up big numbers.


    Something has to give this weekend between Favre and the San Diego defense. The legendary Packer quarterback has been known to turn the ball over the past few years, while the Chargers defense was shredded as a whole last Sunday. Even though Favre has been good this year, it is tough to imagine him and his elderly legs getting away from the speed of San Diego's young linebackers. Even Lambeau isn't as intimidating as it once was, and the Chargers should have no trouble righting the ship in Green Bay. Expect Tomlinson to return to form, Favre to get a touchdown or two but spend a lot of time on his back, and San Diego to halt its losing streak to the Packers.

    Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Chargers 24, Packers 17
  2. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    Posted September 22, 2007

    3 keys to Sunday's game

    1. Can Chargers' Tomlinson be contained?

    Is this the game when LaDainian Tomlinson breaks out? The percentages say so. Since his rookie season, only once has he gone three straight games without rushing for 100 yards. Last year’s NFL most-valuable player is off to a stunningly bad start (1.9 yards a carry), but it’s come against two first-rate defenses in Chicago and New England, where the Chargers ran into an inspired and extremely talented team last week. No doubt, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was not going to let Tomlinson beat him. It’s hard to see Tomlinson having another day like he’s had so far (43 yards against New England, 25 against the Bears). And if the Packers can’t keep him relatively under control, they’re in for a hard day. Because if he’s running well, the Chargers’ play-action game takes off, and covering tight end Antonio Gates becomes a huge problem. Gates is probably the best receiving tight end in the league, and it will take linebackers Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk teaming with safeties Nick Collins and Atari Bigby, and perhaps a cornerback at times as well, in some combination of double teams to handle him. If Tomlinson is killing the Packers, though, the double-teaming Gates gets problematic, and the Chargers become one of the best offensive teams in football.

    2. Can Chargers' Williams be contained?

    The Chargers have one of the NFL’s premier defensive playmakers in linebacker Shawne Merriman, but as coach Mike McCarthy said this week, nose tackle Jamal Williams probably is the key to that defense. Williams (6-3, 348) is among perhaps the two or three best run-stoppers in the NFL. The Packers’ run problems early this season have been well documented, and picking up in that area against the Chargers is a major challenge that can’t be accomplished without winning a decent share of battles against Williams. Center Scott Wells will need help from guards Junius Coston and Daryn Colledge to even fight Williams to a draw on the day, assuming Williams’ left-elbow injury is doing as well as reports from San Diego suggest. He injured the elbow against the Patriots and played one-armed the rest of the game, but he’s practiced full time this week. If Williams dominates, the Packers will have an extremely difficult time scoring, because the Chargers’ linebackers and defensive backs won’t have to honor the run and have much more talent in coverage than last week’s opponent, the New York Giants.

    3. Will Packers' Jennings be effective?

    The Packers will be at full strength at receiver for the first time this season, and they’ll need it. Greg Jennings, their No. 2 receiver, is back from the hamstring injury that sidelined him the past two weeks, and rookie James Jones’ hamstring injury in practice Thursday won’t keep him out as the No. 3 receiver. So at least now, the Chargers probably will pay if they try to take No. 1 receiver Donald Driver out of the game with double coverage. With San Diego’s strong front seven and the Packers’ shaky run game, the Packers will need the short pass to keep the chains moving. But their best chance to win will be for one of those receivers to bust a couple of those short passes into big plays.
  3. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    Posted September 22, 2007

    Point-countpoint: Can Packers upset San Diego?

    Brad Zimanek point: Chargers, creme of the AFC, too much for Pack. Don't you remember the Packers home games last year against the AFC East's Patriots and Jets?

    Does 73-10 ring a bell? It should.

    The Packers are 2-0 for the first time since 2001 and playing a brand of the game that actually resembles football, but they won't get to 3-0.

    The NFC is the inferior — should I make that way inferior — conference.

    The top five teams in the AFC last year were all better than the NFC champion Bears.

    San Diego has a better offense with the reigning NFL MVP in LaDainian Tomlinson. The Packers' top three runners are not even in the ballpark of Tomlinson's backup, Michael Turner.

    The Packers don't even have someone who can stay with tight end Antonio Gates.

    The Chargers defense is much better than the Packers' resurgent group with players like defensive tackle Jamal Williams and juiced up linebacker/sack artist Shawne Merriman.

    Even the Chargers special teams with kicker Nate Kaeding and punter Mike Scifres are much better than the Packer duo of rookie Mason Crosby and Jon Ryan.
    And give an intangible edge to the Chargers. They are ticked off after getting trounced by New England, the same team that ended San Diego's Super Bowl dreams last season.

    To even think of pulling the upset, the Packers would need every break to go their way and have Phillip Rivers continue his Rex Grossman imitation. :icon_eek: The Packers may put up a fight for a little while, much better than they did last year against New England and New York, but in the end Green Bay will be fortunate to keep it within two touchdowns.

    Tim Froberg counterpoint: Packers can hang with Chargers
    If the Packers' early-season play could be put to music, it wouldn't be the same old blues number reflecting a typical, lousy start.
    It would be Beach Boys' stuff: bouncy, upbeat and retro, taking everyone back to more prosperous Packer times.
    We're talking good, good, good, good vibrations.
    And why not? What the Packers have accomplished with consecutive wins over a pair of 2006 playoff teams has been impressive.

    The defense has met expectations, the special teams have exceeded them and the offense has found a way to get it done despite a running attack that hasn't been this bad since the days of Michael Haddix and Darrell Thompson.

    Now, it's time to see where the Packers fit into the NFL's big picture. Here come the Chargers — a team with Super Bowl aspirations and grumpy after getting waxed by the Patriots 38-14.

    The Chargers will challenge the Packers defense with their ridiculously talented collection of skill players led by the game's top running back (LaDainian Tomlinson), an elite tight end (Antonio Gates) and a Pro Bowl quarterback (Philip Rivers). They play pretty good 'D,' too. Shawne Merriman is a pass-rushing beast on a unit that registered a league-high 61 sacks.

    I'm not calling for a Packers upset, but can they hang with the Chargers? Absolutely. San Diego is loaded, but hasn't yet played like a championship-caliber team.

    The Chargers didn't look special in a 14-3 win over the Bears, and Bill Belichick didn't even have to cheat Sunday to pound them.
    Tomlinson is electric, but can be contained as evidenced by his shockingly low rushing output of just 68 yards. Rivers hasn't lit it up, either, throwing three picks the first two games.

    Green Bay's defense looks legit, and should keep the Packers in this game. If Brett Favre stays patient, it could get interesting.
  4. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    September 19, 2007

    The streak rolls on

    When Brett Favre steps on the Lambeau Field turf Sunday against the Chargers, he will play in his 240th straight regular season game, 260 including playoffs. That will move him into a tie for the second longest streak on record with Minnesota's center **** TInglehoff, who played every game from 1962 to '78. Favre owns the record for consecutive starts by a quarterback, a streak that started in September, 1992.
    Since Favre took over the Packers starting job, a total of 208 quarterbacks have made starts for other teams. The Chargers have had 13: Drew Brees, Jim Everett, Doug Flutie, John Friesz, Gale Gilbert, Jim Harbaugh, Stan Humphries, Erik Kramer, Ryan Leaf, Moses Moreno, Philip Rivers, Sean Salisbury and Craig \Whelihan.
    "To me, that's one of the most impressive streaks you can have, " Rivers said. "It shows how durable he is, how tough he is, and that he's out there every Sunday for his team, ready to go."
    Could Rivers see himself playing 16 years, the way Favre has?
    "I think you've got to be able to do two things," he said. "You've got to be a really good player, and you've got to be fortunate, as he has, to play in 200 some straight and fight through the injuries.
    "I don't know."
  5. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    Eric Goska column: Packers, Chargers struggling with run on 1st down

    By Eric Goska
    If on first down you don't succeed, try, try again.
    That's not quite how the saying goes, but it couldn't be more appropriate when discussing the running games of the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers.
    Both teams have had little success running on first down and both will try, try again Sunday at Lambeau Field.
    Three teams are averaging fewer than 2 yards a carry on first down.
    The Chargers bring up the rear in the AFC with an average of 1.81 yards per attempt, and the Packers (1.73) are a smidge behind the San Francisco 49ers (1.72) in the NFC.
    That Green Bay is in this position is not particularly surprising. Finding San Diego in this low-rent district is.
    The Chargers hosted the Chicago Bears to open the season. They ran 20 times on first down and earned 20 yards.
    In New England a week later, they gained 38 yards rushing on 12 first-down running plays.
    They didn't run at all in the fourth quarter in trying to catch the Patriots.
    The Packers' numbers are similar. Against the Eagles, they picked up 24 yards on 10 first-down running plays. They managed just 28 yards on 20 tries in New York.
    San Diego has 12 first-down runs of zero or negative yards. That's the most in the NFL.
    Green Bay and the Jacksonville Jaguars each have 11 such runs.
    Running on first down is important. Many clubs do the majority of their running on that down, as evidenced by San Diego (32 of 56 rushes; 57 percent) and Green Bay (30 of 46; 65 percent).
    Teams that aren't successful face a lot of second-and-long situations.
    The Chargers knew how to do it last year.
    After two games they were formidable, amassing 252 yards on 39 trips (6.46 average).
    Even the Packers were a bit better. They tallied 57 yards on 18 rushes (3.17 average).
    Of course, no one needs to remind the Packers it's LaDainian Tomlinson they'll be defending.
    The NFL's leading rusher and scorer in 2006 merely needs to rip off a couple of long runs, and this talk of San Diego struggling on first down will disappear.
    Someone wearing Green and Gold could do the same, although that seems a tad unlikely.
    Green Bay and Seattle are the only two teams without a run of 10 or more yards on first down.
    Quick hits
    Regular-season series
    Overall: Green Bay leads 7-1.
    At Lambeau Field: Packers
    lead 2-1.

    Starting quarterbacks
    Packers: Brett Favre (149-90 overall; 4-0 vs. San Diego).
    Chargers: Philip Rivers (15-3 overall; 0-0 vs. Green Bay).

    Once a Charger, now a Packer
    Wide receiver Ruvell Martin was in training camp with San Diego in 2004 and was allocated to NFL Europa in January 2005.

    Once a Packer, now a Charger
    There are no former Packers on the Chargers’ roster.

    The Chargers have won six straight games vs. the NFC. San Diego is the only team to have failed to score in the first half of either of its two games. Last year, it led the league with 176 fourth-quarter points.
  6. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    Carucci says Chargers will run over Packers

    By Rick Klauer
    Friday, Sep 21 2007, 08:06 PM

    Vic Carucci of NFL.com senses an outburst by the Chargers' offense at Lambeau Field.

    Carucci says the more familiar San Diego offense of 2006 will reemerge Sunday against the Packers. Last season, the Chargers led the league with an astonishing 492 points, or 65 points more than runners-up Indianapolis and Chicago. This year, San Diego has scored just 28 points through their first two games, with star running back LaDainian Tomlinson gaining just 68 yards on 1.9 yards per carry.

    Carucci believes Tomlinson and the Chargers, however, will be able to exploit a suspect Packers’ run defense, and quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates will reap the rewards.
    Writes Carucci: "I know the Packers are playing well on defense, but let's take a closer look at this unit that ranks 14th in the NFL. Green Bay's defenders are young, athletic, and do a terrific job of swarming to the ball. They play with aggressiveness and do a nice job of forcing the action. They also have a fatal flaw -- an inability to stand tall against the run.

    "Look for LaDainian Tomlinson to get upwards of 30 carries and pile up 100-plus yards. . . .
    “With the running game firmly established, the Chargers should find a good deal of space to exploit in the passing game. I know quarterback Philip Rivers has been extremely shaky. He has looked uncomfortable and confused and has killed his team by putting the ball in the hands of the opposition. That stops against the Packers.

    "Rivers will have an easier time in this game because, in addition to the help Tomlinson's running will provide, he will benefit from facing a zone-coverage scheme that is ripe for him to exploit. And the key to that exploitation will be tight end Antonio Gates."
  7. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    Locking up Gates
    Defense must deal with star TE

    Posted: Sept. 20, 2007

    Green Bay - San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner wasn't kidding when he said this week that getting the ball into the hands of tight end Antonio Gates was a priority in his passing game.
    Gates already has 16 catches this season and has accounted for 47.7% of his team's receiving yards (184) and half the team's touchdowns (two). In the absence of the normal offensive output of running back LaDainian Tomlinson, (134 total yards, one touchdown), Gates' importance in the Chargers' offense is reaching new heights.

    Perhaps that's not such bad news for the Green Bay Packers.
    In forging a 2-0 start, the Packers have played some of the best pass defense in the National Football League and they've done it against two teams that prominently feature tight ends in their offense.

    The Packers rank 14th in pass defense (14th overall), but that doesn't tell the whole story. They rank first in lowest completion percentage allowed (47.9%), fourth in opponent passer rating (64.2), tied for sixth in fewest yards allowed per attempt and seventh in points allowed per game (13).

    In Week 1, they held Philadelphia tight end L.J. Smith to two catches for 14 yards and last week they held New York tight end Jeremy Shockey to five catches for 60 yards. It's true, Smith was less than 100% because of a groin injury, but they kept both tight ends out of the end zone and rendered them inconsequential.
    Now comes Gates, perhaps the most difficult of all tight ends to cover because at 6-4 and 260 pounds, he presents a serious match-up problem.

    "I totally understand where Norv was coming from," linebackers coach Winston Moss said. "If I was a coach I'd make him the focal point too. He's that talented. We have to have an answer for him Sunday. I assume a team coming off a loss they just encountered against the Patriots, the one thing they're going to do is make sure Tomlinson gets back on track and their passing game revolves around Gates."

    The Chargers are 1-1 after a humiliating 38-14 loss to New England on Sunday night and are ranked 29th in the league in offense. Tomlinson, who last year broke Paul Hornung's long-standing season scoring mark, has 68 rushing yards in 35 carries and hasn't broken a run longer than 11 yards.

    The Packers' priority will be keeping Tomlinson in check, which will make it more difficult to deal with Gates, the former college basketball player from Kent State.

    "Half their plan is to not allow you to really key on him and match up on him," linebacker Brady Poppinga said. "They want to basically keep him in position to catch as many passes as possible. They line him up everywhere. They try to get him in the most favorable position possible."

    More than likely everyone in the back seven is going to have to cover Gates at some point. The Chargers never line him up in one position the entire game and they make you declare early how you're going to cover him and how much attention you're going to pay to Tomlinson.

    On early downs, Poppinga might cover him from the traditional tight end spot or A.J. Hawk might cover him in the slot. Those are the matchups the Chargers want because they don't think there is a bigger player who can run with him.

    "Their plan is to get him on backers," said cornerback Charles Woodson, who faced Gates twice a year from 2003-'05 while with the Oakland Raiders. "They don't want him going against corners."
    The Packers, like many other teams, will cover him with a cornerback, safety or linebacker based on the defense they're in and the position where Gates lines up. And if he's lined up outside as a receiver and Woodson has to cover him?

    "He's just another player to me," he said. "He doesn't pose any more threat than anybody else."
    For linebackers, Gates' route-running and ability to carve out space for himself is a dangerous combination. Cornerbacks have to worry, too, because quarterback Philip Rivers will throw him a fade and let him use his basketball skills to dominate a smaller player.

    "You have to know how to play him because he's 260," nickel back Jarrett Bush said. "You can't really press him, you have to catch him and let him get to his route and break on the ball. He uses his body very well. You just have to get around his big body and knock the ball down. It will be a challenge. I'm looking forward to it."
  8. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    Packers: Script to shock the Chargers?

    September 20, 2007

    GREEN BAY — Brett Favre has seen the film. He knows how the New England Patriots carved up the San Diego Chargers defense last Sunday night on national television.

    But the Green Bay Packers quarterback doesn't buy that the ultra-motivated, post-SpyGate Patriots provided an easy blueprint for the Packers to follow Sunday at Lambeau Field against one of the league's elite defenses.

    "Would that work for us? I don't know. I don't foresee us changing that dramatically against (San Diego)," Favre said of the way Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (25 for 31 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns — including 23- and 24-yarders to Randy Moss) had his way in New England's 38-14 win. "Yeah, I look at it. (But) it's easier said than done. You have to be on the same page.

    "That worked great for them. We may try to incorporate some of that, but we're young (and) we're banged up (on offense)."

    Granted, the Patriots came out with something to prove after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fined coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and punished the club by revoking its first-round draft pick (if the Patriots make the playoffs) or second- and third-round picks (if they don't) for illegally filming the New York Jets' defensive signals in Week 1.

    "There's no question they were very focused, and they played at a real high level," said Chargers coach Norv Turner, who took over this year after Marty Schottenheimer's personality clash with general manager A.J. Smith led to his firing despite a 14-2 regular-season record last year. "I thought we did a lot of good things throughout the game, but we turned the ball over three times in the first half, and one of them was for a touchdown. So we certainly didn't help our defense at all. And then we had a couple breakdowns in the secondary where they were (able) to make a couple big plays."

    Less-than-super Chargers?

    That performance, coupled with San Diego's less-than-dominating 14-3 win over Chicago on opening day, has the Chargers (1-1) looking beatable coming to Green Bay.

    On offense, reigning NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson has just 68 yards on 35 carries (1.9-yard average) and one touchdown in the first two games, as both the Bears and Patriots made stopping LT their first priority, putting eight and nine defenders in the box and daring quarterback Philip Rivers to beat them, which he couldn't do.

    Expect the Packers to use safety Atari Bigby in a similar role Sunday.

    "We've pretty much been expecting it, especially when you're playing teams like the Bears and the Patriots," Tomlinson said of opponents' stop-the-run mentality. "It's been pretty tough the first couple of weeks, so we expect it to be the same this week. We're just going to have to get our passing game going a little bit more successful."

    That's where Rivers has been the problem. He completed 19 of 30 passes for 179 yards with two interceptions (one was returned for a TD) and two meaningless touchdowns after his team already was trailing 24-0.

    But there have been other challenges, aside from Rivers' struggles and the unkind schedule, which had the Chargers flying cross-country for a Sunday night game, flying back to Southern California, then back to the Midwest for this Sunday's game.

    To combat the jet-lag, Turner has the Chargers arriving tonight rather than Saturday, when most teams travel.

    New faces

    There's also this: Not only was Schottenheimer fired and replaced with Turner, but both coordinators also departed during the offseason — offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was hired as the Miami Dolphins' head coach; defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is the Dallas Cowboys' head coach.

    "I think we're still kind of obviously in the adjustment period. I think that's obvious," Tomlinson said. "We're averaging 14 points. So hopefully, as the season goes on, we'll get better. And, you know, Norv is just getting used to what we do well as a team. And so once that's figured out, then I think everything else will go pretty good for us."

    The Packers just hope that the Chargers don't get it figured out by Sunday.

    "I think it hurts (us), because they're sitting there saying in San Diego, 'Hey, we've got to get back on track, we're a better football team than this,' " Favre said. "New England can make you look like that at times. For us, we have to play our best football week in and week out to give ourselves a chance. I think we're getting better. It's only two games. With each team we play, it's going to become tougher and tougher. This is no exception. We have to play our best football to beat this football team."
  9. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    Rivers Aims to One-up His Idol

    SDBoltReport.com Staff
    SDBoltReport.com Sep 21, 2007

    Philip Rivers grew up idolizing Brett Favre. Come Sunday, he has to figure out a way to beat the NFL's winningest quarterback. That's the task facing Rivers and his Chargers as San Diego tiptoes into Green Bay after a demoralizing defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots.

    But the Chargers don't have much time to play the woe-is-me card. Not with a short week after their cross-country trip home last Sunday night and an improved and undefeated Packers team and their rabid fans awaiting their arrival in Wisconsin.

    "It's exciting for our football team to be going back there," Rivers said. "It's always neat when you can have that atmosphere that adds to the game.

    "But then again we've got to make sure we are focused and ready to play the '07 Packers, who are 2-0 and will be ready for us."

    When the Chargers' schedule first came out, this game came with a big red circle. While the Chargers anticipated tough opening outings against the Bears and Patriots, most thought a Green Bay visit would come with a welcome breather.

    But that's no longer the case as the once-powerful Chargers offense has stalled at the starting gate. After leading the league in scoring last year, the Chargers have put only 28 points up in eight quarters. And in both of the first two quarters of their games, with the Bears and Pats, the Chargers have been shut out.

    They got to get it right, and quickly.

    "We obviously have a challenge on our hands," said Rivers, who is coming off a four-turnover game in New England.

    Rivers will try to best one of the players he liked best when growing up in Alabama. Favre, along with Troy Aikman, John Elway and Dan Marino, were the quarterbacks Rivers tried to emulate.

    "He's really the only one still around," Rivers said of Favre. "He's always been a favorite of mine so it'll be fun to compete against him."

    There were few laughs in the Chargers' locker room or long flight home after getting crushed by the Patriots on national TV. Not only did the loss prove once again the Pats are a superior team than the Chargers -- they bounced them in last season's playoffs -- but the Chargers' confidence also took a hit.

    Rivers was awful, looking indecisive with two interceptions and getting sacked three times. LaDainian Tomlinson had few holes opened for him. The wide receivers weren't aggressive going after passes. The defense was torched on the back end and nearly gave up 150 yards rushing.

    It was as ugly as the Chargers have looked in some time.

    So Sunday's game is accompanied by a sense of urgency for the Chargers. Not in the sense that it's do-or-die or the season circles the drain if the Chargers lose for the third time in four games -- counting the playoffs.

    The Chargers, at this time, need to make a statement to themselves as much as they need to deliver one to the NFL. Confidence is a fleeting commodity in the NFL and right now, the Chargers might start questioning just how good they are -- or will be -- under new coach Norv Turner.

    They can turn it around Sunday with a good showing -- and a win -- against a Packers team led by someone Rivers knows all too well.

    To Rivers, Favre is the same as he ever was.

    "When you watch him now, it looks like he's still playing now the same way that he always has and he's really got them going," Rivers said.

    The Chargers need to start heading in a more positive direction. And there's no time like Sunday to switch course.

    SERIES HISTORY: 9th meeting. Packers lead series, 7-1. Green Bay has won the past four meetings, including the last one in Wisconsin -- 42-10 in 1996. The Chargers' only win in the series did come at Lambeau Field, where they prevailed 34-28 in 1984. This marks only the Chargers' fourth regular-season visit to Green Bay.


    --RB LaDainian Tomlinson is telling the doubters to take a chill pill. Sure, that loss was tough to swallow last Sunday but there are still 14 games left.

    "People get all concerned over two games," Tomlinson said. "It's only two games -- take it for what it is."

    --Tomlinson did admit the struggles on offense are a bit baffling. The Chargers are averaging but 14 points a game after averaging a league-best 30 points last season.

    "It shouldn't be a problem but it is," said Tomlinson, who has thrown for as many touchdowns (one) as he has rushed for.

    --Some wonder if Tomlinson should call a team meeting as one of the squad's leaders to keep the players' spirits up.

    "I don't feel that is necessary," Tomlinson said. "You guys want us to start panicking."

    --Coach Norv Turner is upbeat about the week ahead: "The key is that you put the loss behind you," he said. "We started (Wednesday) morning in getting ready for Green Bay and the preparation that we do. I thought we had good meeting, good preparation and a good practice."

    --Rivers stresses that those disappointed with the Chargers should keep the first two weeks of the season in perspective. "We're 1-1, not 0-8," he said. "It's important not to blow it up more than it is. We got to keep plugging, keep going at it."

    --Chargers receivers coach James Lofton was the Packers' No. 1 pick in 1978 and spent nine seasons of his Hall of Fame career with Green Bay.

    --Chargers QB Charlie Whitehurst's dad, David, is a former Packers quarterback. The elder Whitehurst could be in attendance Sunday with it being the Packers' alumni weekend. Among David Whitehurst's favorite targets was Lofton.

    --Turner on what ails his No. 29th-ranked offense: "There are a lot of reasons and we have talked about it: consistency up front, we turned the ball over this last game and we played two outstanding defenses (Chicago, New England). There are a variety of reasons. I don't think you can only say this is the only reason."

    --Ex-Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer's brother, Kurt, is the Packers' secondary coach. Think he'll be lobbing his unemployed brother a call in how to attack the Chargers' passing offense?

    BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- Number of 100-yard rushing games by Tomlinson in 2006. In two games this year, he's rushed for but 68 yards.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Right now we need to get better as a team. And we will." -- LB Shawne Merriman, on the Chargers' sputtering start to 2007. ............
  10. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    The Chargers will go to Green Bay with their fingers crossed that the right side of the offensive line can hold up.

    Right tackle Shane Olivea missed another practice Thursday with a back injury he suffered in Sunday's loss at New England. While veteran Roman Oben is available to fill in, it appears the Chargers are going to roll the dice with first-year pro Jeromey Clary.

    The unknown Clary will play a key role if the Chargers want to spit out that sour taste from Sunday's blasting. But 6-foot-6, 306-pound Clary, a sixth-round pick in 2006, will have his hands full.

    If it's Clary, he'll be getting his first NFL start. He played most the game Sunday night when Olivea went down early, but this is the first week he likely trots out with the first team.

    Waiting for Clary is Aaron Kampman. The Packers' dominating left end led the NFC with 15.5 sacks last year.

    The Chargers need to shore up a pass protection which saw Philip Rivers get sacked three times and hit on numerous other occasions against the Patriots.

    For Clary, who spent last year on the practice squad, it's a golden opportunity to make his mark against one the NFL's elite pass-rushers.

    Quarterback Philip Rivers said Clary held up well on the road at New England.

    "He really stepped in and played well," Rivers said. "He studies, he works, he listens. I think (Sunday) was good for him."


    --ILB Matt Wilhelm sat out Thursday's practice with a calf injury. He won't play Sunday and will be replaced by Tim Dobbins. For Dobbins, it will be his first NFL start. He struggled at times on Sunday after replacing Wilhelm.

    --ILB Stephen Cooper was able to work and is a go for Sunday. He has been bothered by a sore neck.

    --S Clinton Hart (hamstring) also returned to practice. But he's not quite 100 percent and it'll be worth monitoring how his injury holds up against Brett Favre -- he figures to throw a lot against a struggling secondary.

    --The news continues to be encouraging on Pro Bowl NT Jamal Williams. He left Sunday's game with a hyper extended elbow, but has now been able to work two straight days. His importance to the Chargers' 3-4 defense can't be overstated.

    --WR Craig Davis should start opposite of Vincent Jackson. Davis is replacing Eric Parker, who is likely out at least two more games with a toe injury.

    --OLB Shaun Phillips has been careful with a quad ailment that occasionally acts up. But he has worked the past two days and is a go for Sunday. Still, his game is all about speed.

    --WR Vincent Jackson opened some eyes for the wrong reasons in the Pats game. He looked lackadaisical on some routes and wasn't aggressive in going after some passes pointed his direction.

    --WR Kassim Osgood gets frustrated with not being a part of the base offense. But he's been dynamite on special teams; he earned the Pro Bowl selection at that position last season. He made three special teams tacklers and stripped the ball from returner Calvin Hobbs.

    --OLB Shawne Merriman appears to be back on track after a stellar game last Sunday when he had two sacks, a forced fumble, a tackle for a loss and a pass defensed.

    --That scoring catch by FB Lorenzo Neal in the Pats game was his first since 2005.

    --TE Antonio Gates continues to be the lone offensive threat performing with consistency. He leads the team with 16 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Three of his catches last Sunday resulted in first downs.

    --QB Philip Rivers had but nine interceptions in 16 regular-season games last year. In two games, he already has three.

    --Maybe LaDainian Tomlinson will get untracked through the air and not on the ground against the Packers. Back in 2003 when Tomlinson had 100 receptions, he had 11 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns. That included the third-longest receiving play of his career, a 68-yard, catch-and-run, for a touchdown.

    GAME PLAN: The Chargers should stretch the field early and often against the Packers. It's not that the Chargers have lost their minds and are getting away from using Tomlinson or Gates. It's just that first two defenses have paid little notice to the Chargers' vertical game and the result has been Tomlinson and Gates have been bottled up to some degree. So if the Chargers can loosen up the Packers and get the linebackers and safeties off the line of scrimmage, it will open room for Tomlinson and Gates.

    Even if the completions aren't there, the mere sight of Rivers looking toward the intermediate or deep routes will pay dividends. Of course, that is going to take some work up front for Rivers to have the time to look down field. That could be difficult with the uncertain situation at right tackle with starter Shane Olivea ailing.


    Chargers pass defense, which was abused last Sunday, vs. Packers passing attack, led by the ageless Brett Favre.

    The Chargers have bragged about how much better their aggressive schemes would be under new coordinator Ted Cottrell. But the secondary was torched on numerous occasions against the Pats as the defensive backs seemed content to give huge cushions to protect themselves from the deep balls -- and they still got beat deep. Brett Favre, no doubt, will take notice and aim many passes at CBs Quentin Jammer, Drayton Florence and Antonio Cromartie. The key here might be the play up front more so then the play on the back end. It's imperative the Chargers mount a pass rush or Favre, if given time, will pick this secondary apart like he has done throughout his illustrious career.

    --Chargers pass protection, which allowed three sacks last game, vs. Packers pass rush, which features LDE Aaron Kampman.

    The Chargers have to be more stout against the pass rush as the pressure the Pats were able to send forced at least two of Rivers' three turnovers. The task could be even more difficult this week, as RT Shane Olivea was forced from last week's game with a back injury. If he can't go, veteran Roman Oben would be asked to flip sides and take Olivea's place, or Jeromey Clary gets his first NFL start. The sense seems to be Clary gets the call as he did well subbing for Olivea most the game in New England. Still, the Chargers pick the wrong week to face an opponent with the speed rusher coming off their right side, instead of the normal left side.

    --Chargers return game vs. Packers special teams.

    Among the reasons the Chargers were such a high-scoring squad last year was the dynamite field position the offense often assumed. The Chargers need a spark from their return game, as it has been very ordinary. Some of that can be attributed to KR Michael Turner nursing a sore ankle coming into the season and PR Darren Sproles getting knocked from the opener with a concussion after his first effort. Both are back, and both need to get back to gaining some of those hidden yards that offensive coordinators love to work with. The Packers' coverage teams have been pretty solid. They have allowed an average of 20 yards on kickoffs with a long of 27. On punts, rivals are averaging but 2 yards.

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