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Inside Slant - 03/31/07

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>

    <img src="http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2006/writers/jeffri_chadiha/08/09/postcard.chargers/p1_gates_si.jpg" title="Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson" alt="Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson" align="right" height="229" width="185" />Norv Turner believes the best is yet to come.

    Turner, the Chargers' new head coach, was discussing the team's future at the recent NFL owners meetings. At breakfast with the media, Turner's plate showed a hearty portion of potential.

    Turner sees continued greatness, and improvement, from running back LaDainian Tomlinson, quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates, to name a few Chargers.

    Talent and youth are well-served on a Chargers roster that went 14-2 last season.

    "I look at them and I say, 'Hey, these guys can get a lot better,'" Turner said in Phoenix. "It's not a veteran team that you say, 'OK, we've got to take care of these guys so we can get another year out of them.'

    "These are some guys who are going to play 10 more years. I think you take advantage of the youth and excitement and energy that this team has. That's going to be my big emphasis."

    It's little secret what the Chargers' brass is emphasizing - an extended stay in the playoffs. Turner has this job because team president Dean Spanos and general manager A.J. Smith didn't think Marty Schottenheimer could deliver just that.

    So Turner has a team others would die for delivered to his doorstop. But he also knows to take that next step, stars and role players need to ascend.

    Two wide receivers have caught Turner's eye, in Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd.

    As Keenan McCardell's playing time dwindled last season, Jackson was the benefactor and took over the No. 1 role. And before Floyd's season was derailed with an ankle injury, he caught three touchdown passes.

    Those are the lesser-known names. One of the biggest can also get better. In Rivers, Turner sees a Pro Bowl quarterback with a considerable upside.

    "Rivers has played one season," Turner said. "He is nowhere near the quarterback he is going to be in three or four years."


    -New coach Norv Turner said succeeding in the postseason comes down to how you prepare. "It's a style of play, and continuing to grow, doing the little things throughout the year that make a difference when you're playing the best teams," Turner said. "When you're playing one of the three or four best defensive teams in the league, which I assume you will be in the postseason, do you still play at a high level? Do you still do you things you do against a team ranked 25th in defense?"

    -The Chargers were awarded two compensatory picks for the upcoming draft. They snagged the highest one dispersed, a third-rounder (96th overall), as well as a fifth-rounder (172). The bounty was compensation for losing free agents QB Drew Brees, WR Reche Caldwell, TE Justin Peelle and LB Ben Leber.

    -GM A.J. Smith has certainly made his mark on draft days, and this year he'll have a total of eight picks, with the first being at No. 30. That could change if the team deals productive backup RB Michael Turner.

    -The Chargers will open at home on Sept. 9 against the NFC champion Chicago Bears. The game will be the second game of a nationally televised FOX doubleheader. The Super Bowl XLI other participant, the winning Indianapolis Colts, also visit San Diego this season. The dates for the other 15 regular-season games will be released in early April.

    -The team doesn't have any interviews or visits lined up with free agents.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think about how good we can be. I think about the young guys who can get a lot better and play better than they did a year ago." - Coach Norv Turner on the Chargers' potential.


    MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.




    -LB Randall Godfrey could return, if he doesn't retire.

    -OT Leander Jordan's time has likely come and gone.

    -S Terrence Kiel became a free agent when team declined to buy back voidable '07 and '08 contract years.


    -RB Michael Turner (tendered at $2.35M with 1st- and 3rd-round picks as compensation) will be back as an insurance policy for LaDainian Tomlinson. However, if the right deal appeared, he could be moved in a trade.



    -DT Ryon Bingham: ERFA; teams unknown.

    -WR Greg Camarillo: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    -OG Kris Dielman: UFA; $39M/6 yrs, $18M guaranteed.

    -WR Malcom Floyd: ERFA; terms unknown.

    -LB Marques Harris: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    -OT Cory Lekkerkerker: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    -LB Shaun Phillips: Potential RFA; 6 yrs, terms unknown.

    -LB Carlos Polk: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

    -DE Derreck Robinson: ERFA; terms unknown.

    -C Cory Withrow: UFA: 3 yrs, terms unknown.



    -LB Donnie Edwards: UFA Chiefs; $13.5M/3 yrs, $7.5M SB.

    -LB Steve Foley (released).

    -WR Az-Zahir Hakim: UFA Dolphins; terms unknown.

    -TE Ryan Krause: Not tendered as RFA/Browns; terms unknown.

    -WR Keenan McCardell (released).

    -TE Aaron Shea (released).

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