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Inside Slant - 04/14/07

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Apr 14, 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>
    <p class="inside-copy"> So much for head coach Norv Turner easing into his new job. The NFL schedule was announced and the Chargers face two difficult rivals right off the bat.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The team opens against defending NFC champion Chicago at home on Sept. 9, and then travels to New England the following week. It was the Patriots who eliminated the Chargers from last year's postseason.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I look at the schedule and, obviously, it's going to be very challenging early," Turner said. "When you play a team that was in the Super Bowl and the team that beat us in the playoffs a year ago back-to-back in your first two games, no question it's challenging."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But the Chargers would seem up to the challenge. They expect to make a deep run in the playoffs, after winning two of the past three AFC West titles and compiling the league's best regular-season record at 14-2 last year.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Still, those first two games - followed by somewhat of a potential breather in Green Bay on Sept. 23 - present no small hurdle.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The first month of action is capped by a visit from the Chiefs, one of two teams to beat the Chargers last year in the regular season. Although, that Kansas City win came at Arrowhead Stadium.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> When eyeing the 2007 slate, it appears the high-scoring Chargers got a break in when they visit their cold-weather city foes. They go to Green Bay and New England in September and Denver the first week of October.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> They could be in for some nasty weather in December, when going to Kansas City on Dec. 2 and Tennessee the following week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The home schedule is not particularly weak, either. Not only do the Chargers face their AFC West foes and Chicago, but also coming to Qualcomm Stadium are the Texans (Oct. 28), NFL champion Colts (Nov. 11), Jacksonville (Nov. 18), Baltimore (Nov. 25) and the Lions (Dec. 16).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "From a fan's standpoint, with the rivalries we have in our division and you add to that Chicago, Indianapolis and Baltimore (at home), it makes for a great schedule for our fans," Turner said. "We're a good football team that is going to play a lot of good football teams here at our place."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers bye week is Oct. 21, which is sandwiched between home games with the Raiders and Texans.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner, despite drawing considerable interest from the Bills and Titans, remains a Charger. The restricted free agent is tendered at $2.35 million and a team would have to relinquish a first- and third-round pick to secure him. More likely, the Chargers will engineer a trade, with Turner signing a long-term pact with his new squad.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The exact dates of two of the team's preseason games have been settled. The Chargers will face the Cardinals in Arizona on Aug. 25 and host the 49ers on Aug. 31. Previously, it was announced the Chargers would play the Seahawks at home on Aug. 12 and travel to St. Louis on Aug. 18.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-QB Philip Rivers fired a strike when throwing out the first ball at a recent Padres game. He had no trepidation about doing it from the pitching rubber instead of in front of the mound. "I think I can make it," Rivers said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DT Jamal Williams could be ready for the team's minicamp next month after offseason surgeries on his knee and shoulder. The same can't be said for LB Shawne Merriman, who had shoulder surgery. "Jamal is further along and more ready," coach Norv Turner said. "With Shawne, in a couple weeks we'll have a better feel. It's certainly not something where we would force it if there's any doubt."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Nothing new to report on the Chargers' search for a new stadium. They are still considering San Diego County sites in Oceanside, Chula Vista and National City.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "This young man gave me more respect than anyone in my life. He made me feel like I had done something good." - Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown, on the day he met LaDainian Tomlinson. Brown was in San Diego for a luncheon at the Hall of Champions.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> TEAM NEEDS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> 1. Safety: The Chargers have been seeking a decent safety since general manager A.J. Smith took over. He burned a second-round pick that year on Terrence Kiel, but Kiel was only average on the field and a liability off it with numerous incidents with police. This need could be filled with the team's first selection.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> 2. Inside linebacker: This spot will have a new look, with Donnie Edwards being allowed to leave and sign with the Chiefs, and the team still weighing its options with 11-year pro Randall Godfrey. Godfrey had contemplated retirement, but has decided he wants to come back for at least one more year. The team has youngsters Matt Wilhelm and Stephen Cooper waiting in the wings, but that doesn't mean the team won't seek other ways to upgrade.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> 3. Wide receiver: The Chargers No. 1 wide out? Good question. It's probably Vincent Jackson by default, as he took over that role from Keenan McCardell the last half of the 2006 season. Jackson has the potential, but has to become more consistent to be the top option. Eric Parker is a solid No. 2 guy, but doesn't really fit the role as the top receiver. If the Chargers don't go safety with their first-round pick, they could land a pass-catcher.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">TRANSITION PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Randall Godfrey could return, if he doesn't retire.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OT Leander Jordan's time has likely come and gone.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-S Terrence Kiel became a free agent when team declined to buy back voidable '07 and '08 contract years.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-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.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS RE-SIGNED</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DT Ryon Bingham: ERFA; teams unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Greg Camarillo: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OG Kris Dielman: UFA; $39M/6 yrs, $18M guaranteed.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Malcom Floyd: ERFA; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Marques Harris: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OT Cory Lekkerkerker: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Shaun Phillips: Potential RFA; 6 yrs, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Carlos Polk: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Derreck Robinson: ERFA; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-C Cory Withrow: UFA: 3 yrs, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS ACQUIRED: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS LOST</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Donnie Edwards: UFA Chiefs; $13.5M/3 yrs, $7.5M SB.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Steve Foley (released).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Az-Zahir Hakim: UFA Dolphins; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Ryan Krause: Not tendered as RFA/Browns; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Keenan McCardell (released).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Aaron Shea (released).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>

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