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Inside Slant - 06/04/08

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jun 5, 2008.

  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 class="alignright" style="float: right;" src="http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/02fCgRW2KZapi/610x.jpg" alt="Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson celebrate a TD" width="203" height="173" /> In years past the Chargers have gone into the summer with question marks surrounding their wide receiving corps.

    No more.

    What was once a weak link in an explosive offense deserves spotlight all its own. It's transformed from being a potential liability to a real team strength.

    The Chargers will trot out Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson as their top two wideouts, and when was the last time that position had so much talent?

    The veteran Chambers was a great pickup last year at the trading deadline, escaping the woeful Dolphins to give the Chargers' passing game a spark. He finished with 66 catches for 970 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

    The young Jackson, in his second year, was among the benefactors of Chambers' arrival. Defense no longer could focus on him on the deep routes, with the reliable Chambers lining up on the other side.

    Jackson had 41 catches for 623 yards and three scores.

    The Chargers not only have two solid starters, but depth as well.

    The coaches were relatively encouraged with the development of Craig Davis, a first-round pick last year. They expect him to become more consistent and enjoy that normal bounce good players have going from Year 1 to Year 2.

    And don't overlook the versatile Legedu Naanee, who can line up in various spots in Norv Turner's offense. Many predict he will be a starting wide receiver at some point in his career.

    There's also the possible return of Eric Parker, who missed all of last season with a toe injury. Before Parker was hurt, he had the best hands among the Chargers' wideouts. The three seasons before his injury he had at least 47 catches and 650 receiving yards in each of those years.

    Someone left on the outside looking in with this deep group is Kassim Osgood. The two-time AFC Pro Bowl special teams player has squawked that he doesn't get a shot as a receiver - the position he played in college.

    Osgood is skipping some of the voluntary workouts and has asked to be traded. General manager A.J. Smith has declined that request.

    Instead of catching on elsewhere, Osgood will have to watch others catch passes in San Diego.

    And for Malcom Floyd, his time might have run out to be a contributor in the passing game.

    But for quarterback Philip Rivers, his options have never looked better.


    -OT L.J. Shelton, who is among the newest Chargers, has been seeing some work at right tackle with the second unit. "I've seen L.J. a lot in games coaching against him," coach Norv Turner said. "He's a really good player. He looks good. He's where I expected him to be in May. We need to get him in shape over the next three months, but that's what this off-season program is for."

    -RG Mike Goff is still steamed with what people said about LaDainian Tomlinson being unable to play in the AFC Championship Game after the first two series because of a knee injury. Some speculated Tomlinson was wrong for not trying to play through the pain of a sprained knee.

    "People will voice their opinions and if that is the opinion that they want to voice, that is fine," he said. "But those closest to L.T., and those knowing L.T., know that obviously wasn't the case. If he wasn't out there, there was a reason for it and so I think everybody else can just blow it out their (rear)."

    -Nothing new on the stadium front as the Chargers await a study on the possibility of the team building a stadium in Chula Vista, a San Diego suburb some 15 miles south of Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers can leave after the 2008 season by paying off the bonds from the Qualcomm Stadium renovation.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're not in pads and we're not emphasizing the physical parts of the game. We're trying to work on technique and the skills and a lot of situations. I think we get a lot done in these sessions." - Chargers coach Norv Turner on the off-season coaching sessions.





    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

    -RB Tyronne Gross (not tendered as ERFA).




    -OT L.J. Shelton: FA Dolphins; terms unknown.

    -LB Derek Smith: FA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.


    -OT Jeromey Clary: ERFA; terms unknown.

    -WR Malcom Floyd: ERFA; terms unknown.

    -CB Cletis Gordon: ERFA; terms unknown.

    -CB Steve Gregory: ERFA; terms unknown.

    -LB Marques Harris: RFA; tendered at $1.47M; terms unknown.

    -DT Brandon McKinney: ERFA; terms unknown.

    -G Scott Mruczkowski: Potential RFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

    -QB Billy Volek: UFA; $9M/3 yrs, $3M SB.


    -CB Drayton Florence: UFA Jaguars; $36M/6 yrs, $12M SB.

    -S Marlon McCree (released).

    -FB Lorenzo Neal (released).

    -OT Shane Olivea (released).

    -K Dave Rayner: Not tendered as RFA/Dolphins; terms unknown.

    -RB Michael Turner: UFA Falcons; $34.5M/6 yrs, $15M guaranteed.

    FIND MORE STORIES IN: San Diego | Chargers | LaDainian Tomlinson | Norv Turner | Philip Rivers | AFC Championship Game | Qualcomm Stadium | Chris Chambers | Chula Vista | Eric Parker | Vincent Jackson | Craig Davis | AFC Pro Bowl | Kassim Osgood | Legedu Naanee

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