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Inside Slant - 08/13/07

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Aug 13, 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"><img src="http://media.scout.com/media/image/39/397729.jpg" title="Kris Dielman" alt="Kris Dielman" align="left" height="225" width="180" /> Kris Dielman was confident his preseason debut would come in San Diego. He just wasn't sure which team he would be suiting up for when the Chargers entertained the Seattle Seahawks to kick off the summer schedule.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> During the offseason, it appeared that the Seahawks would feature Dielman, the Chargers' standout left guard. The Chargers and Seahawks had a heated battle in the offseason for Dielman's services. The converted defensive end, who had become a staple on the Chargers' offensive line, was a free agent. The Seahawks zeroed in on Dielman and looked like they had him. He was dining in a restaurant after his visit to Seattle when a text message came across from his agent. It said the Seahawks were willing to make Dielman one very wealthy man.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But Dielman wanted to give the Chargers one more shot. And while they didn't match the Seahawks, they were close enough to retain him.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Despite Seattle's offer being some $10 million richer than the Chargers', Dielman went with the San Diego discount, agreeing to a six-year, $39 million pact.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "This is home; this is where I want to be," Dielman said. "I don't really care what anybody anywhere else has to say. I knew I made the right choice when it happened."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> What's happening now is something strange to All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson. For the first time since coming to the Chargers, the entire front line is returning.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> And make no mistake, Dielman is a big part of it. While center Nick Hardwick and left tackle Marcus McNeill went to the Pro Bowl, Dielman played at a Pro Bowl level.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Dielman's play didn't go unnoticed by Tomlinson.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I think it would have been a huge blow," Tomlinson said, regarding Dielman possibly leaving. "We would have definitely missed him. Someone else would have had to step in and try to play up to a guy like Dielman's standards, which is pretty hard.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "Not only is he a talented player, but his mental attitude is hard to replace."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Dielman's mettle - he was once cut - was molded by his unlikely route to NFL riches.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "It definitely wasn't an easy road to take., I didn't get nothing handed to me. I'm very proud of the fact that I was able to fight through it and make something out of it."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Don't expect NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson to get a carry in the four preseason games; he didn't have any last summer and the season worked out just fine. "Exhibition games, I just eat a lot of sunflower seeds," he said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Coach Norv Turner is being cautious with OLB Shawne Merriman as he nurses a sore shoulder back to health. Turner didn't see any reason for Merriman to play in the preseason opener. Merriman disagrees. "There is a reason," Merriman said. "I've got to hit somebody."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Among the fresh faces on the Chargers' coaching staff is Ron Rivera. Last year's defensive coordinator for the Bears is getting his first coaching experience in a 3-4 alignment. But it's not strange to the former Bears linebacker.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I played in this system," he said. "This is one of the Buddy Ryan systems. In terms of learning it, understanding it and getting a grip on it, I don't think it's really as difficult as people think it could have been."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers are trying to claim $4 million from LB Steve Foley in funds paid to him as a signing bonus. Foley suffered a career-ending gunshot wound in September in an altercation with an off-duty policeman.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Team president Dean Spanos is happy with the way things have shaken out in the wake of firing coach Marty Schottenheimer after last season's playoff loss. "Obviously it was an extremely disappointing end to our season last year, losing that first playoff game, and then obviously the next 30 days was a huge change for us, OK?" he said. "We got by it. I like the change. Since then it's been business as usual."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Darren Sproles would get the first look as the team's kickoff and punt returner. He was to handle the chores in the first preseason game. Rookie Craig Davis will get his shot in the second preseason game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-With ILB Matt Wilhelm ailing, that not only moves Tim Dobbins up the depth chart, but undrafted free agent Nick Roach as well. Roach will play behind Dobbins.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers held a light practice at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "I'm not really focused on the record. And I don't think the team is too. Let's just get back and win that first game in the playoffs and see where we go from there." - Spanos on what he expects this season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>BATTLE OF THE WEEK:</strong> Malcom Floyd vs. Craig Davis for starting WR: This competition has taken a new sense of urgency with starter Eric Parker likely to miss the first month or so of the season with a toe injury. Floyd has always been a favorite target of Philip Rivers as the two used to spend hours throwing to each other when they were backups. Davis is the apple of the Chargers' eye after they burned their No. 1 pick on him in the April draft. While many are touting Davis, coach Norv Turner said Floyd has opened his eyes. "Everyone is interested in a couple of other guys, but I really am impressed with Malcom Floyd," Turner said. "Because I think he is taking steps to be a complete receiver. Davis, though, also had a good week. "We want to get Eric back as soon as we can, but Craig is going to be a factor in our football team."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>OTHER BATTLE FRONTS:</strong> Ryon Bingham vs. Brandon McKinney for backup defensive tackle: These are two players the Chargers hope don't see a lot of playing time. If that was the case, that means Pro Bowl DT Jamal Williams is out. Bingham is the leader in that he is listed behind Williams. But McKinney is having what defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely describes as a great camp.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Darren Sproles vs. Craig Davis for PR: On a team where there are very few position battles, this remains one of the most spirited. Sproles has looked fine in fielding kickoffs - Michael Turner is still expected to claim that role - but not so good on punts. That was the same thing that derailed him two years ago, when he was the team's main kickoff returner. But he became so unreliable on punts, that the job went to Eric Parker. The pressure is on Sproles; if he can't make the team as a return guy, there might not be a roster spot for him. The Chargers are fairly confident Davis can handle the role, as he returned punts at LSU.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Cletis Gordon vs. Paul Oliver for No. 4 cornerback: Gordon is in his second year and the team likes his athleticism. Oliver came to the team in the supplemental draft, which means he didn't participate in the offseason workouts. While neither player will probably be counted on heavily this year, the Chargers are looking to the future here. Starting cornerback Drayton Florence is in the last year of his contract and won't be invited back. That means Gordon and Oliver could be in for substantially more playing time in 2008, if they make a good impression this summer.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>ROOKIE REPORT:</strong> Davis is seeing increased work with Parker (toe) out of action for the next nine weeks. Davis will return punts and kickoffs in the team's second preseason game. ... Eric Weddle is staying right with Clinton Hart in their battle for the strong safety job. Weddle is also getting work in the dime packages. ... ILB Brandon Siler is facing an uphill battle to make the team. ... TE Scott Chandler could be headed to the practice squad. ... Looks like FB/WR Legedu Naanee is going to make the club. ... ILB Anthony Waters is getting more work with Matt Wilhelm (calf) sidelined.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>INJURY REPORT:</strong> Parker (toe) is out for nine weeks after surgery. ...</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Wilhelm (calf) is out anywhere from two-to-four weeks. ... DE Igor Olshansky (groin) has been missing practice time and it was doubtful he would play in Saturday's preseason opener. ... OLB Shawne Merriman (neck) is being slowed and could miss the preseason opener.</p>

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