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Inside Slant - 09/16/08

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Sep 16, 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>
    <div class="inside-copy"><a href="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/si/2008/writers/richard_deitsch/05/07/tomlinson_qa/p1_tomlinson.jpg"><img class="alignright" title="LaDainian Tomlinson" src="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/si/2008/writers/richard_deitsch/05/07/tomlinson_qa/p1_tomlinson.jpg" alt="" width="157" height="231" /></a>LaDainian Tomlinson is as surprised as everyone else about the Chargers' winless start, and how a team that was going to breeze through the AFC West and finally make another Super Bowl is in the division cellar.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">How the Chargers, after two weeks, are looking up at the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But that's where the Chargers sit after being on the wrong end of a 39-38 verdict in Denver on Sunday that included two head-scratching calls which might have changed the game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But there is no change coming and that has some Chargers followers very concerned - for no reason.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">That's Tomlinson take in wake of the second heartbreaking loss in as many weeks.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"This is the deal," Tomlinson said, matter-of-factly. "We're 0-2. Obviously when you are 0-2 people start to panic, it's human nature. Even we start to panic - but guys it's a long season, we have four months."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Tomlinson is right, but so are those concerned about the Chargers. Yes, referee Ed Hochuli had some strange calls Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But it's no mystery the defense is taking one round house after another. The run defense is marginal - at best - the pass rush is non-existent and the play in the secondary is cover-your-eyes bad.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Still, Tomlinson preaches patience. And with the Jets, Raiders and Dolphins up next, he may be on to something. And the Chargers did spit out a 1-3 start last year to advance to the AFC Championship Game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Then again, if the Chargers don't get a few things fixed quickly, those next three games will be challenging as well.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Were in the first quarter of the season," he said. "I promise you it's like I told you last year - you can take this to the bank.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"This team is a like a quarter horse and at the end it will come running. I guarantee it."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- Running back LaDainian Tomlinson said he isn't sensing that his toe will ail him over the next three-to-four weeks. He was restricted to 10 carries on Sunday. "No, no, no, I'm not sensing that at all," he said. "I'll be very surprised if I have to deal with this to injury for another three weeks."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- Quarterback Philip Rivers said this season's start look all too familiar.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We're going to find out about us," he said. "Last year we were tested at 1-3 and 5-5, and we found out and fought through it. We're back in it again, with what I think is a tougher stretch coming up."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Actually the next three are against the Jets, Raiders and Dolphins. But after that it's the Patriots, Bills, Saints.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers have allowed a combined 40 points and 600 yards in the first halves of the opening two games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- Cornerback Antonio Cromartie let his emotions get the best of him when he was flagged for four penalties. "It wasn't frustration," he said. "It was more showing too much emotion. I gave up a lot of key stuff in the first half and had a lot of penalties I don't normally have."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Coach Norv Turner has voiced his displeasure with Sunday's officiating and has sent plays into the league office to be reviewed. But there's little he, or the Chargers can do except turn the page. "Maybe they will give us one down the road somewhere," linebacker Shaun Phillips said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- SS Clinton Hart underwent hand surgery Monday to repair a fracture. But he said he doesn't anticipate missing Monday's game against the Jets.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- CB Antonio Cromartie, whose play Sunday was substandard, remains sore with a hip injury.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- TE Antonio Gates (toe) reported being sore. Gates had four catches Sunday but he remains compromised with his injury.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- SS Eric Weddle, in his second year and first as a starter, has been unable to deflect a game-winning pass in consecutive weeks. But his job is safe.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- C Nick Hardwick (foot) will increase his practice load this week. He could return for the Raiders game on Sept. 28.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- LT Marcus McNeill (neck) could return to practice this week; the team will know more Wednesday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- OLB Shaun Phillips is nursing a sore groin. He's yet to record a sack this year.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. BRONCOS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus - Philip Rivers was sensational, throwing for a career-high 377 yards and three touchdowns. Rivers has now turned in two straight solid showings - whatever ails the Chargers isn't from the play here. Chris Chambers had a team-high 83 yards and two touchdowns on four catches. Vincent Jackson was also active with a team-best six catches. Darren Sproles opened some eyes with his 66-yard scoring reception. Pass-blocking was solid</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: C - LaDainian Tomlinson was restricted to 10 carries for 26 yards - his toe isn't right no matter what the team wants you to believe. Sproles chipped in 53 yards on seven carries; Michael Tolbert got 1 on his lone shot. Run-blocking fair but the running game is a shadow of itself with Tomlinson hobbling.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: F - And it can't all be directed at the secondary. The pass rush - for the second straight week - was nowhere to be found. Denver QB Jay Cutler carved up the backend because he was seldom concerned about being rushed. CB Antonio Cromartie had one meltdown after another - that was among the reasons Brandon Marshall had 18 receptions. The defensive backs didn't look too good, but it's tough to cover receivers when the pass rush is nothing but a rumor.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: D - It looked like the Denver of old running game with nearly 145 yards being collected on the ground - that's 287 in two games. No one on the defensive line had more than two tackles and the play of the inside backers - Matt Wilhelm and Derek Smith - still seems a tick or two off. This all goes back to Jamal Williams' knees and just how much he has left. So far, he's not dominating like in years' past which allowed the blockers to stay off the linebackers so they could make the plays. Instead, the defensive line is getting little penetration and the linebackers are paying the price.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: A - Darren Sproles raced 103 yards on a scoring kickoff return and seem ready to hit a home run whenever he touched the ball. He gobbled the second half of the field by himself; he had some great initial blocking which allowed him the early space. Sproles collected a 38-yard average on four kickoffs. Craig Davis was inserted as a punt returner and had a long of 10 yards. Nate Kaeding was perfect on three field-goal attempts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: F - This speaks more of the defensive side where the Chargers are getting put on their heels right out of the game. The first half was again a bugaboo - 31 points, 329 yards - so the team is either flat or ill-prepared when the game starts - not sure which is worse. The offense deserves credit - and Norv Turner's second-half play calling - for mounting the second half rally. But Ted Cottrell needs to figure out some way to get to the quarterback or a secondary which was getting a good reputation around the league is in for a huge deflation.</p>

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