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Inside Slant - 09/30/08

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 30, 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>

    <a href="http://i1.chargers.com/assets/240/42151_600w600h.jpg"><img class="alignnone" title="Head coach Norv Turner yells against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game on September 28, 2008 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California.(Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images North America)" src="http://i1.chargers.com/assets/240/42151_600w600h.jpg" alt="" width="252" height="191" /></a>
    <div class="inside-copy">It's easy to see what Sunday's win over Oakland meant to Chargers coach Norv Turner. The team rallied from a 15-0 deficit to win its 10th straight game over the Raiders, and now turns its thoughts playing the Miami Dolphins.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">But first Turner wanted to reflect on sticking it to the team which once fired him.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"This to me is one of the best wins we've had as a football team since I've been here over the last year and a half," Turner said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"It was a complete game for us, particularly through the second half."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers are building, shaking off that 0-2 start to even their record heading into the season's second quarter. With the Broncos losing, the Chargers trail the division leaders by just one game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I think we are getting better and we're getting better as a football team in all three phases," Turner said. "That is certainly what we need to do and that is what every team needs to do at this time of year."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Turner saw his offense find another gear late, thanks to the running of LaDainian Tomlinson. While upbeat on continuing his, and the team's domination, of Oakland, Tomlinson said the Chargers' ceiling remains high.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We need to really play a complete game together," Tomlinson said. "I think really and truly we have yet to do that offensively, defensively, special teams: all three phases we need to put a complete game together for four quarters."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">At least the season's first quarter ended with the Chargers facing disaster after a slow start. And a road win on Sunday would put them above .500, with the Patriots coming up next.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The third stringer did just fine, thank you. It was Marques Harris who had the big defensive play when he stripped JaMarcus Russell of the ball in the fourth quarter. Harris started the season No. 3 on the depth chart, behind Shawne Merriman and Jyles Tucker. "For me, it was important to get in there and do my job. Whenever that opportunity comes up, I'm going to take advantage of it."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers' defense finally made a late stand with the game hanging in the balance. In the first two games this season, the Chargers lost both on last-minute opposing drives. "We just said, 'You know what, we have been there before. Our offense has put us in the position to win the game and now it is on,'" defensive end Luis Castillo said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Center Nick Hardwick returned to the lineup for the first time since offseason foot surgery. "It's nice just to be out there for sure and know I can last the whole game," he said. "My foot didn't fail on me."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Strong safety Clinton Hart said a win like Sunday's can pay off down the road. "There are going to be games like that where you have to scratch and claw until you can get it all together and get on the same page. We scratched and clawed until we could end up putting it away."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Outside linebacker Shaun Phillips tweaked his ankle during the Raiders game Sunday but didn't mention the injury on Monday. He should be fine for Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Jyles Tucker had an MRI on his hamstring he hurt on Sunday. The results will be available later in the week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Craig Davis, the team's top pick last year, went without a catch for the third time in four weeks.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Luis Castillo had a key sack on the Raiders' last-gasp fourth-down attempts. This came one week after many thought Castillo had suffered a serious knee injury.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RG Mike Goff had an MRI on his sprained knee and he could be slow to return to practice this week. Unless the MRI shows considerable damage, look for Goff to play Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-With undrafted rookie Mike Tolbert continuing to play well, rookie Jacob Hester isn't seeing the field much. He didn't have a carry on Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RT Jeromey Clary missed one series with a knee injury on Sunday but returned to play the balance of the game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. RAIDERS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: C - Philip Rivers finally came down to earth with a game in which he got by on guts as much as his throws. He stayed the course despite two interceptions with a solid second half. His rating was meager 58.8 but he got the win and that is what he's all about. The pass-blocking, though, was challenged as Rivers got rocked as many times as he ever has as a starter. He was sacked four times and smacked on numerous more occasions. Rivers got six receivers involved with Antonio Gates have the only scoring catch. No masterpiece here - 14-of-25 for 180 yards - but a win is a win.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: B - LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 100 yards for the first time in eight games, but it was a violent 106 yards. The run-blocking never did get untracked until late, with the Raiders pushing the linemen back on numerous plays. This might have something to do with C Nick Hardwick making his first start of the season and LT Marcus McNeill his second start. So possibly the communication isn't quite there or possibly the front line has had better days.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: B - The pass rush was pretty good, with JaMarcus Russell being brought down with six sacks; he looked hurried most of the day, especially on the longer routes. Luis Castillo had 1.5 sacks and kudos to Marques Harris for a sack and a forced fumble - Harris was subbing for an injured Jyles Tucker. CB Quentin Jammer had a solid day with sure-handed tackling on key plays. CB Antonio Cromartie was so-so, with but one tackle and a key penalty.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: A - Sigh of relief here with DT Jamal Williams having his best game of the season, clogging the running lanes to let the linebackers swoop in. Quentin Jammer and Eric Weddle - team-high seven tackles - supplied plenty of run support as the Raiders managed but 72 rushing yards.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: B - Nate Kaeding missed two field-goal attempts but he got right for the biggest chance when he converted from 47 yards with under two minutes to play. Coverage units had some trouble early, but rebounded. Mike Scifres had a 65-yard punt. And Darren Sproles continues to make coaches hold their breath as he brought back a kick 67 yards.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: A - The Chargers didn't panic when trailing 15-0 at half and made the adjustments to keep the Raiders off-balance as they tried to nurse the lead. Norv Turner and Ted Cottrell both deserve credit - Turner didn't get away from the running game despite being behind and Cottrell's players said they made changes to slow down the Raiders and get after Russell.</p>

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