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Inside Slant - 10/07/08

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 7, 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://media.signonsandiego.com/img/photos/2008/10/05/SMHchargersengame3_t600.jpg?42b0fb247f69dabe2ae440581a34634cbc5420f3"><img class="alignright" title="Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Union-Tribune LaDainian Tomlinson walks off the field after the Chargers fall to Miami, 17-10. " src="http://media.signonsandiego.com/img/photos/2008/10/05/SMHchargersengame3_t600.jpg?42b0fb247f69dabe2ae440581a34634cbc5420f3" alt="" width="298" height="204" /></a>It's got to stop - the slow starts, the inconsistent play, the losing to teams the Chargers should beat.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">So says Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson in the aftermath of Sunday's disappointing defeat to the Dolphins.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I didn't get much sleep (Sunday) night," Tomlinson said. "That is typical about this point of the season, especially after a loss like that."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers, a trendy pick to be a Super Bowl participant, are trying to get to .500. Instead of building on an AFC West road win the previous week in Oakland, the Chargers were flat and out of synch in a road loss at Miami.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">That caused Tomlinson to toss and turn upon his return</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Just obviously frustration and searching for answers," he said. "It can be mentally draining, but that is all about this job - you accept that and try to look for answers to turn it around."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">And did Tomlinson decide what ails the Chargers?</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"No, not yet," he said. "But the good thing is there is another week. And we have a heck a challenge this week; we can't afford to go 2-4."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">That would be the Chargers' standing if they stub their toe against the Patriots. The Chargers are already two games behind the first-place Broncos and can't trail by much more with a demanding slate of games awaiting: New England, at Buffalo, against the Saints in London.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers, though, are in the same place they were last year when they flipped the season and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. But as they say in all those investment advertisements, previous results are not necessarily an indicator of future earnings.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I'm confident because we have been in this situation before," Tomlinson said. "I guess that is the only confidence you can have.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"But as far as knowing it is going to turn around? You don't really know for sure. Each game is different, each year is different."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson - who has rushed for 100 yards once this season - knows his sore big toe is going to remain just that. "Yeah, it bothered me," he said. "I got hit at times, getting it stomped into the ground. It's something I expected. There's nothing I can really do about it." Tomlinson finished with 35 yards on 12 carries.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The game turned when the Chargers were stuffed a yard shy of a tying touchdown, getting stopped on fourth down. "You have to have confidence to run that play," LT Marcus McNeill said. "Our coach had confidence to run that play, and we let him down. That's on us."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shaun Phillips promises better days are ahead for a team that is two games off the pace in the AFC West. And that day will come Sunday night when facing the Patriots. "I can guarantee we are going to play a better football game that we did (Sunday)," he said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Stephen Cooper returned after serving his four-game suspension. "Physically, I was fine," he said after collecting eight tackles. "Mentally, I was kind of slow out there a little bit with my reads and stuff."</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 will be out several more weeks with a hamstring injury. Marques Harris replaces him.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson's toe injury is no worse than it was last week. Tomlinson said the injury would need three weeks to heal to get right, and he's not about to miss that many games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LG Kris Dielman (thigh) could miss practice time this week, but he will play Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RG Mike Goff's sprained knee held up, but he could miss practice time this week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-FB Jacob Hester, the team's third-round pick, is having a tough time getting on the field in the base offense. However, he has been productive on special teams, and he proved it Sunday with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Chris Chambers could be down this week with an ankle injury that forced him to leave the field on a cart.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-SS Clinton Hart injured his shoulder but will be OK.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. DOLPHINS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: D - Philip Rivers got rocked pretty hard - just like the previous week. But this week he wasn't able to bounce back and play well when the stakes were the highest. Rivers did suffer bruised ribs, which might account for his passes that were uncharacteristically off-kilter; he was 13-for-28 for 159 yards and a score. The protection got him sacked twice and forced numerous hurries. Chris Chambers got another touchdown catch, but he had to exit with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. TE Antonio Gates managed only one catch for 12 yards.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: F - LaDainian Tomlinson has a sore toe that limits his abilities. But not enough, in coach Norv Turner's eyes, to prevent Tomlinson from getting the ball on a fourth-and-1 at the Miami 1. The running play, like the majority of the other ones, was stuffed. The offensive line needs to right itself quickly - to be fair, there have been injuries here. But that's in the past, with the starting five from last year out there now. The run-blocking has to get better quickly, as Tomlinson's toe isn't going to get better any time soon.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: D - So far opposing offenses haven't done what many thought: shy away from Pro Bowl CB Antonio Cromartie. In many cases they are attacking him, knowing he will gamble on getting an interception instead of supplying solid coverage. Quentin Jammer, the other corner, was beaten for a touchdown and has had better days. Not much good here - especially with the slow-footed Chad Pennington getting sacked just once.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: D - The run defense, in many ways, lost this game. Not only were the Dolphins able to collect 167 yards hugging the ground, but when the Chargers absolutely had to have the ball back late in the game, the Dolphins were able to hog it. Unless the Chargers can prove they can stop the run on a more consistent basis, this is going to be one long swim upstream.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: C - P Mike Scifres was sensational as he continues performing at a Pro Bowl level - averaged 56 yards on six attempts. Otherwise it was a pretty typical day for the special teams - nothing too outstanding in any other phase.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: F - The Chargers have made a habit out of starting games with little fire or production. Is that coaching? Possibly. For whatever reason, the Chargers are falling behind - down 17-3 at Miami - forcing them to spend most of the second half trying to catch up. And it was surprising the Dolphins had so much success with their "Wildcat" offense after it was unveiled in the win over the Patriots. The Chargers were gashed by it time and again. Something is amiss with the team that many think has more talent the other teams it faces. If that's the case, the coaching staff has to accept its fair share of the blame.</p>

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