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Inside Slant - 10/2/07

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 1, 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://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20071001/capt.0ee2093daf9f4a2fadfbbc59afdec39c.chiefs_chargers_football_cadp108.jpg" alt="San Diego Chargers' Philip Rivers (17) reacts as he walks off the field with LaDainian Tomlinson (21) after throwing an interception in the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007 in San Diego. The Chiefs won 30-16." align="left" height="191" width="162" /> The free-falling Chargers find relief looking at the calendar. With the season at only its first turn, maybe it's not too late.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "They don't give a prize for who won the first quarter," quarterback Philip Rivers said of the 1-3 Chargers. "They give a prize at the end."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers awoke Monday in sole possession of the AFC West cellar. While the other teams are bunched at 2-2, it's still tough for the players swallowing that the Broncos, Chiefs and, yikes, Raiders stand taller.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "It's not the end of the year," Rivers reminded.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Good thing. Because this year's Chargers have shown few flashes of last year's 14-2 team. The Chargers have lost three in a row and have allowed 30-plus points in each of those three games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The spotlight shines harder on coach Norv Turner. In replacing popular coach Marty Schottenheimer, Turner is the biggest change to a team searching for its identity.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I understand the responsibilities of the job I have," Turner said. "I'm ultimately the one who's responsible, so it is my job to get the job done we are talking about."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The chatter leading up to the season was the Chargers headed to the Super Bowl. At 1-3, that premise looks ridiculous.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "The inconsistencies, the problems we're having with turnovers, giving up plays, I've got to get those things eliminated," Turner said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> He'll have to do so in Denver, a place the Chargers hate to visit. They won there last year, which is a bad sign: They haven't won in consecutive years in Denver since 1967-68.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers' mile-high list of problems - shoddy run defense, no commitment to the run, passive pass rush, coverage and tackling issues in an inconsistent secondary - needs to be fixed. If not, the second quarter will resemble the first.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I'm not losing confidence; it's way too early to lose confidence," LaDainian Tomlinson said. "But I am at the point I don't want to do a lot of talking anymore, I really don't. I just want to play football."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Winning football would be a welcome sight.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Eric Parker's return has been pushed back. The team reversed course and said he will miss another three to four weeks. It was thought that Parker would miss just the first month after having toe surgery before the season. That is no longer the case, and it is a blow to a shaky wide receiving corps.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson said the Chargers, in turning the page on the season's first month, need to make up lost ground. "We just finished the first quarter (of the season), and we're going into the second quarter," Tomlinson said. "We obviously need to reverse things in the second quarter. We need to be 3-1, and we'll see where we are after that. Right now we need one win real bad. The next game we're playing is in Denver. We'll see where we're at."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Shaun Phillips and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell had a heated exchange during Sunday's game, with Phillips waving off the coach and walking in the opposite direction. "I was yelling out of frustration," Phillips said. "Teddy was trying to calm me down."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Chiefs rookie WR Dwayne Bowe is doing his part to try to turn around the Chargers. He gave them this tip after beating them for a touchdown one week after Green Bay's Greg Jennings did the same thing. "It was the same play," Bowe said. "We watched it on film and how the guy had inside leverage. That's something they have to work on." Thanks, rook.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Through four games last year, the Chargers allowed 36 points. Through four games this year, the Chargers allowed 103 points.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Among the reasons for the Chargers' woes is turnovers. They had 15 when going 14-2 in '06; they already have 10 this year.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-QB Philip Rivers said he was ticked when fans started a "Marty, Marty" chant in the late stages of the team's third consecutive loss. "It's somewhat disappointing," he said. "We understand to an extent their frustration. We're frustrated way more than anyone outside of the locker room. I can guarantee you that."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shawne Merriman made a vow he would no longer do his Lights Out dance after sacks. That promised didn't even last four games, as he broke into his jig after sacking Damon Huard.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Tomlinson has now rushed for 100 yards in a game 40 times. Five of those have come at K.C.'s expense. With 104 rushing touchdowns, he is two behind John Riggins for fifth place on the all-time list.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Tomlinson admitted it pained him to see good friend and former teammate Donnie Edwards playing for the Chiefs. "I told him he don't look good in those Kansas City colors," Tomlinson said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Craig Davis has a strained ankle tendon and is questionable for Wednesday's practice.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Marques Harris suffered a slight concussion in the game and will be evaluated Wednesday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-FB Andrew Pinnock had arthroscopic knee surgery and is out three to four weeks.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Matt Wilhelm is still bothered by a strained calf and might have limited participation Wednesday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DT Jamal Williams has a sore knee and will take some practice time off.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LT Marcus McNeill sprained his left knee's MCL during the game; he'll be limited during the week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> REPORT CARD VS. CHIEFS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> PASSING OFFENSE: F - Philip Rivers turned the ball over three times - two interceptions and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. The pass protection was OK, but more often Rivers was holding the ball too long. He also seems to have trouble getting on the same page with Tomlinson. He threw one of his picks before Tomlinson could turn around on a route, and he had Tomlinson open for a touchdown in the flat late in the game but didn't deliver the ball. Vincent Jackson dropped a sure touchdown pass. Rivers already has six interceptions after throwing just nine all of last year. His microscopic 44.8 passer rating is no misprint.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> RUSHING OFFENSE: D - After three games of wondering why the Chargers could no longer run the ball, LaDainian Tomlinson rolls for 116 yards and a score against the Chiefs. But tired of seeing Tomlinson average 8.3 yards per carry, the Chargers rushed him but six times in the second half. That disaster falls on the coaches, as the left side of the line was plowing opponents just like last year, and Tomlinson was making people miss.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> PASS DEFENSE: F - The Chargers are faced with a tough combination: They can't cover well, and their tackling is even worse. Damon Huard - Damon Huard! - goes for 284 yards and two scores. A little slant play results in a touchdown for the second consecutive week - this time, a 51-yarder to Dwayne Bowe. Tacking continues to be an issue here, and where is the pass rush? This unit looks nothing like the one that led the NFL with 61 sacks last year. At this pace, San Diego will have 36.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> RUSH DEFENSE: D - Larry Johnson struggled this year - until he met the Chargers' run defense. What was once a Chargers staple has fallen on hard times. Johnson rushed for 123 yards on 25 carries, an average just shy of five yards per carry. There are still issues at the inside linebacker position as the team waits for Matt Wilhelm to return. Tackling is an issue here as well.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> SPECIAL TEAMS: B - The coverages units were on the mark again, and the return game is starting to show some life with Darren Sproles. He had a nifty 20-yard return on a punt and a 42-yarder on a kickoff. Nick Kaeding had a 51-yarder among his three field goals. P Mike Scifres, though, isn't up to his 2006 standards.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> COACHING: F - Six carries by Tomlinson after he had rushed for 116 yards in the first half? This from an offensive guru? Thirty points allowed for the third straight week? This from Ted Cottrell, a defensive whiz GM A.J. Smith was ecstatic to bring in? The Chargers are not only getting worked over strategically, but the team is missing two things that every winning squad has to have: pride and passion. Not sure where they are going to find it, but good luck looking to Norv Turner and/or Cottrell for inspiration.</p>

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