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Inside Slant - 10/21/08

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 21, 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://images.townnews.com/nctimes.com/content/articles/2008/10/20/sports/chargers/z6a6d287d55918de5882574e90008dc75.jpg"><img class="alignright" title="Chargerss LaDainian Tomlinson answers a question during a press conference, in Bagshot, England, Monday, Oct. 20, 2008. The San Diego Chargers will face the New Orleans Saints in an NFL Football game at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday, 26 Oct. 2008. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)" src="http://images.townnews.com/nctimes.com/content/articles/2008/10/20/sports/chargers/z6a6d287d55918de5882574e90008dc75.jpg" alt="" width="242" height="161" /></a>A tired, disappointed Chargers contingent reached London on Monday morning, weighed down by a 23-14 loss to Buffalo and a 3-4 record.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers had hope to scoot across the Atlantic with a victory over the Bills, which would have pushed them past the .500 mark and made them eager to spread the word about the NFL to those in Great Britain.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Instead the Chargers aren't in the best of moods, as they see a season which they had such high hopes slipping away thanks to their inconsistent play.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">It's clear the Chargers can't run the ball, can't stop the run on a regular basis and have zilch of a pass rush.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Add it all up and it's clear that 3-4 record is no fluke.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">What isn't so set in stone is the effect of a trip to London. Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be so far from home?</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Depends on who is asked. After all, the Giants came to England last year and beat the Dolphins on a rainy day, then eventually won the Super Bowl.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I don't think you can put too much stock into that," said quarterback Philip Rivers, still feeling the sting from committing three turnovers in the loss at Buffalo. "We would love to have it happen again. Come here and win and hopefully win a bigger one later. (But) no, I don't think there is any (correlation)."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But LaDainian Tomlinson - who has been a shadow of himself this year, done in by a bad toe and bad run-blocking - doesn't agree.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"It is a good escape for us," said Tomlinson, who was restricted to 41 yards on 14 carries at Buffalo. "Obviously losing (Sunday), a lot of guys are really down about that loss. I think it really gives us time to take a deep breath, time to get away from the national media in the States and just have some time to ourselves and really just get close and bond a little bit."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Tomlinson said that was what the Giants did when they were here last year. And in Tomlinson's eyes, overlooking that would be a mistake.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I honestly think that's why the Giants were successful last year," Tomlinson said of their jaunt to jolly old England. "They were kind of going through the same struggles; they came here and it kind of changed their season. We're hoping for the same kind of luck. Hopefully London brings us that."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Rivers counters that it will be more about the work leading up to mastering the Saints than the locale.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"The matchup is fun," said Rivers, who faces old teammate Drew Brees. "It's a team you don't play very often. The preparation from that standpoint, you have to zero in on them. It'll be a fun week, and hopefully it ends on a high note on Sunday."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Vincent Jackson continues his breakout season, as he has picked up his game with Chris Chambers out. Jackson leads the team with 26 receptions and 478 yards. He's not throwing in the towel with the team at 3-4. "It's a long season," he said. "There are still a lot of games to be played yet. We're going to try and win our division and get into the playoffs."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers' running game is still MIA. Consider the Bolts had but 72 rushing yards Sunday, and 31 of those came on a reverse by Jackson. "It is what it is," LT Marcus McNeill said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Not only didn't the Chargers record a sack against Buffalo's Trent Edwards, they weren't even credited with a quarterback hurry. "From a defensive standpoint, our job is to get to the quarterback, and we weren't able to do that," OLB Marques Harris said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-QB Philip Rivers had a decent game, but his three turnovers cost the Chargers another loss. "Rightfully so, I should shoulder a lot of blame for this game. I was playing pretty good, and then you have the three turnovers," he said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The power went off and on repeatedly at Ralph Wilson Stadium, which gave the early part of the game a different feel - with no clocks or sound from the loudspeakers. "It was handled as well as it can be handled," coach Norv Turner said. "The officials did the best job that they could. Obviously, when you don't have headsets, the quarterback is coming over to get the signals, but it was the same for both teams."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-FS Eric Weddle has a sprained ankle but should be fine for Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Chris Chambers will test his ankle later in the week and is hopeful of playing. He has missed the past two games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Craig Davis could test his groin injury later this week. But even if he's healthy, it's no lock he would play.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LT Marcus McNeill sprained his ankle Sunday but is expected to be OK.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OL Scott Mruczkowski had a sprained ankle but is fine.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Jyles Tucker (hamstring) is looking as if he will play Sunday. He has missed the past three games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. BILLS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: D - Philip Rivers had a solid game - although committing three turnovers that cost the team a victory has a way of deflating a scorecard. That is the case here, as Rivers threw an interception deep in Buffalo territory and also lost two fumbles. Those miscues overshadow his 22-for-29 passing for 208 yards and a score. The pass protection was stout, although the one sack that was absorbed resulted in Rivers' second fumble, derailing any shot of a comeback. WRs Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd continue to shine without Chris Chambers being in the lineup.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: F - A hole was spotted here and there, and LaDainian Tomlinson showed a burst now and again. But realistically, the running game stinks. The Chargers were held to 72 yards, and they can thank Jackson's 31-yard reverse for inflating that number. Take your pick: Tomlinson is washed up and got old and hurt; the offensive line isn't clicking on all cylinders; the team misses Pro Bowl FB Lorenzo Neal - or all of the above. But this running game - especially considering how much Norv Turner loves to run - is just terrible.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: F - One doesn't have to be Vince Lombardi to know that any quarterback coming back from a concussion needs to be knocked around early in the game. But the Chargers never got to Trent Edwards, who for much of the game looked as if he were conducting a nine-on-seven drill. No inside pressure, no outside pressure. There were few blitzes, and when they were called, they were ineffective. The result was predictable, with Edwards going 25-for-30 for 261 yards and a score. The cornerbacks were exposed because they had to stay with the receivers so long - that, and their tackling wasn't very good after the receptions were made.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus - Another 100-yard game for an opponent, as the inside of the Chargers run defense continues to get picked on. Marshawn Lynch got many of his 70 yards late in the game, which illustrates the point perfectly. When the Chargers are trailing and absolutely have to get off the field, they can't stop the big running play when they most need to. Poor tackle and poor angles lead to another poor effort.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: B - Kassim Osgood was sensational in helping down a punt at the Buffalo 1 to give the Chargers good field position. P Mike Scifres only had two punts and was OK. The coverage units did well in slowing Roscoe Parrish to a five-yard punt return on his lone attempt. Nothing all that keen about the Chargers' return game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: F - The offense can't stay on the field long enough to get very deep in the playbook. Does Turner need to stop calling running plays? Need to tell Tomlinson to sit down and get healthy? Need to read a motivational book to fire up his charges? And is defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell content to play the read-and-react, bend-but-don't-break approach? Just know that the Bills rolled up 370 yards, 22 first downs and hogged the ball for 5 1/2 more minutes than the Chargers had it. Somehow, someway, the Chargers have to devise a plan to get after quarterbacks - if not, nothing will help.</p>

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