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Inside Slant - 10/23/07

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 23, 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://bolttalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/san_diego_chargers_helmet_rightface.png" alt="Chargers new helmet" align="left" height="170" width="221" /> The 3-3 Chargers were ready to get back to work Monday morning. Then most of them looked to the sky and knew that wouldn't be the case.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The San Diego region was struck again by wild fires and the Chargers are having to scramble. They were set to begin work today at Chargers Park for Sunday's game with the visiting Houston Texans.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But those plans have been adjusted.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The team cancelled its workout on Monday and will leave Tuesday for Arizona. The Chargers will practice Wednesday through Friday at the Cardinals' facility.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Sunday's game at Qualcomm Stadium remains in limbo. As the fires forced the evacuation of some 250,000 residents, Qualcomm was being used as an emergency shelter.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "It is too soon to determine what will happen regarding Sunday's scheduled game," the team said in a statement.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> It's believed some 40 members of the Chargers' organization were evacuated. Included among the players was LaDainian Tomlinson. He was chased from his 10,000-square-foot home in nearby Poway.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Four years ago, a similar firestorm forced the Chargers to switch a Monday night game from Qualcomm to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The Chargers were defeated by the Dolphins that night.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Quarterback Philip Rivers, through a team official, is hopeful things get back on track quickly.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "What's most important is making sure our families are taken care of and that everyone has what they need out of their houses," Rivers said. "Once everybody is safe, we can start putting the focus on the week and the game."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-For Pro Bowl C Nick Hardwick, the bye came at the right time. Still, he's expected to miss two-to-three games with a sprained foot. He's glad it's not longer. "But I want to be out there," he said. "I'll work hard to get back. That's all I can really do."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-S Clinton Hart said one could sense the impact new WR Chris Chambers had on other receivers. "You definitely notice the difference," he said. "Everybody is coming out hurt; they are practicing. Before a guy with a little nick may not practice. Now he can't afford to sit out; he is going in there to play. You sit out and take your time and try to heal and all that stuff? If so, you will get left behind. He will definitely push these guys to get better."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-While Chambers is being touted as a savior, he just wants to fit in and help the younger receivers as well. When getting his NFL start, he played behind James McKnight and Oronde Gadsden. "They took me under their wings," Chambers said. "I watched them prepare, take care of their bodies and learned from them. And it meant a lot to me and I want to be that same kind of guy."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-C Cory Withrow will start for Nick Hardwick on Sunday - wherever the game is played. Withrow is in his eighth year and has 13 career starts. This will be his first Chargers start.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Craig Davis was able to give his sprained ankle some needed rest. Davis becomes the team's No. 3 wideout with the addition of Chris Chambers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RG Mike Goff had ligament surgery on his left thumb during the bye week. But Goff will play on Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DT Jamal Williams will be eased into practice this week, if he works much at all. Williams had both knees scoped during the bye week. It's critical he is in good shape for the last 10 games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Matt Wilhelm has played well of late. He missed two starts with a strained calf but has aided the run defense in his return. Wilhelm replaced veteran Donnie Edwards when he left during the offseason. Wilhelm, along with S Marlon McCree, had to evacuate their houses on Monday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> REPORT CARD AFTER 6 GAMES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus - Philip Rivers has been stung by turnovers, especially earlier in the year when the running game had yet to get untracked. Rivers had nine interceptions all of last year and already has seven this year. Antonio Gates has been sensational as he, along with LaDainian Tomlinson, have been Rivers' main targets. The wide receivers have been ordinary, but that unit should get a boost with the addition of Chris Chambers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> RUSHING OFFENSE: B -Tomlinson is back among the rushing leaders and his four-touchdown game before the bye gave the running attack - and the team - a huge boost. Early on, the run blocking was below average and the play-calling was curious in that it didn't rely on Tomlinson as much as it needed to. Tomlinson looks like he is back on his game and the run blocking has had more of an edge as well. Key here is how C Cory Withrow fills in for the injured Nick Hardwick (foot) the next month or so.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> PASS DEFENSE: C - This unit has been torched by the likes of Tom Brady and Brett Favre - no big shake there. But when the Chiefs' Damon Huard was able to expose it, that opened some eyes. But during the two-game winning streak, the Chargers secondary has played well. In particular, CBs Quentin Jammer and Drayton Florence have stepped up their game. Tackling, though, could still be an issue as the season progresses. That has been taken care of the last two games, but is that a trend or just an exception? The key is getting the pass rush - which led the NFL with 61 sacks last year - to return to its 2006 form. The Chargers are ranked 25th defending the pass, giving up 239 yards per game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> RUSH DEFENSE: B - The Chargers are starting to get their edge back in defending against the run, squashing the then-league-leading Raiders last week and stomping the Broncos the week before. The rush defense is ranked No. 6, giving up but 84 yards a game. Pro Bowl DT Jamal Williams has played well in the middle, despite two sore knees. DEs Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky have also played well. The two new inside linebackers, Stephen Copper and Matt Wilhelm, are improving with each game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> SPECIAL TEAMS: B - Darren Sproles is starting to supply a spark on returns and it seems only a matter of time before he breaks one for a score. Pro Bowl K Nate Kaeding has been solid, while the punting has been inconsistent from Mike Scifres. Coverage units haven't been a liability.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> COACHING: C-plus - Norv Turner had a tough situation, taking over a team that went an NFL-best 14-2 last year during the regular season. He stumbled out of the gate as the team went 1-3 and questions grew about his ability to be a head coach. But it appears Turner - who stayed calm during the shaky start - has grown in his relationship with the players. The jury still seems to be out on defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who didn't seem to be getting the best out of his unit, especially in pass rushing. But he's rallied as well. Still, the coaching and how the team responds to it remains something worth watching.</p>

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