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Inside Slant - 2/26/07

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Feb 26, 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://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/chargers/images/070219norv_turner.jpg" title="Norv Turner - SDUT Photo" alt="Norv Turner - SDUT Photo" align="right" height="258" width="159" /> Norv Turner's ears are as keen as his ability to draw up offensive plays.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> He hears the talk. He hears the chatter about being handed the Chargers job despite being a two-time loser (58-82-1) as an NFL head coach. He can decipher the yakking about being nothing more than a lap dog for demanding general manager A. J. Smith.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Shout out that same refrain to general manager A. J. Smith and he disagrees. He brushes off comments that he settled for Turner, and that his first head-coaching hire was a safe pick.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "Safe pick doesn't mean anything to me," Smith said. "It was the right pick. I don't categorize them."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But Smith's choice did little to ease the fears in a Charger Nation all too familiar with Turner's mishaps in Washington and Oakland. Chargers fans, to put it lightly, have done little more than shrug over Smith's surprising pick.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "The fans shrug all the time," Smith added. "They shrugged when I was (named) general manager, they shrugged when Drew Brees left town. People shrug. They just want a winner, so we will see if we can do that."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Turner is upbeat that the Chargers will have a seamless transition with him. The offensive playbook the Chargers still lug around is the one Turner once plopped in their lap some six off seasons ago.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Cam Cameron, the Chargers' offensive coordinator after Turner left in 2001, has done little tinkering with Turner's scheme. Why should he? That offense led the league in scoring last year.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "The offense I installed (in 2001) is the one we run," Turner said. "Cam Cameron worked for me for three years in Washington and he's done a great job with these players. I think those are things we can build on.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I know when players come into that first minicamp, they're going to run the same things - the ones who have been here for five years - they're going to run the same things they've been running for five years. Talking to some of the players (recently), there's certainly a comfort level and a relief. The staff is in place and I think in those areas we're going to hit the ground running. "</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> He better. The Chargers are anticipating a deep run in the playoffs, something Schottenheimer couldn't do despite his considerable regular-season success.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Only 11 men have been NFL head coaches for at least 100 regular-season games and advanced to the playoffs just once. Two are still active: the Chargers' Norv Turner and the Bills' Dick Jauron.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Veteran coach Ted Cottrell was named the defensive coordinator. He replaces Wade Phillips; he was hired as Dallas' head coach. Cottrell, who was out of coaching last year, runs the 3-4 defense the Chargers employ. In fact, he learned it under Phillips. "It was the most natural fit there could be because again the continuity, his history with Wade, his history with the defense," Turner said. "His background as a coach in this league and his ability to lead players, Ted is here and I truly believe he'll get the best out of the players."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Former Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, who interviewed for the position that went to Norv Turner, was added as a linebackers coach. "This is big," Turner said. "Ron's qualifications speak for themselves. He has a wide range of experience with a variety of defenses as both a player and a coach. He's coming from a team fresh off a Super Bowl season and whose defense over the past two years has been as good as any in the league."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Bill Bradley, the former Eagles standout safety, will assist Brian Stewart in coaching the secondary. Bradley's background includes working with Cottrell as the defensive backs coach in Buffalo from 1998-2000 and with the New York Jets from 2001-03. Stewart would prefer joining Phillips' staff in Dallas, but so far the Chargers haven't allowed him to leave.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shaun Phillips signed an extension that keeps him on the club through 2012. Phillips' career-high 11.5 sacks last year were second on the team to Shawne Merriman's league-high 17. "Everyone is familiar with my philosophy of identifying our own talent and tie up guys that are in our program, and we're thrilled that Shaun is going to be with us for years to come," general manager A.J. Smith said. "He is a great pass rusher and last year he solidified his talents as a two-dimensional player. He's developed into an outstanding player against both the run and the pass. We think he has a bright future."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "The proof of the pudding will be at the end of the season in 10 months. You never know, but I think it's all situational. He's coming into a pretty good situation, we all know there's a lot of pressure on us to win. He said it, 14-2 is only part of the equation. The other part is once you get in the postseason, what are you going to do?" - Team president Dean Spanos on what is expected of Turner, after his disastrous two previous head-coaching stints.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> TEAM NEEDS/OFF-SEASON STRATEGY</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers' biggest need is trying to keep two standout players from last season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> LG Kris Dielman had a sensational season, as the team often ran his direction in directing LaDainian Tomlinson to an NFL record in touchdowns and points. But the negotiations have hit a roadblock and many feel the Chargers will let him walk as an unrestricted free agent.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Another key player the Chargers will work hard in keeping his OLB Shaun Phillips. He started in place of the wounded Steve Foley and responded with 11.5 sacks, second on the team only to Shawne Merriman's NFL-high 17. No way the Chargers let Phillips slip away, especially with him being an exclusive free agent.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> 1. Strong safety: Not only was Terrence Kiel merely OK, he was charged with five felony drug counts. It appears he will miss jail time, but it's likely Smith will send him packing and try to upgrade the position.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> 2. Wide receiver: Keenan McCardell tumbled from being the No. 1 wide out to an afterthought at season's end. Eric Parker, the No. 2 wide receiver, had a terrible game in the playoffs against the Patriots. Attention is needed here.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> 3. Left guard: If the Chargers can't get on the same page as their talented, soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent Kris Dielman, this position will need some serious attention.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">TRANSITION PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RG Kris Dielman was in negotiations with the Chargers during the season, but those talks have stalled. Dielman, although not going to the Pro Bowl, was often singled out by coach Marty Schottenheimer as the line's top player.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Randall Godfrey could return, if he doesn't retire.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Donnie Edwards was the team's leading tackler in each of the past five seasons, but he won't be invited back.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-T Leander Jordan's time has likely come and gone.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Carlos Polk is a solid special teamer and will likely return.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Az-Zahir Hakim could come back and supply depth to a questionable wide receiving corps.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-C Cory Withrow returns at the right price; a backup to Pro Bowler Nick Hardwick.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Ryon Bingham remains in the team's plans as a backup to Pro Bowler Jamal Williams.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Ryan Krause is likely out, a victim of a numbers crunch at this position.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner will be back as an insurance policy for LaDainian Tomlinson. However, if the right deal appeared, he could be moved in a trade.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Greg Camarillo is on the fence; team needs to upgrade this position.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Malcom Floyd will be back as he proved his worth as a dynamite red-zone target with three touchdown catches.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Marques Harris; the team likes his pass-rushing ability - he had three sacks last season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Derreck Robinson will likely return, but needs to prove he can stay healthy.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RT Cory Lekkerkerker is probably back as Shane Olivea's backup.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS RE-SIGNED</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Shaun Phillips: Potential RFA; 6 yrs, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS ACQUIRED: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS LOST: None.</p>

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