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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a>

    <img width="320" height="212" alt="LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates celebrate one of LT's three touchdowns." title="LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates celebrate one of LT's three touchdowns." src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/061029rams/JBchrgRams263857x34.jpg" />
    <div class="inside-copy">The Chargers are home again Sunday, and they are eager to keep winning at Qualcomm Stadium.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">After disposing of the visiting Rams on Sunday, the Chargers next host the Browns. The Chargers are 3-0 at home for the first time since 2002.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We recognize the significance of winning games at home," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "In all my experience in this league, you need to win seven, eight games at home if you want to have an opportunity to be a contending team."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers' pratfalls at home were among the reasons they missed the playoffs last year. While they were an impressive 5-3 on the road - in a slate that included five trips three time zones away - the Chargers could do no better than 4-4 at home.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"That obviously was an issue for us," Schottenheimer said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">So among the team's 10 goals this year is going undefeated at home. There is still much work to do, but so far, so good.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"It's always been a cornerstone of your basic principles we believe in because the math doesn't lie," Schottenheimer said. "If you win six at home and you split on the road, you have 10-6 record, and in most cases that will at least get you a playoff berth. It is something we have always talked about, and it has been a point of emphasis because it is hard to win on the road in this league."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">After the Browns, the Chargers don't return home until Thanksgiving weekend when they face the rival Raiders. Despite the Chargers dominating the Raiders in the season opener, the Raiders are coming on of late and will be geared up to end a six-game losing streak to San Diego.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Then the Chargers will entertain the Broncos, Chiefs and Cardinals.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers have to continue to embrace home cooking to play beyond December. And that will continue to be the point Schottenheimer drives home, especially with the 2-5 Browns coming in on Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I don't think you can every minimize the positive impact it has playing at home in front of your fans," Schottenheimer said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shawne Merriman said he hasn't reached a decision on whether to drop his appeal of his positive steroid test. If Merriman decides not to go through with his appeal, he would miss games against the Browns, Bengals, Broncos and Raiders. Coach Marty Schottenheimer said he expects to have Merriman this week against the Browns. "Until someone tells me otherwise," he said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Considering the controversy swirling around Merriman leading to Sunday's game, Schottenheimer wasn't surprised with his star's three sacks. "He was on a mission," Schottenheimer said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-How good is the Chargers offense? QB Philip Rivers said it's going pretty well. "I think we're in full throttle," Rivers said. "We don't hold anything back. If we think there is something to put in during the week, we put it in. If there is an adjustment to make during the game, we make it."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Rookie CB Antonio Cromartie had numerous passes pointed his way, but he held up fairly well, even though coach Marty Schottenheimer isn't ready to dole out too much praise. "He's making some progress, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done," the coach said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson is the eighth active player to rush for 8,000 career yards. And with his two rushing touchdowns Sunday, he has 90 in 86 games - tying Emmitt Smith for the second-fastest game total to reach that mark. Jim Brown did it in 81 games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-In each of the team's seven games, the Chargers have held the ball at least 30 of the game's 60 minutes; they had control 30:54 in Sunday's win. It's the first time the team has turned the trick in its first seven games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Igor Olshansky (knee) likely will be listed as doubtful this week. Jacques Cesaire again will replace him.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shaun Phillips (calf) is probably another week from starting to seriously practice. Phillips' game is his speed, and the Chargers are being careful he doesn't do extended damage to his calf with a half of a season to go.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-K Nate Kaeding continues his stellar start as he has now converted 16 of 18 field-goal attempts. He's also getting better distance on his kickoffs.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-FS Marlon McCree was brought to San Diego for big plays, and he had a huge play Sunday when he returned a fumble 79 yards for a game-changing touchdown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner had his most carries in three weeks - and he only had five. But he averaged 5.6 yards and added a score.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. RAMS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus - Philip Rivers wasn't asked to do much with LaDainian Tomlinson running wild. But that being said, Rivers took care of the ball and was efficient: 15-for-23 for 206 yards and one touchdown. He didn't throw a pick and he didn't turn the ball over. The pass blocking was fine as he was sacked but once. Tomlinson even scored through the air with a fine catch. The only drop was by Eric Parker.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: A - Tomlinson and the running game got back on board with style. Tomlinson had heard the talk - as did the offensive line - that the Chargers had become a finesse team and couldn't run with consistency. But the St. Louis run defense was the perfect tonic, and Tomlinson embarrassed it with 183 rushing yards. The line was blowing defenders off the ball, which gave Tomlinson huge running lanes. Tough to top this performance.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: B- - Marc Bulger threw for 327 yards and two scores - although some of it came in the final quarter when the game was all but decided. Rookie Antonio Cromartie wore a big target, but he held up pretty well.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: B - The tackling was better, although the Rams did go for 101 rushing yards. Steven Jackson rushed for 84, with a nifty 4.7-yard average. LB Donnie Edwards was sensational, with a game-high 13 tackles, and DE Luis Castillo had six. But there is still some work to be done here; it'll get better when Igor Olshansky (knee) returns in a week or two. S Marlon McCree had a key fumble recovery for a touchdown that turned the game around.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: B - The legs were fine with Nate Kaeding kicking two field goals and Mike Scifres having three punts land inside the 20, with a long of 55. No issues with kick or punt coverages. The Chargers, though, didn't do much in the return game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: A - Marty Schottenheimer did a nice job of keeping the team on track after a heartbreaking loss in Kansas City. He also had to convince his squad that the Rams were better than the oddsmakers said - they were 10-point underdogs. Schottenheimer also got back to doing what he does - having his team run the football.</p>
     

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