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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a>

    <img width="261" height="196" alt="Marty Schottenheimer" title="Marty Schottenheimer" src="http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20041219/images/2004-12-19sports1.jpg" />

    It was a rumble that turned into a roar, courtesy of coach Marty Schottenheimer.

    The Chargers were done with Wednesday's practice - the most important practice of any week - with their thoughts during to Sunday's game with the San Francisco 49ers.

    It's a game the Chargers should breeze through. They are coming off a big win over the world champions Steelers and the 49ers are, well, the 49ers - winners of five games in 21 attempts.

    Apparently the Chargers players were thinking the same thing and their effort in the practice revealed just that.

    Schottenheimer laid into the players like a drill instructor working over new recruits. He yelled, he cursed, he shook his body in a demonstrative way.

    The players took notice. Or at least they said they did. One won't know, really, until early Sunday evening when the Chargers are either smiling with a 5-1 record or have their chins on their chests at 4-2.

    Running back LaDainian Tomlinson knows Schottenheimer's meltdown wasn't just for show. He's been on too many Chargers teams that started fast then had their nose pressed against the outside of the postseason window come January.

    "We got to be focused on our opponent and just make sure that we are ready to play. We can't overlook anybody we got to really concentrate, like Marty said, each game and that is very important."

    Easily said, not so easily done.

    The Chargers have been the toast of the town - and around NFL circles - for their stunning comeback before a national TV audience in defeating the Steelers. The back slaps have been numerous. Everyone has picked the Chargers again as being among the serious AFC contenders to reach the Super Bowl.

    So Schottenheimer was trying to bring them down to earth. And if had to blow a gasket to get his point across, so be it.

    Tomlinson has heard Mt. Marty erupt before. So have some of the other tenured Chargers. So possibly Schottenheimer was trying to get the message out to the fresh Chargers.

    "Most of us veteran guys have been here long enough to know that," Tomlinson said of Schottenheimer's theme. "And so hopefully it carries over to some of our young guys."

    In reality, the Chargers' guys should have little problem with the 49ers' guys. But Schottenheimer, and many of the key players, have been around the NFL to know anything can happen.

    Even a 10-point home underdog like the 49ers upending a team which many predict will be a party to the Super Bowl.

    SERIES HISTORY: 12th meeting. The San Francisco 49ers lead the series, 7-4. And they lead it in a convincing fashion, having outscored the Chargers, 335-200. The Chargers haven't won in San Francisco since 1982. Of course the biggest game these teams every played was in Super Bowl XXIX. It was the Chargers first and only visit to a Super Bowl, and they were blasted 49-26, as the 49ers won their fifth Super Bowl.


    -NT Jamal Williams was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his big game against the Steelers; he had six tackles and a sack. Williams isn't much of a talker, but RB LaDainian Tomlinson summed it up: "I'm really glad I don't have to play that guy," he said. "He is getting better. It seems like he is just becoming more and more dominant. The way he played on Sunday night I think showed the world he is the best nose tackle in the game, bar none."

    -QB Philip Rivers says this about the 49ers' defense: "San Francisco doesn't pressure quite a much as Pittsburgh and Baltimore (the previous opponents), but they line up in every front and play every coverage known to man. So I think it is key to us to know what we are doing and play, because they have a lot of different stuff that they do and they've done it differently throughout different games so you really don't know what they will show against us."

    -Coach Marty Schottenheimer, with a win on Sunday, will tie Dan Reeves for sixth place on the all-time list with 190 regular season wins.

    -Much has been made of Rivers' emergence; he'll be making his fifth NFL start on Sunday. But don't forget about another first-year starter in rookie Marcus McNeill. He's been a big reason why the Chargers pass rush has given up but five sacks. "He is extremely bright and he understands football," Schottenheimer said. "When you tell him something, he gets it. And he is able to pick it up and apply it down the road. So what you see in him is a young man that is gathering information and processing it and applying it on a very consistent basis and those are the kind of guys, given talent, that have a chance to really be good players."

    -Schottenheimer said playing the Steelers right after the Ravens may give the Chargers a slight edge as they in some ways mimic each other; both employ a 3-4 scheme. "There are a lot of similarities there," he said. "(The Steelers) play more zone coverage than maybe in recent years but they are coming from everywhere." The 11th-ranked Steelers defense has 10 sacks.

    -How big was that win Sunday against the Steelers? Here's what OLB Shaun Phillips said: "If you want to get to the Super Bowl you have to go through the Super Bowl champs."

    -LT Roman Oben, who was placed on PUP before the season, is showing considering progress and the team is encouraged he can be added to the roster later this month.

    -The trading deadline comes next week, and ILB Donnie Edwards is still on the market. But there has been little talk about moving the man who leads the team in tackles with 34. Edwards has been the team's top tackler in each of the four years he has been in San Diego.

    -LB Steve Foley, who is on injured-reserve, has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence. Foley was shot three times by an off-duty police officer in the incident.

    -WR Eric Parker's five catches on Sunday were impressive in that each resulted in a first down and three came on third-down plays.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 1 - Number of times the Chargers (3-1) have finished the first quarter of their season with three-or-more wins since 2002.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "If we go to the wishbone we would be hell on wheels." - Coach Marty Schottenheimer, on the Chargers' powerful backfield of running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner and fullback Lorenzo Neal.


    When the Chargers are in the red zone, one automatically thinks of All-Pro TE Antonio Gates as the prime target. And that is still a good bet. But don't overlook 6-foot-5 WR Malcom Floyd. More and more the Chargers are zeroing in on Floyd. Philip Rivers threw him a beautiful jump ball along the side of the end zone and he plucked it from the air against Pittsburgh. Floyd is a real threat in the red zone; he has two touchdown catches this year, which ties for the team high. Floyd has caught three of Rivers' six NFL touchdown passes.


    -RB Michael Turner, who is averaging 6.8 yards in 41 carries, is lining up in the backfield at the same time as Tomlinson. That's a new twist from last year.

    -LT Leander Jordan was placed on IR with a neck injury. Jordan was at one time going to start, but got hurt Aug. 26 and never returned.

    -WR Keenan McCardell is tied with the Rams' Isaac Bruce at No. 9 on the all-time list with 835 receptions.

    -LS David Binn has tied Doug Wilkerson for second in career games with the Chargers at 195. Junior Seau and Russ Washington have the all-time mark at 200.

    -K Nate Kaeding continues to prove he was worthy of being a third-round pick back in 2004. He has made 11-of-12 field goal attempts this year, and is 53-of-63 in his career.

    -P Mike Scifres leads the league with a 43.3-yard net average. The team mark was set by Darren Bennett in 1999 when he collected a 38.7-yard net average. Scifres often give Bennett - they were teammates for one year - credit for having him focus on the net return yards instead of distance.

    GAME PLAN: The Chargers would love to continue doing what they do best on defense, which is stopping the run. If they can force Alex Smith into obvious passing situations, they like their chances of getting after the young quarterback with their active front seven and tempting Smith to beat them. The key is stopping Frank Gore on the running downs; Gore is tied for the NFL lead in rushing. But if the Chargers can at least slow him down and have Smith stare at some third-and-longs, it will be playing right into the Chargers' defensive hands.

    MATCHUPS TO WATCH: The Chargers' run defense, with NT Jamal Williams in the middle, vs. the 49ers' running game. Some might think to stop Gore the linebackers must be active and get run-support from the defensive backs. But in reality the matchup to watch is Williams against the interior of the 49ers line: RG Larry Allen, C Eric Heitmann and LG Justin Smiley. The key could be Allen returning to the lineup; he is nursing a sore knee. But Williams was outstanding against a solid Steelers offensive line last week and will be looking to build on that performance. If Williams does his thing, that allows the rest of the unit to swoop in and get the tackles and the headlines.

    -The Chargers' offense, led by first-year starting QB Philip Rivers vs. a 49ers defense which is big on making adjustments. The Chargers know the 49ers' defensive personnel isn't nearly as stout as what they saw the past two weeks against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. But what the 49ers defense does do is switch around a lot, going from a 4-3 to a 3-4, to a variation of the two. So it's imperative that Rivers recognizes what they 49ers are trying to do and how they are trying to do it.

    -The 49ers short passing game, featuring TE Eric Johnson, against the Chargers pass defense, which is led by SS Terrence Kiel. Johnson is filling in for Vernon Davis, the rookie who was being counted on before breaking his leg. But Johnson is no slouch; he had a team-high 82 receptions in 2004, after last year was derailed by a foot injury. Kiel could draw the athletic Johnson and be asked to stick with someone who is fourth on the team with 14 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown.

    INJURY IMPACT: S Bhawoh Jue (knee) is doing some limited work, but nothing in the team drills. He won't play this week.

    -TE Ryan Krause (hamstring) is working and is fine for Sunday; he could be a healthy inactive.

    -LT Marcus McNeill (hand) is working and is fine for Sunday.

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