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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 25, 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>
    <div class="inside-copy"><img width="164" height="238" align="left" alt="San Diego Chargers Luis Castillo, left, greets Shawn Merriman after a interception against the Tennessee Titans during the second half of their NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006, in San Diego. The Charges won 40-7. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)" title="San Diego Chargers Luis Castillo, left, greets Shawn Merriman after a interception against the Tennessee Titans during the second half of their NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006, in San Diego. The Charges won 40-7. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)" src="http://espn-i.starwave.com/media/apphoto/e57d98da-f570-48f0-bd91-00c2fbdc4b80.jpg" /> Time to step up a level, Chargers.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">The AFC West's only unbeaten team - at 2-0 - gets back to work this week with a huge test awaiting on Sunday. The Chargers, who have cleaned up on two of the NFL dregs in their quick start from the gate, tangle with the host Baltimore Ravens this weekend.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">While the Ravens just got past the Browns to keep their record spotless, Baltimore presents a stiff challenge to the Chargers, who got fat on the dreadful Raiders and Titans.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"This is going to be a good competition and test on how we respond on the road," cornerback Drayton Florence said. "Our attitude is for us to keep getting better."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">So far, it's been so good for the Chargers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The defense has led the way, starting the season with a team-record seven straight scoreless quarters. And the offense, led by first-year starting quarterback Philip Rivers, has been efficient.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But the Chargers have yet to see the likes of a Steve McNair-led offense or a Ray Lewis-led defense. Then following the Baltimore trip, the team welcomes the world champion Steelers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Florence, though, said the best is yet to come for the Chargers. Especially for a secondary which went into Week 3 with the league's top ranking, this after finishing No. 28 last year.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We are still jelling," said Florence, of the defensive backfield which features new free safety Marlon McCree. "We are going to get better than we are right now."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Keenan McCardell benefited from the bye week to rest his tender hamstring.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-S Marlon McCree has set the bar high for CB Drayton Florence. "I predict for him to get at least five picks this year," McCree said. "I'm expecting big things from him."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers will be going for their seventh win in their last 10 road games on Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Antonio Cromartie, the team's top pick, will see more work in practice returning kicks and punts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LT Marcus McNeill hasn't been overwhelmed in his first two NFL starts. His play is among the squad's more pleasant surprises.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Quentin Jammer already has an interception, which matches his season total in each of the past two years.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LG Kris Dielman and the club could be near a contract extension.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Donnie Edwards remains on the trading block and will be until next month's deadline.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-PK Nate Kaeding is enjoying a perfect start, hitting all six of his field-goal attempts - two were from over 43 yards.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD AFTER 2 GAMES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus - Philip Rivers hasn't been asked to do too much - he heaved the ball but 11 times in the season-opening win in Oakland. But what is impressive - especially to coach Marty Schottenheimer - is Rivers hasn't turned the ball over in eight quarters, after coughing it up four times in the preseason. For the most part Rivers looks calm in the pocket and has shown a good ability to throw on the run. The pass blocking has been keen; no sacks. The receivers have a drop or two, but for the most part TE Antonio Gates and the receivers have been in the right spot at the right time.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: A - Rivers' best friend - a strong running game - has shown up as predicted. LaDainian Tomlinson has rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns, averaging four yards a carry. The run blocking is so good that even Tomlinson's backup, Michael Turner, is turning some heads with a 7.6-yard average on 23 carries.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: A - For years this area has been the team's Achilles' heel. But to date, a stout pass-rush - nine sacks - and some great coverages on the back end has the pass defense no longer hiding in the shadows of the run defense. The addition of veteran FS Marlon McCree has helped greatly, as there is more communication - and more film work leading up to the games - which is paying off.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: A - While the pass defense has improved, it's the run defense which the unit still hangs its hat on. The front seven - led by its anchor, Jamal Williams - isn't taking a step back from leading the league in run defense last year. DE Luis Castillo is proving to be more stout against the run than in his rookie year and even Shaun Phillips - who replaced a wounded Steve Foley - is showing he's more than a pass-rushing specialist. The run defense is allowing but 71 yards per game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: B - The legs are hot, with K Nate Kaeding converting all six of his field-goal attempts and Mike Scifres routinely pinning teams back with his high, hanging punts that are difficult to return. The coverage units have been OK; same goes for the punt and kickoff returns.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: A - Schottenheimer had his team ready from the get-go, as they won a divisional road game and started their goal of going undefeated at home on the right note. While much credit goes to Schottenheimer, don't forget the job defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is doing. His charges have already notched a shutout and are flying to the ball and playing with a nasty edge that could have them mentioned among the league's top defenses.</p>

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