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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jul 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>
    <div class="intro-copy"><img width="217" height="144" align="left" alt="Roman Oben" title="Roman Oben" src="http://www.romanoben.com/images/romanbobenpic5lg.jpg" />Left tackle Roman Oben is out of his walking cast - that's the good news.</div>
    <p class="intro-copy">Roman Oben appears to be a long shot to be ready for opening day - that's the bad news.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">The Chargers opened training camp last week, still scratching their head as what to do at left tackle.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">The squad is hopeful that the blind side of first-year starting quarterback Philip Rivers' will be protected by a savvy veteran entering his 11th season. But eyeing a limping Oben walk around camp tells otherwise.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"> He might rebound from two foot surgeries which derailed his 2005 season. Or he may not.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">And if he is fit for the season-opener in Oakland on Sept. 11, can the Chargers say with any certainty that he will be there Dec. 31 for the regular-season finale?</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">That's why among the biggest issues at this camp is the offensive line's most critical spot. How the Chargers determine to attack that spot may go a long way in determining Rivers' and the team's success.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Coach Marty Schottenheimer has been doing his best to talk-up Leander Jordan - despite his inconsistent play last year. Some of his praise is falling on deaf ears and one injured shoulder (Brees') which now resides in New Orleans.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">"I'm not going to stand here and say he is going to have a breakthrough year but we have been pleased with his progress," Schottenheimer said of Jordan.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Rookie Marcus McNeill could outlast Jordan in their competition if Oben isn't able to work much leading up to the opener. But McNeill has issues himself, the biggest being he has never played in an NFL game.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">So do you really want to make a rare run at the playoffs with a first-year starting quarterback and an even more raw left tackle?</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">The Chargers might not have any other choice.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>CAMP CALENDAR:</strong></p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Aug. 3: Night practice at Chargers Park</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Aug. 9: Night practice at Chargers Park</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Aug. 22: Night practice at Chargers Park</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Aug. 5: Practice and Fanfest at Qualcomm Stadium</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Aug. 11: Light workout on the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Aug. 25 Camp ends</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-Cornerback Antonio Cromartie signed a $12.75 million, five-year deal as the draft's No. 19 overall pick. Soon, he'll get to pick up one hefty tab. It's a tradition among Chargers veterans that the top selection of that year treat the veterans to dinner. Last year, linebacker Shawne Merriman was hit for $32,000. The year before, quarterback Philip River had a $25,000 bill slipped his way. "We haven't got to that stage yet but once we get done with this training camp and he gets settled in, we'll get him," cornerback Quentin Jammer said.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-Inside linebacker Donnie Edwards remains on the trading block. Stephen Cooper could see some action on early downs, at the expense of Edwards.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-Quarterback Philip Rivers sneaks a peak over at Shawne Merriman and smiles. "He is even bigger and stronger this year," Rivers said of last year's NFL defensive rookie of the year.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-What would be a good training camp for top rookie cornerback Antonio Cromartie? "To know that I outworked my competition every single day," he said. "That would make me look back and say, 'I had a good camp."'</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Team officials, including president Dean Spanos, met with Chula Vista politicians regarding the city's quest to lure the Chargers to the South Bay. The city has two sites where it is considering building a new stadium for the Chargers.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "He's still raw, but once he gets it together I think he can be the Randy Moss of the secondary." - Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer, on rookie cornerback Antonio Cromartie.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="intro-copy">The Chargers had a rarity in having all their draft picks in just about on time, with first-round pick Antonio Cromartie missing but one day of rookie practice.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-CB Antonio Cromartie (first-round pick) will challenge Drayton Florence for the starting job - or at least the nickel role.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-LT Marcus McNeill (second) signed and could push Leander Jordan for the starting job if veteran Roman Oben isn't fit.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-QB Charlie Whitehurst (third) could push A.J. Feeley for the backup position behind Rivers.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-ILB Tim Dobbins (fifth) has been impressive; could really move up the depth chart next year when Randall Godfrey and Donnie Edwards are gone.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-T Jeromey Clary (sixth) is in the right place as the team has little depth on the edges.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-K Kurt Smith (sixth) is a kickoff specialist and that will be his role if he makes the team.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-DT Chase Page (seventh) is also on the right squad as the depth behind Jamal Williams consists of Ryon Bingham; Bingham has little experience.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-OL Jimmy Martin (seventh) is a long shot to make the team, as the line is at its strongest in the interior.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">EXPECTED <strong>BATTLE OF THE WEEK:</strong> It's on, between returning starter Drayton Florence and rookie Antonio Cromartie to start opposite Quentin Jammer at cornerback. Florence has basically been the starter the past two years, while Cromartie, the 19th overall pick, started one game his entire career at Florida State.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>OTHER BATTLE FRONTS:</strong> Leander Jordan will try to hold off rookie Marcus McNeill at left tackle if Roman Oben can't hold off Father Time after two surgeries on his foot. The coaches have been talking up Jordan, but if they were this high on him why did they burn a second-round pick on McNeill?</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-Terrence Kiel, Clinton Hart and Bhawoh Jue will square off at the strong safety spot, with newcomer Marlon McCree taking Jue's old starting spot at free safety.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>ROOKIE REPORT:</strong> Among the surprises here is the play of QB Charlie Whitehurst. He has caught Schottenheimer's eye and could elevate to No. 2 status - although that would take some doing considering Feeley's experience.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>INJURY REPORT:</strong> LT Roman Oben (foot) will be eased into camp.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-DT Jamal Williams (knee) will be eased into camp.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-TE Ryan Krause (leg) not believed to be serious.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-LB Marques Harris (hamstring) not believed to be serious.</p>
     

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