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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jun 10, 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="157" height="245" align="left" title="SDUT Photo - Marcus McNeil" alt="SDUT Photo - Marcus McNeil" src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/album121/2006_20060511_ASMT256723_UTI0924143.jpg" /> It's not exactly how it's drawn up, but it's a possibility: a rookie left tackle protecting a first-year starting quarterback.

    That was the look the Chargers presented during numerous reps at the team's opening day at its minicamp. Marcus McNeill, a second-round pick from Auburn, was protecting Philip Rivers' blind side.

    The Chargers are hoping they don't have to shove the 6-foot-7, 336-pound McNeill out into the line of fire so soon. They're banking on Roman Oben rebounding from two surgeries on his left foot and that he can resume playing at training camp.

    But the reality was - in June, anyway - McNeill trying to keep Rivers from being rocked.

    And the massive McNeill is approaching this offseason as if he'll trot out with the starters on Sept. 11.

    "You definitely don't want to sit back and say this is my red shirt year," McNeill said. "You want to get out there and compete and let the coaches make the decisions."

    Even if Oben is fit, McNeill still wants to push him for the starting job. Backup Leander Jordan is also in the mix, but if the Chargers were enamored with him why would they have drafted McNeill?

    But while McNeill comes with solid credentials, he knows his to-do list is quite lengthy. At the top of it is improving his pass blocking.

    "I'm definitely making real big strides in my pass blocking," McNeil said. "Me and my coaches are constantly working day I and day out on that and I really feel I'm going to get better with that."

    The Chargers hope so. Rivers' health might depend on it.

    NOTES, QUOTES

    -Newcomer Marlon McCree has been working at free safety. Bhawoh Jue, the starter there last year, has been out while rebounding from a knee surgery. When healthy, Jue will probably square off with Terrence Kiel and Clinton Hart for the strong side's starting job.

    -Starting RG Mike Goff skipped the minicamp to attend his brother's wedding.

    -CB Antonio Cromartie, the team's top pick, is lining up behind returning starter Drayton Florence.

    -Backup CB Markus Curry received some dirty looks when accidentally smacking LaDainian Tomlinson in the teeth after a reception. "That is going to happen," Tomlinson said. "It is football."

    -With Jamal Williams (knee) still out, Ryon Bingham took his place with the first-string unit.

    -The Chargers are holding an upcoming practice at Camp Pendleton in nearby Oceanside. The Marine Corps base has sustained heavy casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I play with a chip on my shoulder and I think that is what he does, too. Getting better is what we are all about in the secondary." - CB Drayton Florence, on being challenged by top pick Antonio Cromartie for his starting spot.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

    TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): WR Drew Haddad.

    RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

    EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: LB Howard Hodges; RB Calvin Murray.

    PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: LB Stephen Cooper; OG Kris Dielman; S Clinton Hart; WR Kassim Osgood; DE Jacques Cesaire; LB Carlos Polk; FB Andrew Pinnock; LB Matt Wilhelm.

    PLAYERS ACQUIRED: TE Brandon Manumaleuna; S Marlon McCree; TE Aaron Shea; CB Raymond Walls; WR Rashaun Woods.

    PLAYERS LOST: QB Drew Brees; WR Reche Caldwell; CB Sammy Davis; CB Jamar Fletcher; OG Bob Hallen; LB Ben Leber; TE Justin Peelle; DE DeQuincy Scott; OL Courtney VanBuren; S Jerry Wilson.
     

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