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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, May 21, 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>

    The day Philip Rivers has been dreaming about for more than two years finally arrived.

    When the Chargers kicked off their offseason coaching sessions, Rivers was out front - like any starting quarterback should be. He led the team in stretching, goaded teammates to give their best efforts and acted like the top gun at the team's most critical position.

    With Drew Brees now in New Orleans, the Chargers are marching to a different beat, one led by Rivers.

    "These last two years a part of me was missing a little bit because I had to take a little bit of a back seat and rightly so," Rivers said.

    Rivers was supposed to take over for Brees back in 2004, when the Chargers made a blockbuster draft-day trade with the Giants to secure Rivers, the fourth overall pick. But protracted contract talks cost Rivers most of his first training camp and he never made up for lost time.

    Brees went on to lead the Chargers to the AFC West title, a 12-4 record and was named the Comeback Player of the Year.

    Rivers? He was involved in as many trade rumors as huddles these past two seasons, throwing but 30 NFL passes in sporadic duty.

    His chance has finally come, and low and behold, it's in San Diego.

    "It wasn't talked about a lot, but in the back of my mind I always hoped it would arrive here," Rivers said. "I was given the opportunity that first spring ever here, and how it played out the opportunity has been missing the last couple of years. But I know it's here and I'm glad it's here and I hope it is here for a long time."

    Rivers doesn't have that long of time to get settled. The Chargers open against the Raiders on Sept. 11, but Rivers is determined to be ready. He's working extra with receivers, spending numerous hours at the facility and not backing down from taking the controls Brees once held so tightly.

    The Chargers are eager to spit out that 9-7, third-place finish of last year. And Rivers is confident he's the right man for the job.

    "We didn't meet the expectations that we had last year," Rivers said. "Coming off a 12-4 season and not going to the playoffs and losing the last couple the way we did, the guys are hungry. We got some veteran players and they don't play forever and it's a short window that you have an opportunity to win a championship. That window is now and we are on the right path."

    NOTES, QUOTES

    -With Roman Oben (foot) still ailing, second-round pick Marcus McNeill ran with the first team at left tackle during the offseason drills.

    -S Bhawoh Jue was in no shape to work during the offseason coaching sessions. In addition to having his knee scoped for loose cartilage, he underwent a micro fracture procedure which is much more serious.

    -DT Jamal Williams (knee) was held out of the early workouts, too. "I'm fine and I could practice right now," Williams said. "They are just being cautious."

    -First-round pick Antonio Cromartie, a cornerback, showed no signs of his rebuilt knee restricting him during workouts.

    -RB LaDainian Tomlinson has grown out his hair. "I'm trying to look like Ben Wallace," Tomlinson said, joking about the Pistons' star crop of hair. "Actually with the way gas prices are I can't afford a haircut."

    -The team's minicamp at its facility is June 10-11 and is open to the public.

    -Coach Marty Schottenheimer on ex-Chargers QB Doug Flutie's retirement from the Patriots: "I don't know that there's ever been a more exciting player, certainly not at the quarterback position, than Doug Flutie. He was a great pro for us and I'm sure wherever he goes he'll find great success."

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "They said you could catch when we drafted you." - Coach Marty Schottenheimer, needling rookie Antonio Cromartie after he dropped an easy interception during workouts.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    MEDICAL WATCH: S Bhawoh Jue (knee) won't test his knee until the July training camp. DT Jamal Williams (knee) could participate in the June minicamp. LT Roman Oben (foot) is being held out until training camp.

    FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

    TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: 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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