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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, May 13, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: USA Today
    <div class="intro-copy">It's only May and it's only football players running around in shorts. But don't discount how important the rookie orientation workouts are to the San Diego Chargers.</div>
    <p class="intro-copy">Rookies get their first taste of the big leagues while gathering for two days and four sessions of NFL-style coaching. On the final day of the three-day event, the newcomers will be joined by the veterans as the team kicks off its offseason coaching sessions.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">But it's the rookies that will garner the most attention, as the Chargers made few moves regarding older players this offseason. The most significant free-agency signing was Carolina safety Marlon McCree.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"> The first question is whether top draft choice Antonio Cromartie is ready to resume his playing career. The talented cornerback from Florida State missed last season with a serious knee injury, but the Chargers' team doctors were convinced he's sound and now he gets to prove it after the Chargers took him 19th overall.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">How about left tackle Marcus McNeill out of Clemson? The second-round pick's development could be more critical than Cromartie's.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">The Chargers' fingers are crossed that McNeill can learn for at least a year behind savvy veteran Roman Oben. But the reality is Oben isn't close to getting on the field, and some are holding their breath in the organization about whether he'll be over his two foot surgeries by training camp.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">So McNeill will see plenty of work in the opening workouts. The Chargers must find out if he can handle the load of protecting first-year starting quarterback Philip Rivers' blind side.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">If the job is too big for McNeill and Oben is still ailing, the Chargers could be forced to go with journeyman Leander Jordan. That prospect scared the team so much it wasted little time in drafting McNeill.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-Assistant general manager Buddy Nix assured everyone that Antonio Cromartie has lost none of his blazing speed after having his knee rebuilt last year. Nix pointed to Cromartie's time at the scouting combine. "Yes, he's down to a 4.38," Nix said with a smile. "They had the vertical jump thing set at 42 inches and he went over the top of it. I'd say he's fairly healthy. It's hard to do that off one leg."</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-Chargers GM A.J. Smith has been quoted as speculating that ex-Charger WR Reche Caldwell will have an impact with the Patriots, his new team. If so, it's odd Smith didn't make more of an effort to keep the free agent. As of now, the Chargers' No. 3 receiver is Vincent Jackson, who has three NFL receptions.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-In addition to the drafted players on hand at the rookie orientation, 15 undrafted players will join 14 others getting a tryout.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-Not being selected in the first round has given LT Marcus McNeill a bit of a motivational boost. "Maybe it's good that I went in the second round because I kind of do have a chip on my shoulder," he said. "I have to prove myself again."</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-Rookie QB Charlie Whitehurst will see a familiar face in Chargers receivers coach James Lofton. When Charlie was a kid, his father, David, was a Packers quarterback and Lofton was one of his targets. "I definitely heard a lot about him," the younger Whitehurst said.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "There's no question he has a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of work to do, but he's got rare skills. It generally begins with that." - Coach Marty Schottenheimer on the potential of rookie CB Antonio Cromartie.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="intro-copy">FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">TRANSITION PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): WR Drew Haddad.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: LB Howard Hodges; RB Calvin Murray.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">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.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">PLAYERS ACQUIRED: TE Brandon Manumaleuna; S Marlon McCree; TE Aaron Shea; CB Raymond Walls; WR Rashaun Woods.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">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.</p>

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