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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Apr 22, 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">DRAFT STRATEGY:</div>
    <p class="intro-copy">The Chargers have more holes to fill than one would think for a team recording 21 victories the past two seasons. But filling them might require general manager A. J. Smith to do some wheeling and dealing.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">What stood out down the stretch - when the team went 1-3 - was the inconsistency of the offensive line. When you have a stud like running back LaDainian Tomlinson, it's imperative the front line is topnotch. The Chargers' unit wasn't last year, especially late.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">So the thinking is the Chargers' first two picks at Nos. 19 and 50 - should be burnt to address that need. First, the new bodies might be able to provide Tomlinson with some open running lanes. Too often last year he was met at the hole by defenders - and while he often still got his yards - that made the running difficult.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"> Secondly, the Chargers might have to rely on the running game more than in the past with first-year starting quarterback Philip Rivers. Smith's plan is that Rivers' learning curve won't be as steep because he can lean on Tomlinson and Co.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Thirdly, it's imperative Rivers doesn't get an early case of happy feet because of shoddy pass-protection. If he gets rocked, whatever confidence he's gained in 30 NFL passes could be quickly lost.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Fourth, left tackle Roman Oben will not only turn 34 this season but is coming off two foot surgeries and is not participating in the offseason workouts. Trusting journeyman Leander Jordan with that position again isn't a solid option.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">But to get a ready-for-the-field player, Smith might have to peddle some lower round picks to move up the board in the first round. He likely won't go high enough to snag left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, but he could settle in a spot which produces tackle Winston Justice or tackle Eric Winston.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">The Chargers, though, could also look at cornerback. Smith has invested heavily here in the past, and it hasn't panned out. That's why he must address it again, especially with his lack of acquisitions in the free-agent market.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">The Chargers' corners last year - and this is no misprint - totaled three interceptions. Consider the entire team had as many (10) as Ty Law.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">There are also concerns regarding depth at the wide receiver and linebacker spots, especially at the inside position.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">But what jumps out is what the team needs up front. After last season, it replaced offensive line coach Carl Mauck. After the draft, it could replace his former charges.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-The Chargers are looking to make a big hit in the draft after being so quiet during the free-agency period.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">San Diego has been hit pretty hard by defections, in losing quarterback Drew Brees, wide receiver Reche Caldwell, cornerback Jamar Fletcher, tight end Justin Peelle and others.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">To date, the Chargers have added only one significant player, free-agent safety Marlon McCree. All that could set up an active draft for the Chargers. Their fans - bewildered by a series of offseason moves - certainly hope so.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-Donnie Edwards, 33 and in the last year of his contract, is on the market. Despite trailing only Miami's Zach Thomas in tackles the past seven years, the Chargers have no interest in retaining Edwards past this season. Edwards has led the Chargers in tackles in each of the four seasons he's been with the club. "If I'm playing here or if I'm playing somewhere else, you know what you are going to get from me," he said. "I'm definitely working hard right now, I guarantee you that. It's on."</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-The Chargers preseason schedule was finalized. The team will host the Packers on Aug. 12, travel to Chicago on Aug. 18, greet the visiting Seahawks on Aug. 26 and wrap it up with a road trip to San Francisco on Sept. 1.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-LaDainian Tomlinson held his annual golf tournament, with thoughts of his first one some three years ago. "I lost 35 balls," Tomlinson said.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-S Andre Lott, a four-year pro who has battled injuries, was signed by the Chargers.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-LB Matt Wilhelm signed his tender offer.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "It's my hometown and I've been a Chargers fan my whole entire life, and I will still remain a Chargers fan." - LB Donnie Edwards on how he would feel if traded by the Chargers.</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: CB Jamar Fletcher.</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: S Marlon McCree; TE Aaron Shea; WR Rashaun Woods.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">PLAYERS LOST: QB Drew Brees; WR Reche Caldwell; CB Sammy Davis; OG Bob Hallen; LB Ben Leber; TE Justin Peelle; DE DeQuincy Scott; OL Courtney VanBuren; S Jerry Wilson.</p>
     

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