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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a>
    <div class="intro-copy">The NFL schedule-makers might have done the Chargers a favor.</div>
    <p class="intro-copy">A year after facing the league's toughest slate of games, the Chargers could be looking at a fast start.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">They open at Oakland against the 4-12 Raiders. Next is the home opener against the Titans, fresh from a 4-12 disaster.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">There's a Week 3 bye, then a matchup the Ravens, a 6-10 finisher last year.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">"That is the only thing about the schedule that is not pleasing, that early bye week," Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "That means we are going to have to play 14 games straight without a bye and then, maybe, right into the playoffs.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">"Hopefully, we get another bye then, after the regular season."</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">That would mean wrestling the AFC West crown from the Broncos. The Chargers have won one division title since 1995.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">The schedule does offer some cold-weather games in the second half. The Chargers will have to play at Cincinnati, Denver, Buffalo and Seattle after Nov. 11.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">"That's going to be pretty fun," Tomlinson said. "It's a first for me, four cold games like that."</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">The Chargers will be left out in the cold again unless they right their mark at Qualcomm Stadium. The team went 4-4 at home last year, which was among the key reasons it missed the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 years.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">This year's home schedule includes only two 2005 playoff teams in the world champions Steelers and the Broncos.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-The team extended WR Eric Parker's contract, which now runs through 2010. He's been their third-leading receiver the past two years.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson's off-season includes breaking down film for every run he made last season, and even beyond that.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Tomlinson said there's no doubt ex-Chargers QB Drew Brees will benefit the Saints. "No doubt, because Drew is a leader," Tomlinson said. "He's going to walk in there and automatically change the perception of that franchise."</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">-For the second straight season, the Chargers face both participants of the previous season's Super Bowl. They host the Steelers in a Sunday night game and face the Seahawks on Christmas Eve. Last year, the Chargers defeated the Patriots at New England while falling to the Eagles in Philadelphia.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">Despite 21 wins over the past two seasons, the Chargers were awarded only two nationally televised games: A Monday night matchup with the Raiders on Sept. 11 and the Sunday night game against the Steelers (Oct. 8).</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "I say if we don't win this season, they should be upset. But give us a chance to prove that we are winners." - RB LaDainian Tomlinson, to Chargers fans disappointed by the team's off-season moves.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="intro-copy">1. Cornerback: The Chargers were the top-ranked team against the run, but defending the pass they finished near the bottom once again at No. 28. The Chargers' brass once said the lack of production on the backend was because of a tepid pass rush, but that's no longer the case. Despite having three first-rounders at this position - Quentin Jammer, Sammy Davis and Jamar Fletcher - the pass coverage continues to be the team's Achilles heel.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">2. Offensive line: Despite finishing in the top 10 of every critical rushing category, the Chargers thought so little of their line play that they fired offensive line coach Carl Mauck with one year left on his contract. General manager A.J. Smith is looking hard at adding depth at both tackle spots, especially on the left side.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">3. Wide receiver: Keenan McCardell, the Chargers' top wideout, is heading into his 15th season. The team did not mind seeing Reche Caldwell, a second-round bust, leave for New England. There is hope for Vincent Jackson - if he can stay healthy - and Eric Parker has proven he can be a reliable No. 2 or No. 3 receiver.</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: LB Matt Wilhelm.</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.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">PLAYERS ACQUIRED: S Marlon McCree; TE Aaron Shea.</p>
    <p class="intro-copy">PLAYERS LOST: QB Drew Brees; WR Reche Caldwell; OG Bob Hallen; LB Ben Leber; TE Justin Peelle; DE DeQuincy Scott; OL Courtney VanBuren; S Jerry Wilson.</p>

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