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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>

    With the Chargers eliminated from the playoff chase, Saturday should be the time to watch backup quarterback Philip Rivers.

    Rivers, in two years, has been paid some $14 million to basically be Drew Brees' caddy. He's played sparingly in just three games - and Saturday won't be any different.

    Those knowing coach Marty Schottenheimer realize all too well he's going for a victory against the visiting Denver Broncos. Rivers and other backups can show their stuff some other time - Schottenheimer isn't hiding his ambition to close out the season on a winning note.

    "I understand those who might say, 'Play Philip,' and all, but that's not the way the National Football League, in my view, is set up," Schottenheimer said. "Our goal is to get our 10th victory."

    "That's our single and sole objective, and with that in mind, we will play everybody that is healthy enough to play. Our starters will start, our starters will play. We have one objective, and that is to get to 10-6, and that is the way we move forward in this final week."

    The pain of Saturday's loss still hangs over the Chargers. After winning the AFC West last year with a 12-4 mark, the organization had big plans for this year. Not only were the Chargers expected to make the playoffs, but they were hoping to make some noise once they got there.

    But Saturday's stumble in Kansas City, combined with five losses by a total of 14 points, have the Chargers on the outside looking in for the ninth time in 10 years.

    "We're very disappointed, but we are going to look at and see what we can do to improve for this week," Schottenheimer said.

    If the Chargers prevail, it would be the first time since 1980-81 they recorded double-digit victories in consecutive years. But of both those teams made the playoffs.

    "We fell short of our goal, clearly, and that was to win the championship," Schottenheimer said. "But I wouldn't say that it is a team that underachieved."

    However, it is a team that's staying home in January, regardless of what happens on Saturday.


    -Coach Marty Schottenheimer said Saturday's run-blocking, and not LaDainian Tomlinson's tender chest, was the reason the star running back gained just 47 yards on 14 carries.

    "We are not giving him enough room, frankly," Schottenheimer said. "We haven't run the ball as efficiently as Marty Schottenheimer would like to run the ball."

    -Looking ahead to next season, the Chargers host the Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Browns, Steelers, Cardinals, Rams and either the Jaguars or Titans. The Chargers, in addition to their AFC West foes, travel to Baltimore, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Seattle and either Miami or Buffalo.

    -The Chargers' unrestricted free agents after Saturday's game are quarterback Drew Brees, wide receiver Reche Caldwell, tight end Justin Peelle, guard Bob Hallen, defensive end DeQuincy Scott, linebackers Ben Leber and Carlos Polk and cornerback Jamar Fletcher. The restricted free agents are offensive linemen Kris Dielman and Courtney Van Buren, wide receiver Kassim Osgood, fullback Andrew Pinnock, defensive end Jacques Cesaire, linebackers Matt Wilhelm and Stephen Cooper and safety Clinton Hart.

    -The Chiefs' 144 rushing yards were the most allowed by the Chargers since Week 15 of the 2003 season when the Steelers gained 181.

    -Safety Bhawoh Jue said there was no reason for the Chargers to be so flat on Saturday. "At this point of the season, where they is so much at stake, there is no excuse," he said.

    -The Chiefs converted 11 of 19 third-down chances, including a 7-of-10 first-half showing.

    -After pestering the Colts' Peyton Manning into four sacks, the Chargers had just two on Saturday.

    "One, they had a really good game plan; we had to make a lot of moves to get to the quarterback," said Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman, the team leader with nine sacks who was held without one Saturday. "And the footing was horrible. We're a team of speed and getting around the edge, and it's hard to do that when you can't get good footing out there.

    "That being said, you have to come out and play the game."

    With good protection, Chiefs quarterback Trent Green completed 19 of 35 passes for 207 yards and two scores.



    -FS Bhawoh Jue (knee) aggravated his injury in Saturday's loss and could have his practice time compromised this week.

    -DB Sammy Davis has lost his nickel spot to Jamar Fletcher.

    -ILB Randall Godfrey is rethinking his preseason decision to retire after the year. His 72 tackles are second on the team.

    -ILB Donnie Edwards had 18 tackles and a sack in Saturday's loss. That's the most tackles in a game by a Charger this year.

    -RB LaDainian Tomlinson hasn't rushed for 87 yards or scored a touchdown in four straight games. He hasn't gone four straight games without a touchdown since the last four games of his rookie season in 2001.


    PASSING OFFENSE: C - Drew Brees was off for most the day, as he overshot some of his receivers - LaDainian Tomlinson over the middle on a sure touchdown - and was short on other efforts. Brees completed 18 of 33 passes for 161 yards, a touchdown and an interception. But down the stretch when the Chargers needed him the most, he was 3-for-11 with a sack in the Chargers' last series. The pass-blocking was decent enough, although many of Brees' passes came when he was on the run.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: C - Tomlinson didn't feel bad regarding his bruised chest. But what bothered him Saturday was the suspect run-blocking and a muddy field that wasn't conducive to a cutback runner. Still, Tomlinson was often met in the backfield and never could get running downhill. He finished with 47 yards on 14 carries. The line, basically, had its doors blown off by the Chiefs.

    PASS DEFENSE: D - The secondary allowed big plays, including sloppy coverage on Samie Parker's 42-yard scoring catch. And the defensive backfield was exposed on Larry Johnson's 28-yard scoring reception when he ran over Jamar Fletcher, Quentin Jammer, Clinton Hart and Drayton Florence. The pass rush didn't give much help with just two sacks; Trent Green was seldom rushed as he went through his reads with time to spare.

    RUSH DEFENSE: F - The Chargers welcomed the challenge of stopping Johnson, who had rushed for at least 100 yards in seven straight games. Make that eight. The Chargers' top-ranked run defense was punched in the mouth by Johnson and his offensive line, which showed why it has three Pro Bowlers. The Chargers were unable to get any penetration on running plays, and by the time the linebackers made tackles, Johnson was 4 or 5 yards down the field.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: D - The return game hasn't done much of late, and that's particularly true on punts. Eric Parker had two efforts for 3 yards. He fumbled away his last one, which was the Chargers' last gasp for a comeback. The coverage unit allowed 44-yard punt return by Dante Hall but kept him to a long of 26 on kickoffs.

    COACHING: F - It's asking a lot to get a team to reach an emotional peak two weeks in a row, and Marty Schottenheimer couldn't do it. After being so hyped to play and beat the Colts the previous week, the Chargers had little left for a do-or-die game in Kansas City. The Chargers showed no spark and seemed to let the adverse conditions get under their skin. The Chargers kept trying to run in the middle of a muddy field instead of shooting for the edges. They did a little more in the second half, but by that time Johnson was wearing down a defense that was horrible on third downs.

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