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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/ltshirt.JPG" alt="Raiders Suck" />

    It's Raider Week, which gets the juices flowing like no other week in Charger Nation. And the same could be said for all-everything running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

    In his brief but productive career, Tomlinson has been a thorn in the Raiders' side. And that trend will likely continue when the Raiders visit the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night.

    The Chargers will be trying to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games. The last-place Raiders are limping toward the finish line, losers of three of their past four.

    Tomlinson, who is coming off a three-touchdown, 184-rushing day in the Chargers' win over the Redskins, has made the Raiders his personal punching bag.

    In nine career games against the Raiders, Tomlinson has scored 11 touchdowns and rushed for 1,129 yards, an average of 125.4 a game. His best day as a pro came when facing the Silver and Black, rushing for 243 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 win at Qualcomm Stadium in 2003.

    "I guess it's the game-planning," Tomlinson said of his success over the Raiders. "We usually come up with a good scheme against them to help us be successful and the past few times it has worked for us."

    But Tomlinson tries to downplay the rivalry with the Raiders. The Chargers are bent on running the table over the final five weeks, and if the Raiders are in the path, so be it.

    "I don't know if this week is different, because we like to approach every game as the next game," he said. "But I think it is special for our fans. That is the reason people make such a big deal about it, calling it Raider Week, because it is special for our fans.

    "But for us it's just another game on the schedule."

    The one on last week's schedule saw Tomlinson enjoy one of the better games of his career. But as far as that carrying over to this Sunday, that's simply not the case Tomlinson said.

    "Each week can be different. I never really get pumped up off the game I had before. This game I could have 50 yards, who knows?" he said.

    Against the Raiders? No chance.

    SERIES HISTORY: 92nd meeting. The Raiders hold a 54-35-2 advantage over the San Diego Chargers, but the Chargers are gunning for their fifth straight win the series. The Raiders hold a 1-0 lead in the postseason, and it was a big victory as it came in the 1980 AFC Championship game.

    NOTES, QUOTES

    -The Chargers have won five straight at home.

    -Coach Marty Schottenheimer has much respect for the speed of Raiders WRs Jerry Porter and Randy Moss. "You don't want to get into a foot race with those guys," he said.

    -Just because the Chargers and Raiders have met before this year, that doesn't mean the same things which worked that time will work again. "Sometimes it's like playing an entirely different team," LB Donnie Edwards said.

    Edwards, despite having another solid season, seems to often get overlooked on the national scale. If nothing else, he made the recent cover of the San Diego Home and Garden magazine.

    "I can't get on Sports Illustrated or ESPN The Magazine, but I'm on San Diego Home and Garden," he said.

    -Raider NT Warren Sapp is out, which is discouraging to RB LaDainian Tomlinson. "I will miss Warren," he said. "I enjoy listening to the interesting things he says on the football field."

    The Chargers put ILB Ben Leber (foot) on injured reserve. His place on the roster was taken signed by adding SS Scott McGarrahan to the active roster. McGarrahan is in his eighth NFL season. Last season, he started one game and played in all 16 en route to recording a career high with 29 defensive tackles. McGarrahan led the Titans in special teams tackles in 2003 (24) and tied for the team lead in 2004 (16). His career totals include 83 tackles on defense, three sacks, one interception and 96 tackles on special teams.

    Tomlinson was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for three touchdowns and 184 yards in last year's win over the Redskins.

    Sunday night's game is the 18th time the Chargers and Raiders have squared off in prime time. It's the most the Chargers have faced against any opponent. Over that span, the Raiders own a 12-5 edge, including three straight. But all five of the Chargers' victories have been in San Diego, where Sunday night's game is being played.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 24 - Victories by Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer in 31 games against the Raiders.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "If you're not on the field playing, we get to observe the fights. We get just as excited as the fans." - TE Antonio Gates, on the numerous scuffles in the Qualcomm Stadium stands whenever the Raiders play the Chargers.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    With Ben Leber going on IR with a foot injury, it could mean more playing time for Marques Harris. Harris made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent from Southern Utah State, and hasn't embarrassed himself when getting a chance to play. Leber was a much better run-stuffer than Harris, but the Chargers will give up a little to increase pressure on the quarterback. In limited playing time, Harris has one sack.

    PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

    -TE Antonio Gates suffered no setbacks with his foot injury in Sunday's game and participated in Wednesday's practice.

    -WR Eric Parker will remain the team's punt returner, with Darren Sproles being limited to kickoff returns.

    --K Nate Kaeding will continue kicking off. Coach Marty Schottenheimer tinkered with giving the job to P Mike Scifres, but said he was pleased with Kaeding's work on Sunday.

    -WR Keenan McCardell is one catch shy of becoming the 13th player in NFL history to record 800 career catches.

    -DE Igor Olshansky is coming off his best game of the season in which he had a season-high four tackles.

    GAME PLAN: The Chargers figure to run the ball, which is always a good plan when Tomlinson is in the backfield. But it's also predicated on the Raiders going to mostly a nickel package as their base defense. That puts an extra defensive back on the field and takes away a linebacker. The best way to attack a nickel is pointing a sturdy running back at it. Tomlinson certainly qualifies in that regard.

    MATCHUPS TO WATCH

    Chargers pass protection, which allowed three sacks last week, vs. the Raiders' pass rush, which features the NFL's top sacker in Derrick Burgess. The Chargers had trouble giving Brees enough time to go through is reads against the Redskins, although the blocking improved as the game wore on. That protection must be stout on Sunday, as Burgess has been enjoying a sensational season with 11 sacks. He had his fifth, multiple-sack game of the season last week - he had two-sack showing the last time these two teams met. It will be a big challenge for RT Shane Olivea to keep Burgess in check, although he will need some help from a tight end. The Chargers' best blocking tight end, Justin Peelle, didn't practice Wednesday and his game might be compromised because of a shoulder injury.

    Chargers running game, led by LaDainian Tomlinson, vs. the Raiders' run defense, paced by linebacker Kirk Morrison. Tomlinson, for whatever reason, always has big games against the Raiders. In this season's earlier matchup, he had a receiving, rushing and passing touchdown. Tomlinson got his career-high 243 rushing yards against the Raiders two years ago; his career-high rushing attempts (39) at Oakland three years ago. Morrison, a rookie, has a team-high 76 tackles and will be revved in that he went to San Diego State. But the run defense, which is ranked No. 17, will be missing NT Warren Sapp for the rest of the year. That won't help the Raiders quest of stopping Tomlinson

    Chargers passing game vs. a Raiders pass defense which has but three interceptions. The Chargers figure to give the Raiders all the Tomlinson they would want. But what that does is setup the passing game, and the Raiders secondary is banged-up, missing its best player, Charles Woodson. Eric Parker, a Chargers wide out, has been coming on of late and could be headed for a big day. But only if the Chargers can hold off Burgess and friends on the pass rush.

    INJURY IMPACT: LB Steve Foley (neck) didn't practice. But if he doesn't suffer a setback, he should go on Sunday.

    WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring) missed part of the team portion of Wednesday's practice and is questionable.

    S Terrence Kiel (ankle) was limited in his work Wednesday and is questionable. He should go on Sunday.

    T Roman Oben (foot) did some light work Wednesday and is questionable. But he's still limping. If he can't go, Leander Jordan gets the start.

    TE Justin Peelle (shoulder) didn't practice. He is questionable.

    DE DeQuincy Scott (fibula) didn't practice and is questionable. He looks to be on the low side of questionable.
     

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