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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Nov 22, 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
    How good are things going for the Chargers? So good that they are getting help from above.

    "We have the good fortune of the football gods smiling on us," coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

    Schottenheimer wasn't talking about Sunday's convincing win over the Buffalo Bills. While that 48-10 victory brought many joy in Charger Nation, it was the news on Monday that really gave the team a boost.

    All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates was feeling upbeat Monday after leaving Sunday's win over the Bills with a sprained right foot. An MRI on Monday revealed no break, which confirmed the X-rays taken right after the injury on Sunday.

    What it means is Gates won't be sidelined for a considerable length of time.

    "My foot feels a lot better," said Gates, the team's leading receiver with 56 catches, 784 yards and seven touchdowns. "It's just day-by-day; I'm preparing to play this week."

    That might be a tad too optimistic, but maybe not. Gates was moving considerably better than he was Sunday and looked and sounded like someone hell-bent on playing Sunday against the Redskins.

    But he will know more later in the work when the Chargers start preparing for yet another East Coast trip.

    "I really haven't tested my foot at all, it's been in this (walking boot) since the minute it happened," Gates said. "Wednesday will be first real test to see how it feels."

    Gates suffered his first significant injury as a Charger after catching a third-quarter, 21-yard pass from Drew Brees. As Gates saw safety Lawyer Milloy close in from his left side, he tried to outrun trailing linebacker Angelo Crowell. Gates was caught by Crowell, who then fell awkwardly on Gates' right foot after Gates had planted it.

    "Maybe if I was fast enough I could get away from him," Gates said, mocking his lack of speed. "That's my 5.0, 5.4 40 (yard dash)."

    Gates said his foot went numb, then slowly felt better.

    "The feeling came back and I was able to walk away and I was ready to get back in the game," said Gates, who set an NFL mark for tight ends last year with 13 touchdown catches. "As I got to the sidelines, it wasn't as well as I thought it was as I walked off the field. But (the medical staff) felt it was time for me to shut it down."


    -Coach Marty Schottenheimer said returning to Washington, where he coached in 2001, isn't the same as going back to his other coaching outposts. "I wasn't there long enough to have any particular attachment," Schottenheimer said. "It's an important game for us. In that regard, it's significant. But (it's) unlike going back to Kansas City, having been there 10 years, or going back to Cleveland, being there nine years."

    Schottenheimer went 8-8 in his one year with the Redskins, then was fired by owner Dan Snyder.

    -Wide receiver Keenan McCardell wasn't basking in the glow of passing ex-Charger Lance Alworth for 21st on the NFL's all-time receiving list with 10,320 career yards. "My eyes are on the prize," McCardell said. "And that's to win the next six games. Maybe that's something I will (think about) after the season."

    -The Chargers, if nothing else, are the NFL kings of New York. They swept the Giants, the Jets and the Bills this season.

    -The Chargers are smoking hot in the first quarters, where they are outscoring rivals 66-23.

    -San Diego's 38-point victory tied for the fifth-highest margin in team history.



    -LT Roman Oben (foot) will try to practice Wednesday after missing the past two games. Oben is motivated to play as he grew up in the Washington area.

    -OLB Steve Foley (abdominal strain) will try to practice Wednesday after missing Sunday's game.

    -C Nick Hardwick held up well after skipping the past two games with an ankle injury.

    -RG Kris Dielman, whose emergence allowed the Chargers to trade Toniu Fonoti, continues to receive high marks.

    -CB Drayton Florence returned to the starting lineup after being down with an ankle injury. He responded with five tackles and two passes defensed.


    PASSING OFFENSE: A-plus - Drew Brees was sensational, completing all but five of his 33 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns; he 17 of his first 18 passes. And of the five incompletes, one was a drop and two were throwaways. Brees showed poise in viewing his receiving options - and kudos to the line for giving him the time to go through those reads. Four receivers caught touchdown passes and eight receivers caught passes. Very impressive showing.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: B - With Brees on such a roll, the Chargers didn't have to lean much on LaDainian Tomlinson. Still, the running game spit out 141 yards, with Tomlinson getting a game-high 67 rushing yards. The run-blocking was solid; the return of center Nick Hardwick helped.

    PASS DEFENSE: B - Good showing here. The pass rush had six sacks and many more pressures. Shawne Merriman had two sacks - he leads the team with seven - and Shaun Phillips added one. The pass rush is really leaps and bounds better this year, which is helping the secondary. In small steps, the secondary is improving - it was helped by the return of starting CB Drayton Florence. But more than the improved play on the backend, it's the pass rush that is really standing out.

    RUSH DEFENSE: A - The run defense didn't quite get the challenge it thought it would with Willis McGahee. When the Chargers got a big lead, the Bills got away from the run.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: D - The coverage teams continue to stink. If they Chargers didn't have such a good defense, the short fields their rivals are getting would be a killer. The Bills piled up 239 yards on nine kickoffs, including returns of 45 and 42 yards.

    COACHING: A - Marty Schottenheimer threw caution to the wind three times in the first half, and all three times it paid off. Twice he went for it on fourth-and-1 for touchdowns. He declined to sit on a 28-10 lead before half, instead turning Brees loose, and the result was a 35-10 halftime lead. Schottenheimer ditched his conservative ways, and the payoff was a big victory by a wide margin.

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