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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Nov 13, 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>

    He's the coach behind a defense that is often lost in the wake of the Chargers' headline-grabbing offense. And while coordinator Wade Phillips' pass defense has room to grow, the run defense is as nasty as ever heading into the bye week.

    The run defense is ranked No. 3 in the NFL. It's as young as it is good with linebackers Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips and defensive ends Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky.

    But will Phillips be around next year to see its continuing progress? He hopes not.

    Phillips isn't shy in discussing his aspiration to return as an NFL head coach.

    He didn't get any nibbles last off-season when two coaches were hired. This off-season, the market for head coaches could be considerably bigger when gauging the various hot seats around the NFL.

    "I've been a successful head coach, and not many guys can say that," said Phillips, who went 47-36 in stints with the Bills, Broncos and Falcons.

    Phillips has an amazing streak he kept alive last year when coming to the Chargers.

    The year's previous team was 4-12 and well out of the playoffs. But last year's squad flipped to 12-4 and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 1995.

    "How many guys can come in and in their first year go to the playoffs?" Phillips asked. "I've done it six times as a head coach and a defensive coordinator. I feel like I've got something to offer."

    Phillips speculates because he was let go in Buffalo, Denver and Atlanta, some believe there's something wrong with his coaching.

    "I think because you get fired, sometimes it carries a stigma that you didn't do good enough and I don't think that was the case," Phillips said. "They don't realize you were in 29-19 (while at Buffalo), which was one of the best records in the NFL.

    "But that is up for someone else to decide. Not me."

    Instead he takes this week's extra times to decipher how the Chargers can keep containing rival rushing offenses to less than 80 yards per game, and how to improve a 30th-ranked pass defense which is allowing 248 yards per outing mostly from the back end. The Chargers are tied for first with the Seahawks with 27 sacks.

    Phillips just hopes others don't sack his chances of again becoming a head coach.


    -The Chargers will work just twice during their bye week (Monday and Wednesday).

    -Much has been made about the Chargers' five road trips to the Eastern Time Zone. Add this to their travel woes: they sat on the tarmac for three hours after beating the Jets on Sunday because of bad weather.

    -Could RB LaDainian Tomlinson be headed again to the history books? He leads the NFL with 15 touchdowns (13 rushing, two receiving), and is on pace for 26 total TDs. The NFL's all-time season TD record is 27, set by Priest Holmes in 2003. Tomlinson is so good, that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said he is cautious about going to the LT well too often. "You can take a guy like that and you can wear him out if you're not careful," Cameron said. "And I take a lot of pride in knowing we have a special guy and we are not going to abuse him. We got to be smart."

    -QB Drew Brees, with 2,099 passing yards, is on pace to collect 3,732. If so, he would join Hall of Fame QB Dan Fouts as the only Chargers to record more than 3,500 passing yards in a season. Fouts did it five times.

    -OLB Shawne Merriman leads the Chargers with five sacks, which projects to 10 for the year. No Charger rookie has led the team in sacks.

    -Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said it's Shawne Merriman and DE Luis Castillo who are among the reasons this defense has considerable upside. "Two weeks ago (they) probably played as good as any two rookies I've had play in one game," Phillips said. "The future bodes well for us."

    -ILB Donnie Edwards is going to forgo arthroscopic knee surgery because he said the knee isn't bothering him. What about his grotesque smashed middle finger? Just part of the job. "I caught it between my helmet and another helmet making a tackle," he said.

    -TE Antonio Gates said he loves it when a linebacker trots over to guard him. "It rings a couple of bells," he said. Gates is on pace for 96 catches, 1,326 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns - despite missing the opener serving a suspension.

    -Chargers are usually hot early. They've outscored rivals 52-20 in the opening 15 minutes.

    -ILB Randall Godfrey was not at practice as he remained with his family after the recent murder of his sister. He is expected to rejoin the team next week.


    The Chargers' secondary figures to be back at full strength after the bye. That means Sammy Davis will return to his nickel role, giving way to Drayton Florence. And Terrence Kiel will return to strong safety with Clinton Hart stepping aside.

    Although Jamar Fletcher has played well enough in spurts that the coaches could decide to go with him at that nickel back instead of Davis. As well, Davis is nursing a sore calf that could give the coaches a longer practice look at Fletcher.


    -OLB Shawne Merriman was back working in practice, two days after having pins inserted in his fractured left wrist. Merriman is expected to play against the Bills on Nov. 20.

    -WR Vincent Jackson could see the field more if Eric Parker starts being slowed by nagging injuries. Jackson has but one catch, but is practicing well.

    -DE Dave Ball, who was cut from the roster on Friday, was brought back to the practice squad. The team once liked his burst, but he has been by-passed by Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips.

    -QB A. J. Feeley will use the bye week to get more in tune with the offense. He said he's pleased with the manner he is picking it up since coming over from Miami last month.

    -ILB Stephen Cooper has been impressive while subbing for Randall Godfrey and could move into a starting role there next year after Godfrey retires.

    INJURY IMPACT: OLB Steve Foley (abdominal) didn't practice Wednesday and is status for next week is unclear. TE Ryan Krause (foot) didn't practice and won't play. C Nick Hardwick (ankle) didn't practice and his status isn't clear. CB Sammy Davis (calf) didn't practice and his status isn't clear. LT Roman Oben (foot) didn't practice and will be evaluated next week. SS Terrence Kiel (ankle) didn't practice but seems like a go for next week. FB Andrew Pinnock (calf/shoulder) didn't practice and his status isn't clear.

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