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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 14, 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>

    The Chargers' secondary has been struggling and now this: A Sunday date with the pass-happy Oakland Raiders.

    If the Chargers are to return to their winning ways, they must figure a way to stop Raiders tandem of quarterback Kerry Collins and wide receiver Randy Moss.

    So far, the Chargers' pass defense has been the entire team's Achilles' heel. It enters the game giving up an average of 240 yards per game and is ranked 26th.

    But free safety Bhawoh Jue has a different idea. No matter that his coach, Marty Schottenheimer, has said time and again the secondary most play with more consistency.

    "I wouldn't say that the Steelers picked on our secondary," Jue said. "For anybody who thinks that they're can come in and just throw us all over the place, (well) you get into the game and you find out something completely different. We're a solid group back there and we've been playing solid."

    If so, our mistake. But make no mistake that Randy Moss is eyeing the secondary with thoughts of reaching the end zone on numerous occasions. There's also Jerry Porter and Alvis Whitted to contend with.

    "It's going to be a great test for our secondary because they have three great receivers - uh, one great one and two dang good ones," cornerback Quentin Jammer said. "It's going to be a good match up."

    But on the surface, it seems like a bad match up for the Chargers. Then again, if they can stifle Moss and Co., it would give the pass defense a heck of a boost going into the next week when they must tangle with the Eagles combo of Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens.

    "I think the key to shutting (the Raider) guys down is playing honest football," Jue said. "Just continually do what you're supposed to do on every play. The second you break out of that mold and you try to make a play that's not there is when you're going to give up the big

    ball or when you fall asleep."

    The Chargers' defensive backs can't afford to hit the snooze alarm Sunday.

    SERIES HISTORY - 91st meeting, the Oakland Raiders lead the series, 54-34-2. But the Chargers have won the past three games, including their first season sweep last year since 1992. The Raiders have long been picked on by Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, as his record against them is 23-7. And he is a perfect 3-0 when matched up against Raiders head coach Norv Turner.

    NOTES, QUOTES

    The Raiders remain the Chargers' biggest rival, regardless of where the two are in the standings. The rivalry started in the AFL, and grew even more intense when the Raiders played in Los Angeles.

    Yep, Raiders owner Al Davis, as an assistant coach with the Chargers, recruited and helped sign Hall of Fame WR Lance Alworth.

    Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer considered breaking out the boxing gloves in practice this week. No, not to fight, but to put on his defensive backs to prevent them from getting into the habit of grabbing receivers. "I don't think we need the gloves because we haven't been holding ... the penalties haven't been holding penalties they've been illegal contact," CB Quentin Jammer said.

    -Norv Turner and Schottenheimer have this in common: They were both head coaches for the Washington Redskins. In fact, Schottenheimer replaced Turner in 2001. That year, Turner came to the Chargers as their offensive coordinator.

    -Sunday marks the second of three straight weeks in which the Chargers will face a team coming off its bye. Last week it was Pittsburgh, in two weeks it will be Philadelphia.

    -QB Drew Brees is but three interceptions shy of matching last year's total of seven.

    -The Chargers faltered in the red zone in their loss to the Steelers, which was odd. They remain the NFL's top red-zone team, scoring 14 touchdowns in 19 trips.

    -Raiders assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye is the father of Jimmy Raye II, the Chargers' director of college scouting.

    -The Chargers caught somewhat of a break in their short week after their Monday night appearance in that they are but a one hour plane flight from Oakland.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 1 - Number of games LaDainian Tomlinson needs to score a touchdown in to tie Lenny Moore for the NFL mark of collecting a touchdown in 18 straight games.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: ""Sapp still likes to get after you and he likes to talk to you while he's doing it. I know I have somebody to talk to on the field." - RB LaDainian Tomlinson on squaring off against Raiders DT Warren Sapp.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    Right tackle Shane Olivea didn't practice on Wednesday and remains questionable for Sunday's game. Olivea is a tough guy, so in all likelihood he will be out there Sunday to start.

    But will he be around to finish? He must tangle with Bobby Hamilton and that balky ankle could become fatigued. If so, that means Leander Jordan would take Olivea's place and Jordan is a considerable step down from Olivea.

    PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

    - LG Toniu Fonoti is being shopped. He can't play for two more weeks because of a broken hand, and is in the last year of his contract, which makes moving him before Tuesday's deadline difficult.

    - WR Keenan McCardell is hoping to bounce back from his least-productive game of the season: one catch for 5 yards.

    - Despite being suspended for the opener, TE Antonio Gates leads the team in catches (23) and receiving yards (341).

    - LB Donnie Edwards, who had 15 tackles on Monday, is far and away the team's leading tackler. He has 58, with SS Terrence Kiel the next closest at 36.

    - OLB Shawn Merriman continues to improve and will continue to see more playing time. He had his first NFL sack against the Steelers.

    GAME PLAN: The defense knows it is up against it in trying to cover Randy Moss and the rest of the Oakland receivers. So the Chargers and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips are going to do their best to get Kerry Collins uncomfortable and hopefully force him into some bad decisions.

    Collins, though, enters the game without an interception. He said he is making better decisions and not trying to force the ball into small openings as much as he did in the past.

    Look for the Chargers to turn Merriman loose with abandon - he's becoming more comfortable the more he leans about the 3-4 defense.

    But don't overlook Shaun Phillips. He has the burst off the edge which would test RT Rob Gallery. That's hardly an easy mark, but Gallery must contend with the speed of Merriman and Phillips if hoping to keep Collins upright.

    MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

    The interior of the Chargers' offensive line, C Nick Hardwick, LG Kris Dielman and RG Mike Goff, vs. the interior of the Raiders defensive line of Ted Washington and Warren Sapp. The Steelers front had its way with the Chargers last week, and the team can't afford a repeat performance. Dielman's game fell off a tad after two stellar showings in his first two NFL starts and some wonder if he is returning to earth a bit. Washington is difficult to move, but Sapp is moving his feet and mouth again like he did in Tampa Bay. If LaDainian Tomlinson is to find any running room, he must get a strong effort from the big three up front.

    TE Antonio Gates, and the Chargers' short passing game, vs. the Raiders' pass defense, and CB Charles Woodson in particular. It looks like the Raiders could send Woodson toward Gates on third downs; they did so with some success with Tony Gonzalez when playing the Chiefs earlier in the year. Gates can certainly use his body to shield himself from Woodson, but Woodson plays with such confidence that it's unlikely he will back off the challenge. Should be something worth watching.

    INJURY IMPACT:

    - RT Shane Olivea (knee) didn't work and is questionable. He'll play, but if he gets fatigued Leander Jordan would step in.

    - OLB Steve Foley (abdominal) didn't work, but he will play Sunday.

    - RB/KR/PR Darren Sproles (ankle) didn't work and is questionable. He should go on Sunday.

    - CB Drayton Florence (ankle) didn't work and is questionable. He has a noticeable limp and if he can't go, Sammy Davis would replace him.

    - TE Ryan Krause (foot) didn't work; it's doubtful he would be active Sunday even if fit.
     

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