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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Sep 24, 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>

    The Chargers are eager to find something that has been difficult to locate: a victory.

    They get another chance Sunday night when facing the undefeated and visiting New York Giants at Qualcomm Stadium.

    What's it going to take for the AFC West's defending champion to prevail? Is it time to raise some voices in the locker room?

    "When you are dealing with grown men, it's hard to scream and yell at them," Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "Sometimes guys get in each other's face, but it's not at a point where you are screaming at guys and pointing guys out."

    Still, the Chargers' patience is growing short. They were confident of building on last year's stunning success by going deep in the playoffs. Instead, they've squandered two opportunities to win, instead of spending time explaining their mistakes.

    "Guys realize that we messed around for two games and dug ourselves in a hole already," Tomlinson said. "And we can't afford to dig ourselves in a deeper hole."

    And Tomlinson, who must go up against the NFL's No. 2-ranked running defense on Sunday, isn't ready to panic over the disappointing start.

    "When you lose, you tend to overreact a little bit," Tomlinson said. "With a couple of different plays, we could be 2-0 and sitting right here and smiling and saying everything is fine. But we're not and we're 0-2 and you have a tendency to overreact."

    One area where the Chargers have more red flags than usual is along the offensive line. The Broncos blew its hinges off in the second half of last week's win, with Tomlinson repeatedly being met in the backfield by a host of defenders.

    And that line is also being exposed in pass protection. With so many blitzes headed their way, the Chargers are reluctant not to keep potential receivers back to help block.

    But coach Marty Schottenheimer said the unit - which could be without left guard Toniu Fonoti (hand) on Sunday - practiced well on Wednesday. He is confident it will get turned around against the Giants.

    If not, maybe then someone will get emotional and raise a voice. Maybe that's what the Chargers need to resurrect their season, one that could be on a slippery slope unless the Chargers turn back the Giants on Sunday night.

    "I think it's too early to panic," Tomlinson said.

    But not if the Chargers stub their toe against the Giants.

    SERIES HISTORY: 9th meeting. The New York Giants lead the series, 5-3, and won the last game when pasting the Chargers at then-Jack Murphy Stadium, 34-16. In that game, Chargers QB Ryan Leaf threw four interceptions. Only three of the eight games have been played in San Diego, but the Giants have won two of the three.


    -Giants QB Eli Manning will get the lion's share of boos, but don't overlook ex-Chargers head coach Kevin Gilbride's return. He was 6-16 during his short stint here as the head coach for 1997 and six games into the '98 season.

    -The Chargers need to sweep its final seven home games, starting Sunday, to match last year's 7-1 mark at Qualcomm Stadium.

    -Sunday is the first of three nationally televised night games the Chargers will play. To get used to playing at night, the team will work out under the Qualcomm lights on Friday night.

    -The game features two of the NFL's best tight ends in the Chargers' Antonio Gates and the Giants' Jeremy Shockey. "Hands down, I would take Gates and I'm not saying that just because he is my teammate." LB Steve Foley said. "But he is a far better blocker and he brings much more to the table."

    -Both Schottenheimer and GM A.J. Smith got their NFL starts with the Giants. Schottenheimer was their linebackers coach (1975-76) and defensive coordinator ('77). Smith was a part-time scout there in '77.

    -Tomlinson said he's glad the easy-going Philip Rivers is his teammate instead of the Giants' Eli Manning: "We're able to joke with Philip a little more with N.C. State and everything. I don't know how Eli would take it with Ole Miss not doing so well."

    -OLB Steve Foley, a former Bengal who seldom says nice words about them, can't believe the Chargers are 0-2 and the Bengals are 2-0. "That's not right," he said.

    -The team will work under the Qualcomm Stadium lights Friday in preparation for Sunday night's game.

    -QB Drew Brees is expecting another big pass rush from the Giants; that's what he's seen in the first two games and the Chargers have yet to prove they can handle it. "They fly around and expect their guys to make plays," Brees said of the Giants. "That's something that we've got to be ready for is the pressure. We have to take care of the football. If we do that and take care of the fundamentals, we feel like we'll do pretty well."

    BY THE NUMBERS: 0 - Receptions by LaDainian Tomlinson after two games. He had a franchise-best 100 catches two years ago.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "The fact that we're playing on Sunday night, there's going to be a lot of excitement. Maybe it makes the fans just a teeny bit louder to yell profanities at Eli."' - QB Drew Brees, on the build-up for Eli Manning's return.


    Keep an eye on the Chargers' offensive line, as it has played poorly the first two games. And it will now likely have a new look Sunday night.

    Left guard Toniu Fonoti underwent hand surgery on Wednesday and is doubtful for the game. That means the team will try to break in Kris Dielman, while trying to keep Brees in one piece with Michael Strahan and crew trying to get at him.

    "It's a hell of an opportunity for me," Dielman said. "I know these guys are counting on me to do my part and it's up to me to be prepared to do it."

    Dielman is a converted tight end who also played defensive tackle at Indiana. He's a third-year pro who has played in 23 games, but never as a starter.


    -RB Darren Sproles was used for the first time in the base offense on Sunday and could see some more looks this week.

    -RB LaDainian Tomlinson said he expects to be in the passing game this week after failing to catch a pass in the first two games.

    -FS Bhawoh Jue is getting more comfortable in the starting role; he had an interception last week.

    -Coach Marty Schottenheimer was upbeat with DE Luis Castillo's play in his first start. Although, he said the rookie still has a lot to learn; he's totaled four tackles.

    -TE Antonio Gates' presence was felt quickly. In his first game of the year he had a game-high six catches for 80 yards in the loss at Denver.

    GAME PLAN: With the offense struggling - especially the line - the Chargers will look to their defense to set the tone of this game. With Manning on the other side, the defense will be more than revved to rattle the youngster. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will send extensive blitz packages at Manning, to confuse him and force him into mistakes. The run defense will like to prove it still has its nasty demeanor from 2004; it hasn't surfaced yet. But there's no better time than Sunday to shut down Tiki Barber. But that won't be easy. Instead, look for the pass rush to lead the defensive effort, which hopes to hold the Giants' down just enough so the offensive can muster enough of a response to win the game.


    The Chargers' pass offense, which has slipped because of problems with the offensive line, vs. the Giants pass coverage, which saw the Saints' Aaron Brooks throw for 375 yards. Drew Brees has to work the ball down field to his wide outs to soften the defense and give Tomlinson and Gates some room. The Giants did pick of three passes Monday night, but it's a secondary that is dealing with consistency problems. Three receivers have already collected over 100 yards against the Giants.

    Chargers kick and punt coverage teams vs. the Giants' return game is worth watching. The Chargers allowed a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in Denver, but were saved when it was called back. The Giants already have two returns for scores, one off a kickoff return by Willie Ponder and a punt return by Chad Morton. Nate Kaeding has been getting good distance on his kickoffs, but Mike Scifres (33.8-yard net) hasn't hit the stride yet which saw him be a Pro Bowl alternate last year.

    Chargers third-down offense vs. Giants' third-down defense. Among the reasons the Chargers let the game slip away in Denver was their failed on their final seven third-down opportunities. Much of that has to do with how poorly they performed on the early downs, but it's still worth nothing that without moving the chains the offense got frustrated and the defense got worn out. The Giants have been pushed around on third downs (16-of-34) and will have to steady that part of their defense if wanting to stay with the Chargers. Don't be surprised if Tomlinson is used more as a receiver than a running back on third downs come Sunday.


    -OLB Shaun Phillips (calf) couldn't complete Thursday's practice. He said he'll be fine for Sunday, but if he is compromised it might mean additional snaps for first-round pick Shawne Merriman.

    -WR Vincent Jackson (calf) will miss his third straight game on Sunday.

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