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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Aug 22, 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>

    Some wonder just why the Chargers painted themselves into a corner with All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates.

    The Chargers accelerated the process of the negotiations by threatening Gates that if he didn't report by Saturday afternoon, the team would place him on the roster exempt list when he did sign. That meant he would miss the season opener against the Cowboys and the final two exhibition games.

    Chargers general manager A. J. Smith said the team needed to start focusing on the Cowboys game and wanted to know which tight ends would be available.

    Well, Gates won't be one of them, although he was to report Sunday night and sign his exclusive rights tender offer for $380,000.

    Smith's strategy which results in Gates missing the opener didn't go over well - privately - with some of the Chargers assistants. Like Chargers fans, they wonder why Smith didn't give himself some flexibility?

    Instead, Smith drew a line in the San Diego sand and gave Gates an ultimatum. And sometimes with ultimatums one has to live with the consequences. For the Chargers, that means not having a key component of their offense against the Cowboys.

    But Smith kept his hard-nosed persona rather than bend his rules for Gates. You can't fault someone for sticking to his guns, but some wonder why Smith shot from the hip when making a move which will sideline Gates.

    There were some rumblings that Gates could appeal the suspension through the players' association. Smith said he was unaware of that option, but if it turned out Gates would be available through that recourse, he would embrace it.

    But an NFL official said he didn't know of any way Gates could avoid the suspension.
    <strong>
    CAMP CALENDAR:</strong>

    Aug. 25: Team breaks camp.

    <strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong>

    Two of the Chargers' top three draft picks didn't play in Sunday's game against the Rams. DE Luis Castillo, the team's second first-rounder, and wide receiver Vincent Jackson, a third-round selection, will be sidelined for the exhibition home opener. Castillo is nursing a sore ankle, while Jackson is out of action because of a sore Achilles' tendon. "I've never missed a game in my life," Castillo said. "People say these preseason games don't matter, but to rookies it's like the Super Bowl. To not be able to go is killing me." Added Jackson: "I want to play but they are more concerned with me getting this done with and getting to 100 percent instead of just driving through it. I want to get out there so bad."

    Rams secondary coach Kurt Schottenheimer was talking about how determined his brother, Marty, remains to reach his first Super Bowl. "He has the motivation to get there," Kurt stressed. "He keeps grinding along. Every (playoff) loss hurts, but he's got that fire that he won't give it up. I certainly can tell you it's as strong as it ever has been and that organization has put together a fine team this year."

    "ESPN Hollywood" is interested in booking LS David Binn as a guest. Binn and actress Pamela Anderson have a relationship. Anderson attended a Chargers practice earlier this summer.

    <strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> I told him when he came off that I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that was a terrific run. The bad news is you're done." - Coach Marty Schottenheimer, on what he told LaDainian Tomlinson after his 55-yard touchdown run against the Rams.

    <strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong>
    <strong>
    BATTLE OF THE WEEK:</strong> Darren Sproles vs. Eric Parker as punt returner. The Chargers love Sproles' nifty moves, but so far he hasn't shown the knack to handle punts cleanly in practice. Schottenheimer has joked he might have someone else catch it, then pitch it to Sproles. More than likely Parker starts the season here, although Sproles did better in the Rams game - one effort did come with a bobble. The Chargers are hopeful Sproles will rally here as they would rather have the undersized Parker concentrate on his receiving contribution and not get beat up by returning punts.

    <strong>OTHER BATTLE FRONTS:</strong> Scott Mruczkowski vs. Isaiah Ross for backup right guard: Mruczkowski was the last offensive lineman the Chargers picked last spring, but he could see the field before the other two. He's been getting good grades for his work and doesn't seem imitated after playing last year at Bowling Green. Ross is falling behind and Mruczkowski continues to shine... Kassim Osgood vs. Vincent Jackson as the backup to Keenan McCardell: Osgood has looked good in practice and is getting the advantage here as Jackson's playing time has been derailed by a balky Achilles tendon. Osgood showed well last year in spurts, and could be ready to take a bigger role in the passing game... OLB Ben Leber vs. Shawne Merriman: Leber was slowed earlier in camp with an ankle injury, but has rallied of late. Merriman is still trying to figure out the 3-4 alignment, and it shows. Right now he is thinking too much instead of reacting and it's slowing him down ever so slightly. What will likely happen is Leber will be used on the running downs and Merriman - as well as second-year pro Shaun Phillips - will see the field on passing downs... Jerry Wilson vs. Bhawoh Jue for starting free safety: No change here in the only real battle for a starting job. Jue has been just OK, and that's not going to be enough to unseat the veteran Wilson from his spot.
    <strong>
    PLAYER OF THE WEEK:</strong> RE Derreck Robinson: One has to go down four spots to find Robinson. But that doesn't mean he hasn't been on the coaches' and scouts' lips with his play in practice. He also showed up well in the game against the Rams, recording three tackles. "I think the more experience I get, the better player I can be." With DeQuincy Scott out another week with a bruised thigh, Robinson, an un-drafted free agent out of Iowa, will get some more looks in his longshot bid to make the team.

    <strong>ROOKIE REPORT:</strong> Top pick Shawne Merriman saw his first game action and had three tackles... DE Luis Castillo didn't play in the second game because of a sprained ankle... WR Vincent Jackson didn't play vs. the Rams with a tender Achilles tendon... Against the Rams, RB/KR Darren Sproles returned three punts for 19 yards, two catches for 23 yards and three carries for 24 yards... OL Wesley Britt, Wes Sims and Scott Mruczkowski contributed in backup roles against the Rams.

    <strong>INJURY REPORT:</strong>

    -DL/LB DeQuincy Scott (thigh) is out for one more week.

    -WR Vincent Jackson (Achilles tendon) is day-to-day.

    -TE Sean Brewer (knee) is still 2-3 days from returning

    -TE Ryan Krause (foot) should return this week.

    -WR Malcom Floyd (calf) should return this week.

    -DT Luis Castillo (ankle) expects to work later in the week.

    -DL Jacques Cesaire (hamstring) will return this week.

    -LB Jonathan Pollard (knee) is out another 3-4 days.

    -RT Shane Olivea (shoulder) is day to day.
     

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