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Madden's take on the Chargers: They have to fight through it

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Like everyone else who spends any time around the NFL, John Madden thought the Chargers would be a good team.

    “I thought the Chargers in their division would have a pretty easy go of it,” Madden said by phone from the Bay Area, where he was “visiting” his home for the first time in six weeks.

    “I didn't see Denver getting off to this kind of start and I kind of thought the Raiders were the Raiders and Kansas City was Kansas City,” he added. “The Chargers, you think that they're going to just take what they did last year and improve upon it, and then they start out and now they're struggling.”

    And the biggest reasons for that would be ?

    “Just that the biggest reasons for their success aren't there,” said Madden, who was scheduled to arrive here last night for Sunday's NBC telecast of Chargers-Patriots. “If you look at their offense, it was LaDainian Tomlinson and (Antonio) Gates, and what'd Gates catch, one ball last week?

    “The toughness of their defense and (Shawne) Merriman and putting pressure on and stuff and there's no Merriman. Maybe a lot of guys fed off him. Obviously you know it's not all him, but the defense isn't what they were when they were playing their best. So you take what made 'em a good team and what put 'em in the (conference) championship game a year ago and you look and those same things aren't there this year.”

    The Chargers' woes, not to mention the absence of Patriots superstar Tom Brady, have taken some of the luster off Sunday's rematch of New England's win in January's AFC title game.

    “This was the game that was going to be the game,” Madden said. “They (the Chargers) do have an advantage: They're playing the Patriots without Tom Brady. Although the Patriots are still a good team. I know when Brady got hurt a lot of people thought they were going to slide all the way down the rope to the bottom. Brady's the best quarterback in football, and when they lose him they're going to slide maybe halfway down the rope, maybe a quarter of the way down the rope.

    “But they still have good coaching and they still have good players and they make you fight for everything that you're going to get. So it's not going to be an easy thing for the Chargers. It's not the New England Patriots that we knew last year, but they're still a pretty damn good team and it's going to be a hell of a test for the Chargers.”

    A test the Chargers have little choice but to pass, injuries or no.

    “That's the thing that you have to do to be a good team: You have to fight through it,” Madden said. “They did last year. They strung eight (wins) together and were peaking going into the playoffs, so without jumping ahead you can still say that's a possibility. But they did it last year; this team hasn't done it. This team has to do it.

    “I'm a big believer in emotion and that you get upset and then you go out and do something about it. I think they're kind of at that point, that they have to get upset about the way they're playing and go out and do something about it.”

    This will be the first of three appearances by the Chargers on “Sunday Night Football” – or it could be their only one. The other two – Nov. 23 against Indianapolis and Dec. 21 at Tampa Bay – fall in NBC's flexible scheduling period, meaning the network, in conjunction with the league, could decide to televise a different game.

    The game telecast starts at 5:15 p.m. and also is available at NFL.com and NBCSports.com.


    -- Discussing the Chargers on Showtime's “Inside the NFL,” Cris Collinsworth said there's “no question” Tomlinson is hurt, and he added: “I think to some extent his pride is keeping him on the field, which is ridiculous. He got embarrassed last year in the playoff game. Everyone sort of picked on him because he didn't go out and play because his knee hurt. Now he's out there playing hurt, and I think he's hurting the football team. Right now Darren Sproles is the best running back on the San Diego Chargers. It's up to Norv Turner to make the tough calls on superstar players, get him out of the lineup, get him healthy again and play Darren Sproles.”

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