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No catch to Chambers' game

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Chargers' wide receiver lets his play do the talking

    By Tod Leonard
    Union-Tribune Staff Writer
    9:52 p.m. September 9, 2009

    SAN DIEGO – You can't catch a football with your mouth.

    Time and again over the course of eight NFL seasons, Chris Chambers has proven that.

    Chambers was drafted into the league the same year as Cincinnati's Chad Ochocinco. That would be where the comparison basically ends, other than this one very telling statistic: With 52 receiving touchdowns, Chambers stands one behind Ochocinco and the Colts' Reggie Wayne for the most in the Class of 2001.

    With all the attention Ochocinco (the former Chad Johnson) gets, you'd think he had twice as many scores. Ochocinco runs hard (sometimes) and then he runs his mouth. Chambers has always tried to let his results speak for him.

    “I'm not real vocal. I lead by example,” Chambers said in his usual quiet and measured tones in the locker room after a recent practice. “I talk when I need to talk. I'm not the guy who's going to be screaming at Philip (Rivers) or screaming at the other guys.”

    If ever Chambers, who had been a model teammate since arriving via trade at midseason in 2007, did come close to going the full ocho and cinco, it would have been last season.

    It looked like a career year might be in the works when he caught at least one touchdown in four of the first five games. But due to a severe ankle injury in Week 5 that knocked him out for two games and troubled him for much of the rest of the season, Chambers didn't find the end zone again. His 33 catches and 462 yards receiving were the fewest in his career.

    Meantime, Vincent Jackson was having a breakout year, with 59 catches for seven touchdowns, and though tight end Antonio Gates' production was down, he still led the team with 60 receptions and 10 TDs.

    For once, Chambers let his frustration boil over after a home loss to Atlanta in late November, which would be the team's last defeat until it fell to Pittsburgh in the second round of the playoffs.

    “Some games I come out feeling kind of helpless out there,” Chambers said after making one catch for 2 yards in the loss to the Falcons that dropped the Chargers to 4-8. “I want to contribute a lot more.”

    Inferring that head coach Norv Turner's offensive approach wasn't aggressive enough, he added: “We don't take shots (down the field). ... We just need to sit and reevaluate some of the things we're doing and come up with a better game plan to execute.”

    Coincidence or not, the Chargers' and Chambers' fortunes turned drastically after that. They won five of their next six games, including playoffs, and Chambers caught 15 balls in that stretch. He had four receptions in each of the two postseason games.

    “I got more balls toward the end of the season,” Chambers said. “I think there is a better relationship for me to be able to come to them. I can say, 'Norv, give me the ball. Get me in the game.' And I think we're going to do a better job (this year) of getting guys in the game earlier, so as the game goes on we'll feel more comfortable.
    “If not, then I still need to make the big catch in the third or fourth quarter. I know that I can do that too.”

    While Jackson has become the deep threat and Gates dominates the middle, the 5-foot-11, 216-pound Chambers is the guy working the sidelines, invariably dragging his toes in front of the chalk to come up with the clutch catch on third down. Three of his four catches against the Colts in the wild-card win last January were third-down grabs that went for first downs, and he had back-to-back gains of 15 and 25 yards in the Chargers' fourth-quarter scoring drive in their failed effort to come back against the Steelers in the divisional game.

    “Sometimes I get good coverage because they're focused on Vince and Gates inside,” Chambers said. “That leaves me one-on-one on the side, and I feel like there's no DB who can cover me, no matter what, in the NFL. We realize that and have a couple of bread-and-butter plays that people can't stop.”

    A former track guy, Chambers insists he has lost little of his speed, even though he turned 31 earlier this month. He looks at the other receivers from the 2001 draft, including Ochocinco, Wayne and Steve Smith, and believes he compares favorably. Though he has fewer career yards than any of that trio, the efficiency of his production has been superb. Chambers has scored a touchdown every 9.1 catches – the best ratio in his draft class.

    Beginning the last year of his contract with the Chargers with Monday's game at Oakland, Chambers is motivated to show that 2008 was a frustrating, but fleeting oddity.
    “I keep my body right, I'm not worried about catching the ball,” Chambers said. “I have that natural gift left.”

    And that's as close to bragging as Chambers gets.
    • Like Like x 1

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    Maybe, Chambers is our new Charlie joiner?
  3. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

    Apr 27, 2006
  4. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    He's faster, with the same kind of hands. He could play for just as long, too.

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