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No question Merriman will play tomorrow

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Chris Jenkins
    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Shawne Merriman's eyes grew wide at the mention of the very word.
    “Questionable?” he said. “That's what they list me? No, they didn't.”
    Yes, they did. He and Shaun Phillips both. The two outside linebackers who've combined for nine sacks in the past three games and clearly rekindled a fire in the Chargers defense yesterday got the “questionable” tag in official reports, though Phillips' injured ankle was healed sufficiently that he practiced yesterday. Merriman hasn't practiced since Wednesday because of his foot issue.
    “I'll play, I'll play,” Merriman said. “It's just the tendinitis that's flared up over the last three weeks, on and off, one of those things you have to deal with and work your way through. Not anything severe or anything like that.”
    Definitely out of tomorrow's game are center Nick Hardwick and linebacker Jyles Tucker, each with ankle difficulties, while an ankle problem also kept nose tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo out of drills and on the questionable list. Linebacker Tim Dobbins (knee) is doubtful, but Kevin Burnett is deemed probable for tomorrow.
    “Friday is not a practice where you're really rippin' and roarin',' head coach Norv Tuner said. “I thought Shaun (Phillips) was moving around better. I've got hopes that both (he and Merriman) will be fine, but it'll be Sunday before we know.”
    Sense of loss
    Hours before kickoff, coaches and players meet on the field, catching up with old friends and colleagues and teammates. Tomorrow, then, could be a tough pregame for Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
    An immense void was left in the Philadelphia Eagles and the National Football League by the July 28 death of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who succumbed to melanoma at 68, and Rivera was one of his assistants through some of the Eagles' most successful seasons.
    “You can't see the Eagles uniform and not think of Jim,” Rivera said yesterday. “I've been thinking about him all week. You can't help but think about him. He was an unbelievable person, a really neat guy. He was a great friend beyond being a mentor to so many people.”
    Chargers head coach Norv Turner said he first struck up a relationship with Johnson when the latter coached at Notre Dame and the former at USC in 1977. Turner always was on the offensive side of the ball, Johnson on the other, and they frequently found themselves preparing for the other in the NFL.
    “When you coach against somebody that often, you get to know him pretty well, and Jim was really great,” Turner said. “When I was (head coach) with the Raiders, we played them in 2005 and they kicked a field goal with about nine seconds left to beat us. This doesn't happen very often, but the next morning, he called the office and said, ‘Hey, I know you guys are struggling, but that's as good as anybody's played against us.’ That was really a classy thing to do.
    “He was that kind of a gentleman. Jim's also responsible for a lot of things going on in this league today.”
    Got it covered
    The two scariest Eagles — not including members of their banzai defense, anyway — are playmaking receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. In addition to being one of the NFL's preeminent wide receivers — all four of his touchdowns covered more than 50 yards — Jackson's the third-leading punt-return man with a 15.2 average. That puts him just ahead of the Chargers' Darren Sproles in the rankings.
    Maclin, the rookie sensation with the exceptional speed at wideout, might be taking over kickoff returns with the injury to Ellis Hobbs. The specter of two burners like Jackson and Maclin bringing back the ball might've given the Chargers more pause, given the way their cover units were struggling, but there was considerable improvement last week against the New York Giants.
    For the first time in four games, the Chargers did not give up a long kickoff return Sunday. Players were aggressive, maintained containment, fought through blocks and swarmed to the ball.
    “I think there's some guys on there who because of injuries were asked to play different positions, also guys who'd never played (special teams) before,” Turner said. “We had some very small breakdowns that became big plays against us and we worked hard to clean them up. One guy taking on a block the wrong way can create a big crease. Some young guys have a better understanding of that than they did three games ago.”
    With injuries and young players who fill out the kick coverage units having to play more on offense and defense, the coverage units suffered.
    “It's a matter of guys being healthy, knowing what they're doing,” special teams captain Kassim Osgood said. “When guys are tired, filling in on offense and defense, they come over to special teams and they're gassed. Once you've had a couple weeks getting used to it, how it feels, it fits in a little better.”
    Back home
    In the three regular seasons before 2009, the Chargers were a remarkable 20-4 at home. They enter tomorrow's game with a 2-2 mark at Qualcomm this season.
    “We're a lot different team right now,” Turner said. “The first game against Baltimore was an extremely close game and we were short a lot of guys, coming off that Raiders (opening) game where we'd lost significant players and were scrambling. The Denver game was a close game in the fourth quarter and they had a sack fumble that turned the game around. We have to eliminate those type of plays.”
  2. TheBeast

    TheBeast BoltTalker

    Dec 17, 2007

    We need Lights tomorrow at FULL force.


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