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Oakland Raiders notebook: San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers not afraid to challenge Nnamdi Asomugh

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    By Steve Corkran
    Oakland Tribune
    Posted: 10/09/2010

    Many teams don't hide that their offensive game plan is designed to stay away from Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Recent history suggests the San Diego Chargers aren't subscribers to that logic.
    Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has targeted Asomugha each of the past three games and emerged on the positive side, something few others can claim against the Pro Bowler. They meet again Sunday.
    "Anything that you want to say about a quarterback, you can say about him," Asomugha said of Rivers. "It's all been said about him, and he's a fearless guy."
    It's not uncommon for Asomugha to go multiple games without seeing passes thrown his way. He has learned to expect engagement from Rivers.
    Last season, Rivers caught Asomugha out of position near the goal line and turned it into a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Vincent Jackson in the fourth quarter.
    Rivers fired a 20-yard pass to receiver Chris Chambers on a third-and-10 play from the Chargers 8-yard line on a fourth-quarter drive that helped seal a victory. Two years ago, Rivers completed a 46-yard pass to Jackson on the game's opening drive.
    "There's a great deal of respect there," Rivers said. "At the same time, you have to let plays develop and go through your reads. As a quarterback, you can't completely count out that option."

    Running backs Darren McFadden (hamstring) and Michael Bennett (hamstring), wide receiver Chaz Schilens (knee), left guard Robert Gallery (hamstring), linebacker Thomas Howard (knee) and defensive tackle John Henderson (foot) missed practice Friday and won't play Sunday, Raiders coach Tom Cable said. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain was back at practice for the first time since he left earlier this week because of a death in his family.
    Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski took a physical pounding from Houston Texans strong safety Bernard Pollard last Sunday. The verbal beat-down commenced soon thereafter. "I've told this young man, 'What are you doing? Get yourself on the ground,' " Raiders offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said in regard to Gradkowski's penchant for taking on tacklers. "He's not a running back, he plays quarterback."
    Gradkowski hears the advice and understands the sentiment. However, don't count on it doing much good.
    "I don't know if your heart can ever get in the way of your head because if you're playing hard, good things are going to happen," Gradkowski said.
    The Raiders dropped from a tie for second in team defense at an average of 260.7 yards per game to 11th at 305.8 after they allowed 441 yards to the Texans. The Raiders are third in passing defense but 31st against the run at 162.0. They are last in average yards per carry at 5.3. The Chargers boast the league's top-ranked offense in terms of average yards per game at 450.8.
     

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