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Overlooked Osgood still trying to catch on

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/08/01/sports/professional/chargers/22_09_547_31_07.txt" title="North County Times" target="_blank">North County Times </a>

    By: SIMON SAMANO

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/kassim_osgood.jpg" alt="Kassim Osgood" align="right" height="231" width="158" />SAN DIEGO -- If little playing time at wide receiver has been Kassim Osgood's headache, then special teams have served as his remedy.

    That Osgood has caught only two passes in the past two seasons just might be why he's turned himself into one of the NFL's elite special teams players on kickoff and punt coverages.

    "It's like anger management, stress relief," said Osgood, who made his first Pro Bowl last season. "You just go out there and nail somebody, totally forget about not playing offense because you've knocked yourself silly from hitting somebody so hard."

    But as Osgood's fifth year with the Chargers gets underway, the guy who showed what he was made of during his only season at San Diego State (108 receptions, 1,552 yards) still ponders the same old question.

    "That's been the question," Osgood said, "for the last five years: 'Are you going to be involved?'"

    Osgood's answer: "I never know. I just come into camp and make the plays I can make, especially since that's all I can control."

    What's been out of Osgood's control is his inability to gain the confidence of the Chargers' coaching staff. Rather than calling Osgood's number when it felt a need at the position, the Chargers addressed their wide receiver issues with early draft picks two of the past three years: Craig Davis with their first-round pick this year and Vincent Jackson with their second-round selection in 2005.

    If that doesn't say something about Osgood's status among the crop of wide outs, then receivers coach James Lofton's words certainly do.

    "The guy we kind of forget in the conversation is Kassim Osgood," said Lofton, speaking of this year's wide receiving corps.

    They say beggars can't be choosers -- not that Osgood is literally begging -- so he plans to capitalize on whatever opportunities are tossed his way.

    "Basically whatever I can get, you know what I'm saying," Osgood said. "Like that dog that's getting them scraps after you leave the dinner table to get them bones, just got to make the most out of it."

    <strong>Catching up</strong>

    Paul Oliver may have gotten the latest start among the rookies, but the cornerback who was taken in last month's supplemental draft out of Georgia appears to be getting up to speed.

    "He's made a real impression on all of us with his physical skills," Turner said. "He obviously came in here way, way behind everyone else from the standpoint of learning. But he learns fast, and every day I see him get more confidence and a better understanding of what we're doing."

    Added Oliver: "I feel pretty good, you know. It's just a day-to-day process and everything. I'm learning. I'm picking things up as quickly as I can. I'm starting to feel better and better by the day."

    <strong>Return battle</strong>

    Though Turner said on Tuesday there are "a number of guys" who could be the Chargers' punt returner this season, the two favorites right now appear to be third-year running back Darren Sproles and the rookie Davis.

    "I feel pretty high about it," said Sproles, who's currently No. 1 on the depth chart. "They have me running with the (first team), and I've looked pretty good out there."

    Sproles, who suffered a season-ending broken leg last preseason, was the Chargers' kickoff return man during his rookie year in 2005 and registered the third-highest single-season yardage total (1,528) in team history.

    In his only experience as a returner, Davis had 11 punt returns in seven games for LSU last season, including a 77-yard touchdown.

    "I feel comfortable back there, just being an athlete and doing things," Davis said. "I think that's one of the reasons they brought in here, because I have multi-talents."

    <strong>Chargers notes</strong>

    T Shane Olivea practiced for the first time this training camp after missing the first three days with a stomach illness. ... DE Igor Olshansky (groin), WR Eric Parker (toe) and S Miguel Merrick (knee) were all sidelined. ... Former San Diego State LB Kurt Kahui was released.
     

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