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Playoff nightmare still haunts Parker

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Thumper, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. Thumper

    Thumper WHS

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    Playoff nightmare still haunts Parker

    Chargers receiver driven to leave demons behind

    By Kevin Acee
    UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

    June 10, 2007

    Eric Parker is known as one of the Chargers' hardest workers.
    An afternoon of paradox for Eric Parker has made him for five long months the object of Chargers fans' indignation, the chief reason they believe their team did not make it past another opening-round playoff game.

    Thing is, Parker does not argue with that.

    “There was no bigger factor,” he said in a firm voice yesterday. “I'm not scared to say that.”

    This proud man who has worked so hard to make himself indispensable to the Chargers, who still works as if his dismissal could be imminent, has recovered.

    But he has not forgotten.

    He will not say he is working harder, since he has long worked so hard his position coach has actually told him to take it easy. But Parker is driven to make sure thoughts of that January night at Qualcomm Stadium are banished.

    “That game is in the past,” he said, “and the good thing about it is that I know I'm never going to feel like that again.”

    He has for the past few seasons been the most reliable receiver on the team, possessed of great hands, precise running and smarts. Yet Parker emerged from the Chargers' 20-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Jan. 14 as the poster boy of a team that played uncharacteristically jittery and saw the promise of a 14-2 season go “poof!”

    Yesterday was Parker's first time talking publicly about the game in which he dropped two apparent first-down passes and muffed a punt. In the hours after that game, Parker sat in a quiet corner of the Chargers' locker room, inconsolable by teammates and unavailable to the media.

    He is a private man who shuns both positive and negative press. His responses always end up referring to hard work. Even yesterday, his answers tended to drift there.

    But after initially attempting to defer talk about the playoff game, Parker opened up in a way that is rare for him.

    “It hurt,” he said. “When you lose because you know you defeated yourself – and I'm talking about me – that's the most terrible feeling you can have. When you feel like you're the goat . . . you feel like you let a lot of people down. That was the embarrassment.”

    While the two balls that clanged off his hands stopped promising drives, it was his dropping a punt and then attempting to pick it up and run from the Chargers' 31-yard line that was particularly egregious. It happened in the third quarter, and after he could not get a handle on the ball and David Thomas recovered it, the Patriots scored a field goal to pull within 14-13.

    “I should have just fallen on it,” Parker said. “I don't know why I did it. I just did it.”

    No one may ever know what happened to Parker and other Chargers that day, other than that the game got away from them at the worst time.

    But Parker's teammates remain staunch about him.

    “Because of (his reliability), that's why I think it hurt him even more,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “But that's why I didn't even think about it. I felt for him. I felt for us all. But I look at what he did the other 17 weeks of the season.”

    Parker, about to enter his sixth season and in the second year of a five-year, $13.225 million contract, dropped just two of the 70 passes thrown his way all of 2006. Just 22 players leaguewide who had that many passes thrown to them dropped that few.

    He was Rivers' favorite third-and-long target, even more so than tight end Antonio Gates. And he caught all nine of the fourth-quarter passes thrown to him.

    “Being big, fast, running and jumping is all great,” Rivers said. “But if you're not dependable it doesn't matter. He's a guy I know I can count on.”

    Unsolicited, Gates said: “Eric is the most underrated receiver in the league, by far.”

    Receivers coach James Lofton tells stories about Parker. When Lofton is at the combine and Senior Bowl each year, receivers coaches on other teams want to talk about Parker.

    Lofton used to wish Parker would put on weight, until he finally realized it wouldn't make Parker any tougher. He was already as tough as they come. It is well-known around the Chargers complex that Parker wouldn't say a word if his arm were about to fall off.

    “He's the first guy I've ever had to tell, 'You don't have to work that hard,' ” Lofton said. “He will work himself to exhaustion in practice.”

    Parker redeemed himself in Lofton's mind with a 21-yard reception against the Patriots two plays before Nate Kaeding's 54-yard field goal attempt that fell short in the final seconds.

    “He still came through toward the end of the game,” Lofton said. “That's being resilient, which is the mark of a great pro. And I think he borders on that.”

    Parker still looks forward to his next chance.

    “It's going to feel really good to go out and play within myself and forget the reputation and be the person you are,” he said. “You don't live up to the reputation.”

    Click here for entire story
     
  2. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    I hope it did hurt, and I hope he will never forget that day. He will get better because of it.
     
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  3. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    I do not blame the Bondsman for not bailing us out. Eric Parker is solid anyway you slice it.

    It is time to put that game in the past in order to nail the future.

    Good read.
     
  4. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Thanks, Trumpy. Too many folks are too quick to think that they know exactly what they'd do in the same situation. Sure - after the fact from their armchairs.

    EP stumbled in a very important game. Sux for him, sux for us fans. He'll be back bailing us out this year like he has the past 3-4. Bet PR won't hesitate to throw it to him on a clutch 3rd & long.

    Here's to EP & the rest of the Bolts hoisting a Lombardi in Feb. :icon_toast:
     
  5. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    When are the "Erica" haters going to chime in. Well, I'm waiting.

    :icon_tease:
     
  6. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    at the very least it was amazing because we are talking about one of the most sure handed and solid receivers on teh Chargers in such a manner. Literally he looked jittery from the get go.
     
  7. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    I'll be damned!! :icon_eek: :yes:

    does that include not calling him "Erica"??
     
  8. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure Rip will give his $.02 as soon as he sees this.

    As far as EP goes just look at my sig. I dig that guy and I know that chiat hurt.
     
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  9. Thunderstruck

    Thunderstruck BoltTalker

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    Say what you will about EP, at least he has owned up to his role in that loss. It would be real easy to try to divert some of the blame by pointing out that he wasn't exactly the only one who screwed the pooch vs. New England, but he doesn't even suggest that.
     
  10. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    I have never called him "Erica". Not once. I respect Eric Parker for what he brings and his work ethic. He has nothing to be ashamed about and needs to realize it is a team effort. He shoulders all the blame which is not healthy if he can not channel it into a positive force.

    Eric Parker is the **** in my book and his last game does not mean dick to me when I know it ripped his *** apart. I am not feeling sorry for him either and quite the contrary. It was only one game vesus a mountain of games where he delivered. Eric did catch that 20+ yard pass at the end of the Patriots game to give Tweety a chance to make that 54 yarder but as the article suggests, nobody remembers that play. I am glad I was reminded of it because it was significant to Eric and his fans.

    Freaking fooled you on this one eh ? :yes:
     
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  11. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    The worst part was reading where ParkerFan88 was getting ready to burn his Parker gear. That pendejo needs some counseling because to bail on his boy that way is hideous.

    Maybe he was just emotional or hormonal ?
     
  12. Alpenbolt

    Alpenbolt BoltTalker

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    EP is a good man. It still just completely boggles my mind though that he was the one who got the heebie jeebies in that game. He really would be the last one I would expect on that team to have such a run of the drops during crunch time. Really hard to fathom.
     
  13. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    People can spin it hot ever they want, but he isnt better than VJ and has already proven he cant be a #1.

    Malcolm Floyd is better than parker and trys just as hard and Davis wasnt drafted to be a #4

    So to me that makes him the #4 by this time next year, and with his big contract (AJs only big mistake), i dont see him sticking around after this season. Much like McCardell last year, he will be to expensive to keep as a #4
     
  14. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    That is why I give him the pass. It was just screwed up luck his "B" game surfaced that day.

    The luck of the draw is what I chaulk it up to .......
     
  15. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    Mines better

    And so it this one
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    Malcolm Floyd is a stud. He can be better than Eric Parker if he can find a way to:

    1. Stay healthy
    2. Run crisp routes

    The knock on Floyd is his route running. He has the hands and speed and awareness to juke the **** out of the defense but your routes have to be dead nuts.
     
  17. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Lofton can work on that. But Parker is still one of the most reliable receivers we have, and has earned our respect (That is if your a true Charger fan) IMO.
     
  18. Thunderstruck

    Thunderstruck BoltTalker

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    Are you tilting at windmills here? Whoever said EP was a #1 receiver? I think you're having trouble separating reality from the ideal. EP is far from an ideal #1. He's better-suited to be a #3 receiver. But he was our #1 receiver for most of last year. Saying he's our #1 and that he's "a true #1" are two completely different things.

    This year our #1 will almost certainly be VJ, who might actually have the upside to be a real #1. Floyd and Parker will duke it out for the #2 spot. Davis will try to learn fast enough to increase his role. Eventually EP could be a #3 or #4 receiver, but the other guys have to prove they can be consistent.

    Look, EP sucked in the playoffs last year...no doubt. We were all pissed at him. But continuing to grudge against the guy just makes it look like you have no concept of what he has done in his previous 5 seasons as a player. It's not his fault we have been so thin at WR that he's been asked to play higher than his ideal role. It's not his fault that Marty continued to use him as a punt-returner year-in and year-out despite the fact that he has a history of nagging injuries and was getting less and less effective in that role. It's not his fault that his coach was too stupid to treat him like a starting receiver, instead doing what almost no other HC is dumb enough to do by having him return punts. The only thing EP has done is whatever the team has asked him to do, even though it hasn't always been in his personal best-interests. Cut the guy some slack. He sucked in the playoffs, but if D-Flo doesn't go brain-dead and draw an UC penalty in the 4th quarter we still win that game. If VJ could get his feet down in the back of the end-zone, or didn't muff a big-gainer...if McCree doesn't fumble...if...if...if...
     
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  19. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    Eric Parker reminds me of a young Charlie Joiner. Both worked their asses off and caught everything thrown in their direction.

    They never pointed fingers either and took it upon themselves to be accountable for their performances.
     
  20. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man New Member

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    What is it with the true Chargers fan **** ?

    Who died an appointed you the guardian of what is deemed worthy as being a TRUE Chargers fan ?

    Well ? :icon_wtf:

    edit: Oh and it is my humble opinion of course to sugar coat the ****....
     
  21. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Who appointed fans here guardian of which person should or should not play for the Chargers? They are now better than AJ at talent evaluation?

    Well? :icon_wtf:
     
  22. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    Parker will never be a good #2 let alone a #1, but that wasnt the point

    The point is, he cant be a #1, he cant be a #2, and at best is a #3, but even there he would have to compete with Floyd/Davis (which ever isnt the #2), but even then, both those guys are more talented and try just as hard

    Thats why i said next year he will be no more than a #4 and at his price, hes too expensive, so he will get cut

    As for that "one bad game grudge", thats BS, ive been on his case for years and never got what people saw in him. Hes been the most overrated player on this team for years. he probably couldnt even make most rosters and would be no more than a #3 on the rest
     
  23. Thunderstruck

    Thunderstruck BoltTalker

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    Well, I dunno man. Gates says EP is the most underrated receiver in the league. Rivers says EP is the most reliable receiver on the team. Lofton says that when he goes to offseason gatheringsl opposing coaches want to talk about EP. No Charger has ever uttered a single disparaging word about Parker. He's been the one guy we've had at the WR position who actually played above his potential when a lot of guys, like Reche Caldwell, were much higher draft picks and let five-times as many balls clang off their hands and were never reliable. When Keenan McCardell was completely disappearing from the roster last year EP was still making plays. He's a guy who physically has no business being in the NFL yet he's carved out a pretty decent career for himself and made some MUCH more gifted receivers look bad in doing so. How can you NOT admire that? How can you NOT give that the benefit of the doubt?

    But some people seem to actually look down on people who don't have the natural gifts and have to survive by just outworking everyone else. Like they're taking away someone else's job who is more talented and therefore more deserving by virtue of that talent.
     
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  24. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

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    Whatever Rip I'm not into your game because it's lame and would be better served on the Union Tribune board.
     
  25. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    Why would anyone bash their own teammate? Especially one that is so well liked like Parker? Did anyone bash Reche? Did anyone bash ben leber? Remember how much teammates loved Jerry Wilson?

    This is a close knit team, no one is going to bash anyone else on the team.

    Also, the piece was about parker, so obviously teammates are going to build him up, especially after what happened in his last game and how he took it, he needed all the encouragement he could get.

    As for why teams talked to Lofton, it probably has something to do with how he took an undersized undrafted WR (who was cut from the expansion texans) and turned him into a decent WR. They probably want to know how he got him to work so hard or how he motivated him so they can do that with their own project WRs

    Im sure people ask the Dolphins staff the same questions about Wes Welker
     
  26. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    Aw whadda they know?? :tdown:
     
  27. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    Nah, the "Erica" thing was never directed at you, but rather one on this and the UT board who holds himself in pretty high esteem.
     
  28. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    Kinda what makes alluv the "Erica" speak kinda chickenshit. :icon_shrug:
     
  29. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    'Bout as lame as the Marty av he had :yes: :tdown:
     

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