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Rivers still 50-50 for Sunday

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Friday, Dec 14, 2007
    By Casey Pearce, Chargers.com

    Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner joked Friday that he’ll have to go with his eyes rather than his ears to determine whether or not starting quarterback Philip Rivers plays Sunday when the Detroit Lions visit San Diego.

    “I can’t believe what Philip tells me so I’ve got to watch what he does,” Turner said. “He said he feels better. We’ll see how he does tomorrow after doing more.”

    For the second-consecutive day, Rivers took about half the snaps while backup Billy Volek was in the huddle for the rest. Turner saw a little improvement from his starter, who is listed as questionable (50-50) for Sunday’s game.

    “I thought he was better,” Turner said. “I think he went faster today. I don’t think he went full speed yesterday.”

    The Chargers got Volek ready to play in case he’s needed, and Rivers promised that he’d do whatever presented the Bolts with the best opportunity to win.

    “I want to play if I’m right and it’s best for the team,” Rivers said. “I don’t want to play selfishly just trying to play. We’ll do what’s best for the team.”

    Tight end Antonio Gates, a Detroit native, was limited again in Friday’s practice with a sore back. He’s questionable, as is defensive tackle Jamal Williams (ankle). Turner said both would be reevaluated Saturday. Their decision to play could go right down to game time Sunday morning.

    Defensive end Luis Castillo was on the practice field for the first time in about six weeks. He was limited and is doubtful for Sunday but felt it was a positive sign in his recovery from ankle surgery.

    “We keep getting closer,” Castillo said. “That’s encouraging. We’ll just see.”

    Guard Mike Goff (foot) and wide receiver Buster Davis (Achilles) are both probable.

    Turner watched with pleasure Thursday night as the Texans defeated the Denver Broncos to open the door for the Chargers to clinch the AFC West Sunday but said that game has no bearing on how he’ll approach his team’s contest with the Lions.

    “We just need to go play as well as we can and win,” Turner said. “We’re at home. We’ve put together a nice little run. We’ve done some things we weren’t able to do on the road the last two weeks. Now it’s great to be back home with our fans knowing that we can accomplish something really special. Spending a lot of time worrying about that stuff doesn’t matter. We’ve got to go play a game.”

    It’s been a while

    Chargers fullback Lorenzo Neal will not play this Sunday due to a broken fibula suffered last week against Tennessee. That means his streak of consecutive games played will end at 221.

    To put that in perspective, the last time Neal missed a game was in 1993. Andrew Pinnock, a fifth-year veteran who will make his first NFL start Sunday in Neal’s place, was 12 years old and in seventh grade the last time Neal was on the sidelines.

    “Wow,” Pinnock said when relayed the information. “That shows how tough he is. I hate the circumstances, but I’m ready. I’ve been ready.”

    To further drive home the point, Turner was in the process of leading Troy Aikman and the Dallas Cowboys to their second-consecutive Super Bowl title as the club’s offensive coordinator, and Stan Humphries was leading the Chargers to an 8-8 season.

    Stepping up

    If Williams is unable to play Sunday, second-year nose tackle Brandon McKinney will get his first career start. McKinney, who was credited with six tackles last week in roughly one quarter of play, drew praise from his head coach Friday.

    “He’s learned a lot from Jamal,” Turner said. “He’s physical at the point. He’s getting better and better at using his hands. He’s a big, physical guy in there.”

    Special effort

    By the end of last Sunday’s game in Tennessee, linebacker Marques Harris admitted he was a little winded.

    “I’m on all four special teams and I was on the field a lot,” said Harris, who subbed for linebacker Shawne Merriman and will likely play a lot in his place Sunday against the Lions.

    When a team is a little banged up like the Chargers are, that can affect special teams play. Backups who are core special teams players are called into extra duty on the field when a team suffers injuries.

    Turner said that his team has dealt with that issue at different times and feels good about how his players will respond.

    “We’ve been going through that for the last month,” Turner said. “We’ve had some guys who haven’t played a lot, Legedu Naanee and Jyles Tucker are guys that have had to play a lot of special teams over the last month because we’ve had some other injuries. They just need to step up. A guy like Marques needs to continue to do what he does and then continue to have a role on special teams.”

    Hammer time

    One interesting connection between the Chargers and Lions can be found in the broadcast booth. Hank Bauer, a former Bolts player and coach who now serves as the color analyst on the Chargers Radio Network, played running back at Cal Lutheran University in the late 1970’s. He credits a portion of his success to the man who played right tackle and opened holes for him, Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli.

    “I had just an unbelievable amount of respect for how tough Hank was,” Marinelli said. “That game meant everything to him. How he worked, how he played and how he practiced … he lived football.”
     
  2. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

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    I love Rivers and can't wait for him to get better. But if they start Volek I'm not going to be at all surprised if he throws for 350+.
     

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