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Stayin' alive

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.chargers.com/news/headline_detail.cfm?news_key=2484" target="_blank">Chargers.com</a>

    By Casey Pearce

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/mccardell06.jpg" class="left" alt="Keenan McCardell celebrates a TD over the Colts." />What happened at the RCA Dome may have surprised many around the football world, but it didn't shock anyone inside the Chargers' locker room.

    "That's something we believed was going to happen," quarterback Drew Brees said. "We believed we'd go in there (to Indianapolis) and win and keep our playoff hopes alive. Of course, everyone is talking about the streak being broken, but really for us that was just another team in our path, another game we had to win in order to go on and achieve the goals we set at the beginning of the year."

    The Bolts did keep their postseason hopes alive by dealing the Colts their first loss of the season Sunday. But true to the NFL's popular 24-hour rule, they'd already moved past it by the time they addressed the media Monday afternoon.

    "I don't ever look back," Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "You're wasting time. You're being distracted. Intellectually if you believe that and understand that, then you don't let yourself get distracted. It's time to move on."

    While those outside the organization are busy drawing up the different events that would have to take place for the Chargers to earn a playoff invitation, those inside refuse to concentrate on anything but their own performance.
    "Our task is very simple: we have to get ready to go play the Chiefs in a tough venue against the Chiefs," Schottenheimer said. "Our football team has stood up to adversity a lot this season. Our hope is to continue to do the things that we do and do them on a consistent basis will give us an opportunity to be successful at Kansas City. Then at the end of the regular season, we'll find out where we are."

    The Chargers will still require some help in order to play into 2006. It will take a Pittsburgh or Jacksonville loss combined with a pair of Bolts victories to propel San Diego into the postseason. The Chargers are focuses only on the latter.
    "We understand that if we take care of our business against Kansas City and Denver, things will work out somehow, some way," Brees said. "I still feel like we control our own destiny in the fact that if we take care of ourselves and let other teams beat up on each other, things will work out for us."

    Prior to the season, Schottenheimer pointed to the difficult road in front of his team as they prepared for a slate that included five games in the Eastern time zone. The Bolts completed their final trip in that swing and emerged 4-1 on such trips.

    "We realized how tough this schedule was going to be this year," Brees said. "We would have loved to have replicated another 12-4 season, but we understand the position that we're in right now. We started off kind of slow. At one point, this team was 3-4. We were a very good football team, but we were 3-4. The last seven weeks have been must-win situations, and I feel like we've handled that very well. We've got some great character and great leadership on this team. That along with great coaching have pulled us through. We've done just about everything we could up to this point to try to get a playoff spot. Those hopes and dreams are still alive."

    Said fullback Lorenzo Neal, "There is so much parody that any given Sunday, anyone can beat anyone. We just have to take care of ourselves. We need to win out and let the chips fall where they may. Hey, 11-5 is not a bad record. I personally think 11-5 is going to get us in. What we've accomplished as a team is not easy. To play the way we have on the road, it's tough to do. It's not over yet. We're going to keep hammering and see what happens."

    For the Bolts to keep those playoff hopes in tact, they'll have to do so in one of the league's most hostile environments. The Chiefs have not lost a December game at Arrowhead Stadium since 1996.

    "I think it's the fans," said Schottenheimer, who spent a decade as the Chiefs' head coach. "That place is crazy, and it's good crazy if you're Kansas City. I think once again we showed our ability offensively yesterday in a tough environment to play the game and manage the game. Hopefully we can do that again this week."

    The Chargers didn't escape Indianapolis without a few minor bumps and bruises. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson experienced some soreness in his chest but is expected to practice this week. Wide receiver Eric "Bondsman" Parker is another story.

    "He's suffered a sprain of his foot," Schottenheimer said. "As he caught that ball, the guy fell on him and kind of rolled it up. There are no fractures or anything of that nature, but given the position that he plays, it's a little bit difficult to do what he has to do. We'll have to wait and see. We're hopeful."

    If Parker can't go, Schottenheimer will have to find a replacement on punt returns. Darren Sproles, Reche Caldwell and Keenan McCardell are among the candidates.

    Offensive tackle Roman Oben missed his sixth-consecutive game Sunday with a foot injury. There's a chance that he may not make it back on the field this season.

    "He may not be able to go on," Oben said. "We'll have to wait and see here in the next day or so, but I think he's had it examined. At this point, I'm not really optimistic as to his availability to be real honest with you."

    Schottenheimer also took time to praise his cornerbacks Monday. He acknowledged that an impressive team effort from his defense immensely helped the secondary.

    "It's what I've said steadfastly since I came through the doors here a number of years ago," Schottenheimer said. "When you have pressure on the quarterback, your pass coverage is going to improve in a very similar way. I don't care who you are. If you don't put pressure on the quarterback in this league, it's going to be hard and I don't care if you have four Hall of Famers back there."

    The Colts had given up just 12 sacks going into the game, but the Bolts got to Peyton Manning four times Sunday. It part due to the added pressure, Drayton Florence and Quentin Jammer recorded interceptions. Jammer's pick will result in a $1,000 donation to the American Cancer Society.

    Short field frustrating

    Schottenheimer didn't have a lot to be upset about after his team's thrilling win, but he did voice concern over the devastating field position that the Chargers gave up Sunday.

    "They had two short trips to the goal line," Schottenheimer said. "One they got it on the four, one they got it on the 26. They scored 14 points and that changed everything. That's the one issue that continues to trouble me and our football team."

    It's a trend that has become all to common for the Bolts of late.

    "In three of the last four games that we've played, our opponent has started on or inside our 25 yard line seven times. That's guaranteed to get you beat," Schottenheimer said. "You might sneak away with one or two as we have, but we're all kidding ourselves if we think that we can continue to do that and give them a short field like that. It's guaranteed to get you beat. We'd better fix it."

    Aloha

    The NFL will announce the 2005 Pro Bowl rosters this week, and a host of Chargers are expected to be headed to Hawaii. Schottenheimer voiced a strong recommendation for one of his players Monday.

    "I don't know who is and who isn't (being considered), but I'll tell you, if Jamal Williams doesn't go then I've been coaching rugby for the last 30 years."

    Tomlinson, linebacker Donnie Edwards, guard Mike Goff, punter Mike Scifres, tight end Antonio Gates and quarterback Drew Brees are also among those who could be getting invitations to the February 12 event.
     

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