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Tough home slate starts Sunday

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.sdboltreport.com" target="_blank">SD Bolt Report</a>

    Everyone is talking about how tough the Chargers road schedule is and justifiably so. But the home game is no picnic in Balboa Park either.

    Everyone loves visiting San Diego, thanks to its great weather, scenic beaches and friendly citizens.

    But the Chargers are eager to change that notion - as far as visiting NFL teams are concerned.

    The Chargers lift the curtain on the season at home on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. It's the first of eight games at Qualcomm Stadium and the Chargers are hoping eight home wins are enough to warrant a return visit to the playoffs.

    The Chargers went 7-1 last year, which was among the reasons it reached the playoffs for the first time sine 1995. And if they want to return, they realize holding serve at home is going to be paramount to those chances.

    Why the importance? Figure that in addition to AFC West foes Kansas City, Oakland and Denver - all daunting to places to play in - there road slate includes both Super Bowl participants, plus the New York Jets and the Redskins.

    So with an away schedule that challenging, it's imperative the Chargers be stout at home.

    "Absolutely," Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees said. "Your goal every year is to win every game at home. And that's the kind of attitude we want to have - the fans know it, the players know it, everybody knows it. When they play in San Diego they are going to have to fight their butts off in order to hang in there."

    The Cowboys get the first chance to upset that scenario. And while the Chargers are slight favorites, they also know they enter the game at less than full strength.

    All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates won't suit up, as he serves the final games of his three-game suspension.

    Rookie outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, the team's top pick, is nursing a sore knee but practiced on Wednesday.

    And a pass defense that finished last year with the No. 31 ranking and has looked shaky in the exhibition season, must face savvy veteran Drew Bledsoe.

    "He knows with a certainty when a play comes in," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "Not only does he know the play, he knows the reason behind the call."

    The reason why the Chargers are so bent in solidifying their home edge is obvious: many stumbles in Southern California will shatter the team's hopes of playing in January and beyond.

    "We've got some tough home games, too," added running back LaDainian Tomlinson of a schedule which includes the Steelers. "But we've got to take care of business at home."

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