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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Charger Update 10/10/09

Source: Yahoo Sports

—The Chargers’ faults on defense are many, according to coach Norv Turner. Often the problem is players trying to do things they can’t.

“Sometimes it comes out of frustration,” Turner said of his 24th-ranked unit. “You’ve got guys that are very competitive and you’ve got guys that are saying, ‘I’m going to make something happen here.’ Instead of hitting the gap on the outside shoulder of the ‘backer, they see the (running) back starting inside and they go in there and vacate a zone area. It’s a matter of the number one thing we say all the time, ‘Do your job. Everyone trust each other and do your job.’ In this situation we had some guys try to do more.”

The Chargers’ run defense is ranked dead last.

QB Philip River is trying to win his fourth straight AFC West title. He takes confidence in knowing how the team rallied from 4-8 last year to claim title No. 3. “We’re a 2-2 team that’s got a lot of fight and a lot of want-to and the right kind of guys to get it back going,” he said. “I think we have to be realistic and honest with ourselves. We know we have areas where we’ve got to improve, but it’s early in the year and we’ve got the right guys to get it going.”

TE Antonio Gates is off to a great start; he knows his team isn’t. But with five of their next seven games against AFC West rivals, Gates knows it’s go-time after the bye. “This is a big stretch of our season,” he said. “We haven’t played as well as we wanted to in some areas, but we’ve got a chance to regroup a little bit, reevaluate what’s going on and try to get on a little roll in these division games.”

The team was pleased RB LaDainian Tomlinson returned Sunday after missing two games with a sprained ankle. Tomlinson rushed for only 15 yards on seven carries and admits he is still finding his feet from the layoff. “Things I was seeing were there but there were certain times where I felt a little rusty, I wasn’t quite right on reads from just not being in there,” he said. “The bye is coming at a good time.”

There’s no doubt the Chargers were not only defeated in Pittsburgh but embarrassed. But Turner isn’t looking back. “It is one football game,” Turner said. “I’m looking forward to doing the things we need to do this week to give us a chance to get back to where we can have great practices next week. We’ve got Denver on Monday night (Oct. 19) at home and I’m looking forward to that.”

— The Chargers are throwing a 50th Anniversary Block Party in downtown San Diego on Nov. 27. The franchise will introduce its 50th anniversary team at the event, which cost $35 per ticket.

Representatives of the proposed NFL stadium to be built in the Los Angeles area said they will contact the Chargers about their interest in the facility next year. The Chargers continue to maintain that their No. 1 focus is finding a replacement for Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego County. Escondido, which is about 25 miles north of San Diego, is currently talking with the Chargers.

By The Numbers: 3—Number of upcoming AFC West foes in three games after the bye.

Quote To Note: “I think we all know we’re capable of doing better.”—Coach Norv Turner on the Chargers’ .500 start.


The Chargers hope this bye week brings with it a chance to rest and get well, especially along the defensive line.

After losing tackle Jamal Williams and end Ryon Bingham to injured reserve, the team then saw ends Travis Johnson and Jacques Cesaire, the starter, struggle with ailments.

Johnson likely will sit out this week to mend his groin and return to active status. Cesaire has been hobbled by a calf injury, although he is playing through it. But a week of rest will also aid Cesaire.

The Chargers could tinker with the secondary during the bye week, maybe getting Antoine Cason on the field more instead of Antonio Cromartie.

But Turner has said there will be no changes on his coaching staff and any other drastic switches during this time off aren’t anticipated.

Player Notes

RB Darren Sproles is almost getting two weeks of rest. The Chargers didn’t use him much in the loss at Pittsburgh (no carries, one reception for 16 yards). He did add 42 return yards but it was a quiet night leading into the bye for Sproles.

FS Kevin Ellison(notes), a rookie, could be getting some more playing time. The Chargers haven’t been thrilled with the play of Clinton Hart and or Steve Gregory.

WR Buster Davis can’t get on the field on what is a make-or-break year for him. The former first-round pick has zero receptions.

QB Billy Volek was coming off one of his best training camps, according to the coaches. He needs to be at the ready in case Philip Rivers takes more hits resulting from two possibilities: the running game not developing and the team consistently playing from behind.

RB Michael Bennett’s roster spot is a bit confusing. He was kept as insurance in case LaDainian Tomlinson got hurt; that happened, and Bennett wasn’t used much. He didn’t have a single carry against the Steelers and has 12 carries for 37 yards.

Injury Impact:

ILB Stephen Cooper (knee) should return to practice after skipping the bye-week workouts.

OLB Antwan Applewhite (hamstring) is expected to play when the Chargers return to action after their bye week.

C Scott Mruczkowski (knee) didn’t practice during the bye week. The Chargers can ill afford to lose Mruczkowski with starter Nick Hardwick (ankle) not expected back until December.

DE Jacques Cesaire (calf) didn’t practice in the bye week due to an ailment that has bothered him since training camp.

DE Travis Johnson (groin) is expected to return when the Chargers resume action following their bye week. He’s part of the regular rotation along the line.