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Monday, October 4, 2010

Chargers dominate Cardinals 41-10

Source: SD Tribune

The Chargers on Sunday beat an inferior team, which as they know twice over, is not always a given.

A 41-10 rout of the Arizona Cardinals, while the Chargers’ biggest margin of victory since the 2008 regular-season finale, was more settling than statement.

“We did what we were supposed to,” safety Eric Weddle.

Coming off a stunning loss at Seattle , their second such defeat in three games, the Chargers evened their record at 2-2 with dominating days from their defense, offensive line and tight end Antonio Gates. And perhaps, most importantly, they turned the ball over just once and had one of their best days in five years covering kickoffs.

Arizona had just 124 net yards, fewest allowed by the Chargers since 2002 and the seventh-fewest yards allowed in franchise history. That was thanks in large part to nine sacks, four of them by Shaun Phillips, who also had an interception and return for a touchdown.

Mike Tolbert had 16 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown, and Ryan Mathews ran nine times for 55 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers’ 180 yards rushing were their most in 10 games and their most since 2007 against an opponent other than the Denver Broncos.

Gates caught seven passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

Moreover, a week after giving the ball away five times and allowing two kickoff returns for touchdowns, the Chargers fumbled once and limited Arizona’s LaRod Stephens-Howling to an average of 17 yards on his seven returns.

“Our defense has been playing solid all year,” guard Kris Dielman said. “Eliminate the turnovers, cover kicks, this is what happens. We can win games and win by big (margins).”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

McNeil signs tender!!!!!!!!!

Source: ESPN

Marcus McNeill has reported to the San Diego Chargers, signing his one-year, $630,000 tender, according to sources.

The veteran left tackle will miss the next three games, then will be eligible to play against the St. Louis Rams in Week 6.

The two sides have the next few weeks to try to work out a long-term deal.

McNeill had been holding out in search of a long-term deal with the team.

Although the Chargers had been in talks to trade fellow holdout Vincent Jackson, it had not entertained offers for McNeill, and San Diego had moved forward without him.

In McNeill's place, second-year player Brandyn Dombrowski has protected quarterback Philip Rivers' blindside as the Chargers have opened the season 1-1.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chargers win 38-13


SAN DIEGO (AP)—As good as Philip Rivers was, the San Diego Chargers’ defense was even better.

Rivers threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns and the Chargers forced six turnovers in beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-13 in their home opener Sunday.

Chargers rookie running back Ryan Mathews hurt his right ankle in the second quarter and didn’t return. He also fumbled for the second straight game, one of San Diego’s three turnovers.

David Garrard was intercepted four times. The six turnovers tied Jacksonville’s team record and led to 17 points for the Chargers.

The Chargers (1-1) bounced back from an embarrassing 21-14 loss at Kansas City on Monday night. The Jaguars (1-1) regressed following an opening win against Denver.

Rivers threw touchdown passes of 9 and 4 yards to tight end Antonio Gates in the first half, then hit Malcom Floyd(notes) on a 54-yarder in the fourth quarter. Mike Tolbert scored on runs of 2 and 1 yards.

Rivers completed 22 of 29 passes, with two interceptions. It was his 16th career 300-yard day.

Antoine Cason had two interceptions for San Diego while Brandon Siler and Kevin Burnett each had one. Cason also forced a fumble by Mike Sims-Walker that Burnett recovered. Antwan Applewhite forced a fumble by Maurice Jones-Drew that Paul Oliver recovered.

Jacksonville got its only touchdown with 37 seconds to play, a 3-yard pass from Garrard to Sims-Walker. Josh Scobee(notes) kicked field goals of 44 and 48 yards. The first was set up by a fumble by Mathews and the second was set up when Mike Scifres’ punt was blocked by Rashad Jennings.

The Chargers had their miscues, too, but at least managed to find the end zone. Rivers moved San Diego 74 yards in six plays on the game’s first drive, with Tolbert scoring on a 2-yard run.

The second quarter included a dizzying exchange of turnovers, plus the blocked punt. Cason’s second pickoff, of a tipped pass, set up Rivers’ 9-yard TD pass to a wide-open Gates for a 14-3 lead.

After Scobee kicked his second field goal, the Chargers moved 87 yards in eight plays, capped by Gates’ 4-yard TD catch.

Oliver’s fumble recovery set up Nate Kaeding’s 41-yard field goal in the third quarter, and Burnett’s interception set up Tolbert’s 1-yard run early in the fourth. Burnett picked off a wobbly pass that was the result of Siler hitting Garrard.

Garrard made way for backup Luke McCown early in the fourth quarter. He came back, though, after McCown was shaken up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chargers fall to the Chiefs??


— At least it isn’t all that surprising anymore when the Chargers find new, shocking ways to flounder in the early part of a season.

They were going to start fast, set the tone early by being physical on defense, running the ball on offense.

For almost the entirety of the first quarter, they seemed on the way to doing all those things, and their defense perhaps ultimately did signal it is on the path to being what it hopes to be.

They spoke afterward of the sloppy field, the positives of fighting at the end and the fact there are 15 games remaining, a reality of which they are adept at taking advantage.

"I don't see this as a slow start," Philip Rivers said. "It's one game out of 16. We can still get off to a fast start. We can still get this thing rolling early."

True, this wasn't so much a slow start as a broken one.

As rain began to fall and lightning flashed all around Arrowhead Stadium, things got muddied.

Whether it was the horrible conditions, a surprising Chiefs team or what has come to be the Chargers’ typical September sloppiness, the end wrought a 21-14 opening-game loss.

"We had our opportunities to win the game," linebacker Stephen Cooper said. "All three phases can't play the way we did today."

Indeed.

It was a complete loss – a long touchdown run allowed by the defense, a fumble setting up another touchdown, and a record punt return for yet another.

With big plays, the Chiefs literally sprinted to a two-touchdown lead at halftime despite the fact they had not converted a third down in six tries.

The score that put the Chiefs up 21-7 was a 94-yard Dexter McCluster punt return for a touchdown – both the longest-ever such return by the Chiefs and longest ever allowed by the Chargers.

Two would-be tacklers slipped at the start, and then McCluster ran untouched to further a Chiefs lead with 1:43 remaining in the first half.

The Chiefs would end up 1-for-11 on third downs, going three-and-out on half their 12 possessions and totaling just 197 yards.

But one play -- a 56-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles -- gave Kansas City more than a quarter of its yards and also tied the game.

On the first Monday Night Football game in Kansas City since 2004 and first anywhere for the Chiefs since 2005, a refurbished Arrowhead stadium made its debut in a raucous manner. What had been a relatively serene place for visitors as the Chiefs struggled to 10 victories in the past three seasons, was loud until a vicious rain and the fact it was 11 p.m. locally at halftime, drove away at least half the announced crowd of 71,297 by halftime.

They missed a Chargers’ comeback that was ultimately a dash to defeat, as Rivers’ final pass sailed untouched through the end zone on fourth down from the six-yard line with 39 seconds to play.

"On the road, with this environment, this weather, you can't make those mistakes," Rivers said. "You're asking for it to be tough, and it was."

It may have been the rain blowing in circles, or maybe it was that Vincent Jackson wasn’t there to catch some of the passes Rivers might have thrown a little better, or a combination of those things, the Chargers’ offense was uncharacteristically horizontal until it had to not be.

A 59-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Legedu Naanee brought the Chargers to within 21-14 with 2:23 to play in the third quarter.

The defense continued to effectively stonewall the Chiefs, who had just nine first downs on the night and just 70 second-half yards.

After stalling on fourth down at the Chiefs’ 32 with 7:09 remaining, the Chargers got another chance with five minutes to go.

The Chargers took over at their 33 with 4:52 to play. Two plays later – after successive 22-yard passes to Buster Davis and Malcom Floyd – they were at the Chiefs’ 23.

Naanee made another catch over the middle on fourth-and-3 from the 16, getting down to the 4.

But an incompletion, two-yard loss by Darren Sproles and two incompletions ended the Chargers’ hopes.

The Chargers took a 7-0 lead with a little less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter, consummating a nine-play, 60-yard drive with Rivers’ three-yard pass to Antonio Gates. That followed by three plays a 34-yard gain by Gates.

Gates was double-teamed much of the night but still finished with five catches for 76 yards. Naanee had five catches for 110 yards. Malcom Floyd caught three for 38.

But while Rivers finished 22-for-39 for 298 yards and a 98.0 passer rating, it was not a cohesive night between he and his receivers. There were a number of passes he was a little off, and some that simply went off his receivers' hands.

He took blame, as did his targets.

"It hits your hands, you have to catch it," Floyd said.

The one real defensive breakdown was costly.

After having gone three-and-out on their first two possessions, the Chiefs’ tied the game three plays after the Chargers went up 7-0 when Charles burst through a gigantic hole and zigzagged 56 yards for a touchdown.

The teams traded three-and-outs for four more drives (two each) before a Ryan Mathews fumble set the Chiefs up for their second touchdown.

The rookie, who finished with 75 yards on 19 carries, made a nice cut, barreled through two tackles but after gaining 15 yards, Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson wrapped one arm around Mathews and with the other dislodged the ball. It bounced once and into the hands of Brandon Flowers, who returned it 23 yards to the 12.

"I've got a lot of stuff to work on," Mathews said. "This game showed me my weakness I need to come back and fix."

The Chiefs scored three plays later on a two-yard pass off a play-action fake that essentially every Chargers defender bit on, as tight end Tony Moeaki was all alone near the back of the end zone.

The Chargers offense continued to stall.

After gaining 106 yards in the first quarter, the Chargers had 21 in the second. After a first quarter in which the Chargers converted four of their five third downs, they were fruitless on four such tries in the second quarter.

After the Chargers' fourth straight three-and-out (not counting the Mathews’ fumble on a first down), McCluster returned the fifth of what eventually be eight punts by Scifres to the end zone.

Opening with the late Monday Night Football game for the third time in five years, the Chargers fell to 2-2 under Turner in openers. Even the victories, however, have featured more rough patches than the Chargers would hope for, and even those wins have been followed by struggles.

The Chargers have started 2-3 each of their previous three seasons under Norv Turner . They return home to play Jacksonville on Sunday with the likelihood Qualcomm Stadium will be as empty as it has in at least seven years. Furthermore, a schedule that was perceived to be easy at its start features three straight opponents who won their season openers.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chargers Make Final Cuts


Source: SD Tribune

The news trickling out of Chargers Park is not earth shattering, but it does represent a diversion from past precedent and what would have been expected a week ago.

Jonathan Crompton, es expected, was released, meaning the Chargers will go with two quarterbacks. If Philip Rivers were to be injured, the team would deal for another QB.

If there is a surprise so far, it is that cornerback Nathan Vasher was released, though that was signaled when the team picked up Fred Bennett off waivers on Tuesday. Vasher would only have been kept had the Chargers decided to go with four corners.

The Chargers also cut rookie running backs Curtis Brinkley and Shawnbrey McNeal, meaning they will go with two tailbacks and two fullbacks as opposed to the five-man backfield corps they have typically employed in recent years.

As expected, receiver Josh Reed was cut. Reed was almost certainly going to be safe had the Chargers not been able to trade for Patrick Crayton. But they figure to go with four receivers, and the acquisition of Crayton on Friday meant Reed was out.

The Chargers also cut rookie receivers Seyi Ajirotutu and Jeremy Williams. One of them, most likely Ajirotutu, will be signed to the practice squad.

The Chargers are looking to keep more players at linebacker (Brandon Lang made the team) and the defensive line (as expected, only Derrick Jones got cut).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Patrick Crayton Traded to Bolts

Source: Yahoo Sports

After months of speculation that Patrick Crayton just wasn’t going to fit into the Dallas Cowboys after they used a first-round draft pick on Dez Bryant, the veteran wide receiver was finally shipped.

Just more than 24 hours before final cuts are due to the league office, the Cowboys dealt Crayton to the San Diego Chargers. Multiple media outlets have reported the Cowboys will receive a seventh-round draft pick in 2011 in return.

Crayton, also a valuable special teams performer, had fallen on the depth chart and wanted out. He’s a solid pickup for the Chargers, who are seeking some depth at the position and may well be bracing themselves for the post-Vincent Jackson era. Of course, maybe that era has already kicked off as the star receiver has been nowhere to be seen.

Could the Cowboys have gotten more for Crayton? Possibly around the draft, but it looked like the team was heading to cutting him and a seventh was probably as good as they could do this weekend.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mathews impressive in debut, Chargers win 25-10

Source: SD Bolt Report

Ryan Mathews said he's been pretty good about keeping the jitters in check as he worked his way through training camp. But the former Fresno State star said being in the NFL smacked him with full force on Saturday when the Chargers prepared to face the Bears.

"Right then it hit me," Mathews said when he entered the stadium. "My nerves kicked in and I took a lap around the field. I then went inside and put my gear on and threw up."

He's not the first to be queasy over the responsibilities which come with being the lead back, as a rookie, on a team with Super Bowl dreams.

"It's humbling and I'm grateful for it," Mathews said.

He didn't little to dispute the Chargers' thinking in moving up the draft board to snag Mathews 12th overall. He rushed nine times for 50 yards and opened some eyes in doing so.

That is once his midsection was at ease -- to a degree.

On a running play in which he follows pulling left guard Kris Dielman, Mathews beat him to the hole.

"He told me to slow down a little bit; that was just the nerves," Mathews said. "I was just trying to out there too fast."

Mathews admitted he didn't get much sleep the night before the game. But he looked fresh against the Bears, in particular on a first-quarter run.

Mathews took the handoff and was met near the line of scrimmage by Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs. It appeared Briggs was set to wrap on Mathews when Briggs was brushed aside by the powerful Mathews. He quickly got into the secondary where he collected 18 yards before being brought down.

"That was impressive," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "And he showed some speed right there."

Mathews is learning quick. Not only is he picking up the nuances of being an NFL back, he is saying all the right things.

When others were gushing about his running, Mathews was pointing toward the big uglies.

"Without those big guys," he said of the offensive line, "I would be in a whole lot of trouble."

But it's clear Mathews knows what he is doing. Once he dialed it down a tad.

"It was all fast at first then it started to slow down a little bit," Mathews said. "But it is going to take some time."

Among the things the Chargers like about Mathews is his work-ethic and lack of ego.

"I got a lot of work to do still," he said. "I got to work on everything."

CAMP CALENDAR: Aug. 20: Walk-through at Marines Corps Air Station Miramar. Aug. 22: Players off. Aug. 23: Final training camp practice.

NOTES, QUOTES

Linebacker Shawne Merriman ended his baffling boycott of training camp when he reported to the team last Friday.

Merriman, who signed his one-year tender for $3.168 million, wasn't staying away for more cash. Instead he stated that he wanted assurances that the Chargers would not trade him and that they would build the defense around him.

He got no such assurances on both fronts and finally decided he wasn't getting much accomplished sitting at home after skipping 21 practices.

"I'm happy to be back with my teammates," Merriman said. "I got a chance to speak with them over the phone, but I'm glad to be back in the building with them.

"It was time for me to come in and get ready. You can't show up before Game 1 or Game 2 and expect to play at a high level. The only way to emulate game speed is to play football."

This is a critical year for Merriman, who was once one of the most disruptive defensive players in the league. He collected 39.5 sacks in his first three years as he was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of those years.

But he only played one game in 2008 after delaying knee surgery. Then last year, slowed by the knee and a foot injury, he had but four sacks.

So with four sacks in two seasons, it's clear Merriman needs to prove himself to get a big contract next season. That contract is unlikely to come from the Chargers.

Merriman has long got under the skin of general manager A.J. Smith. he certainly didn't enhance his reputation in Smith's eyes by not reporting with the other veterans.

"We're happy to have Shawne back," Smith said. "He's an excellent player. We're ready for him to get back to work."

Linebacker Stephen Cooper, the Chargers' top tackler last year, said the moment had arrived for Merriman to slap on the pads.

"It was time for him to come in," Cooper said. "Everybody wants to get paid and everyone wants a big contract, but you can't get one sitting at home. You have to be out there performing and be on film in order to get paid.

"People are always asking whether his knee is healthy and whether he can be as productive as he was in the past. We all know he can do it, but he has to prove it on the field."

Admitted Merriman, "I didn't accomplish anything at all (by not reporting). I always knew that I was wanted here, which was one of the biggest reasons for getting things sorted out. You hate to deal with the whole business part of it, but I'm so glad it's behind me and I can go out and play.

"Everybody's on the trading block. It was more a question of it being talked about so much. This team has bigger fish to fry, and that's playing the Kansas City Chiefs in a month. At no point in time did I want conversation about my future to be above the team, and at some points (last season) it got there. That's what I wanted to stay away from."

--Even with return ace Darren Sproles sitting out the first exhibition game with a bum shoulder, coach Norv Turner was impressed with his special-teams play. "I don't see why we can't be one of the top three or four special teams in the league," he said.

--K Nick Novak was brought into camp to save the wear and tear on K Nate Kaeding's leg. But he is making the most of his chance and could land with another team. Novak hit two of three field goals Saturday, clicking from 48 and 43 yards; his miss was from 41.

--Among those getting the loudest pregame cheers Saturday was rookie RB Ryan Mathews.

"It was an unreal moment," he said. "I didn't think they were going to do that the first time."

--The Chargers' pass rush was potent in the first game. Five Chargers had sacks, led by Antwan Applewhite with two. "It changes the game," said DB Donald Strickland, who had a sack. "It gives the offense the ball more so they can score. It definitely gets in the quarterback's head. He might rush a pass, he may hold onto the ball a little longer. He's trying to get it out faster, so now he's making more mistakes when we're in his face."

--The Chargers welcome the Cowboys in Saturday night then it's off on the road. Not only are the Chargers final two exhibition games at New Orleans and San Francisco, but four of their first six regular-season games are away from Qualcomm Stadium.

--Despite OLB Shawne Merriman being a workout maniac, ILB Stephen Cooper said being in football shape is a different animal. "It'll take him a few weeks to get it back," Cooper said. "Training on your own is a whole lot different than being here. I think the coaching staff will gear towards his strengths and keep him from having to think about certain situations. He's going to be an impact player for us. Missing time this early won't change that."

--The Chargers lone touchdown reception against the Cowboys came courtesy of Legedu Naanee. He is running with the first team with Vincent Jackson out of camp. "I can't say that what we're seeing from him is new," QB Philip Rivers said. "He's been a quality receiver for some time now, and it's clear that he's coming into his own."

--Turner wasn't please the team had 10 penalties agaisnt the Bears, nine coming in the first half. "We're doing some things at the line of scrimmage and trying to get ourselves into the best play situations and we have some work to do," he said.

--The exhibition game was blacked out on local television when it failed to sell out 72 hours before kickoff.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You trust what your eyes see and I've seen him for three months now and he has all the things you need to be an outstanding runner." -- Coach Norv Turner on rookie running back Ryan Mathews.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The big news of camp -- well until Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson return -- is that three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman has signed his tender and is back practicing. Merriman was held out of Saturday's exhibition season opener but could play Saturday when the Cowboys visit.

PLAYER NOTES

--LT Marcus McNeill, who declined to sign his restricted free-agent tender offer, was sent a letter to report by general manager A.J. Smith. His agent, Alvin Keels, confirmed the letter and said it doesn't change his client's stance of not reporting.

--WR Vincent Jackson is in a similar situation as McNeill. He was also sent the letter to report but doesn't plan to.

--With Shawne Merriman returning, it could cut into the reps Larry English was getting; English is having a solid camp.

--With ILB Donald Butler being lost for the season with an injury, it solidifies James Holt's chances of making the team. It helps that Holt has been active in the coaches' eyes as well.

--LB Ali Highsmith was cut to make room for Merriman.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Antonio Garay vs. Cam Thomas vs. Ogemdi Nwagbuo for starting DT.

Garay earned the top spot on the depth chart, but when the game came it was Nwagbuo trotting out wit with the first team. Garay showed well last year when coming aboard and is having a good camp. Thomas, a fifth-round pick, isn't shy about throwing his 6-foot-4, 335-pound (at least) frame around. Nwagbuo was a life-saver last year when Jamal Williams went down in the season-opener. But it seems Garay has wrestled the starting position away. This battle is worth watching the entire camp.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS:

Josh Reed vs. Buster Davis for the No. 3 wide receiver spot.

Reed is the consummate pro, able to run exact routes and rely on his steady hands. Davis is a former first-round pick the Chargers keep talking up -- but he can never stay out of the trainer's room. The Chargers would prefer Davis starts showing something for what they have invested in him, but after one catch Saturday he was again being attended to by the medical staff after a taking a shot to his hip when returning a punt.

Richard Goodman vs. Jeremy Williams for kick return duties.

This spot will end up in the hands of Darren Sproles. But with his slight size and the Chargers trying to save him for the base offense, they might lean on someone else to occasionally field kickoffs. Goodman has had his share of drops in camp at wide receiver, but he ripped off a 51-yard return. And Williams, who is having a sensational camp, contributed a 34-yard return.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: OLB Brandon Lang -- This undrafted rookie out of Troy continues to get noticed with a string of solid plays in practice. But really, it's what you do on game days -- especially for a long shot to make the roster -- where you must shine. Lang got his first big chance Saturday and didn't disappoint by blocking a punt out of the end zone. Lang's chances for making the team improved when Donald Butler, a third-round pick, landed on IR during camp. If making the team, Lang will likely contribute on special teams considering how loaded the Chargers are at his position.

ROOKIE REPORT: RB Ryan Mathews averaged 5.6 yards on nine carries in his NFL debut. ... SS Darrell Stuckey has been slowed with a groin injury; he is still fighting for a starting job. ... DT Cam Thomas continues to push for playing time on running downs. But he applied good pressure on a pass which was picked off by Paul Oliver. ... QB Jonathan Crompton was intercepted in his NFL debut; he's having a mediocre camp.

INJURY REPORT:

--RB Darren Sproles (shoulder) should return this week.

--OLB Larry English (foot) should be a go this week.

--LT Tra Thomas (knee) is still likely another week from returning.

--ILB Brandon Siler (ankle) will return to practice this week.

--SS Darrell Stuckey (groin) should return this week.

--G/C Scott Mruczkowski (ankle) could be down another week.

--T Nick Richmond (knee) is day-to-day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Merriman agrees to tender

Source: ESPN

After missing the first part of training camp in the hopes of landing a lucrative new contract, Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman is planning to report to San Diego's camp this weekend and sign his $3.269 million tender, according to league sources.

According to sources, Merriman misses his teammates and the work too much to stay away any longer. Once he reports, San Diego will be left with two holdouts, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and offensive tackle Marcus McNeill. Jackson and McNeill also want long-term extensions and do not plan to report until they get them.

The Chargers, who finished 13-3 and won the AFC West last season, tendered Merriman, a restricted free agent, at a first and a third-round pick in March.

He is now willing to report to the Chargers to try to resume a career that got off to a tremendous start but has fallen off since. Merriman totaled 39 1/2 sacks from 2005 through 2007, but the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker struggled last year, posting only four sacks after sitting out almost the entire 2008 season because of two torn ligaments in his knee. Merriman has also dealt with off-field problems.

Merriman's then-girlfriend, reality TV personality Tila Tequila, accused Merriman of domestic violence and eventually sued him for damages after the San Diego district attorney dismissed the case. Merriman countersued Tequila, whose real name is Tila Ngyuen, and the two settled out of court in February.

Also, Merriman publicly clashed with Chargers general manager A.J. Smith in the media multiple times last season and was suspended for the first four games of the 2006 season for violating the NFL's steroid and related substances policy. Merriman finished that year with 17 sacks.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chargers Team Report 8/02/10

Source: USA Today

A.J. Smith, the Chargers’ dour and gruff general manager, is done talking about Marcus McNeill, Vincent Jackson and Shawne Merriman. Those three players, who account for a combined six Pro Bowl selections, haven’t signed their contracts.

Smith’s role in these negotiations is a point for discussion. He went the hardball route on McNeill and Jackson, slashing their tender offers by nearly $2.5 million. Smith has dug in his heels, drawn a line in the sand — pick your cliche and Smith will sign off on it.

There were reports there was some movement in talks with McNeill, the massive left tackle whose responsibility is among the biggest on the team: keep $92 million quarterback Philip Rivers in one piece. But Smith shot that speculation down.

Jackson, like McNeill, has said it’s possible he won’t report until the season’s final six weeks. But his situation is even more clouded than McNeill, as he is facing a three-game suspension from the NFL after being convicted for his second driving under the influence charge.

Merriman’s stance, he said, is more about his lack of commitment from the Chargers than the dollar figures on his one-year deal. Merriman complained that he doesn’t feel wanted by the Chargers; that he is tired of constantly being on the trading block; that he wants a defense built around him.

“It was very disappointing to hear Shawne’s demands and desires regarding the Chargers,” Smith told the media. “But it certainly is his right to voice them. We will not guarantee him that he won’t be traded. That is not in the best interest of the organization.”

The Chargers would love, in some ways, for Merriman to be the focal point of the defense. But the truth is the player who wrecked havoc on the NFL and was named to the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons – that Shawne Merriman – hasn’t been seen of late.

In the past two years – the majority of one he missed by delaying knee surgery – Merriman shows but four sacks. Instead of being a disruptive, game-changing force on defense, Merriman has become a complementary player.

“We will not be building a defense around Shawne,” Smith added. “Our hope was that he would become an integral part of our defense. Obviously he has a lot on his mind going into the season. He will have to work that out with his agent.”

The Chargers have much to work out before kicking the season off Sept. 13 in Kansas City. They are minus their top pass-protector, top downfield threat, and top – in Merriman’s mind – pass-rusher.

That’s a lot to compensate for.

Merriman, though, figures to report sooner rather than later. That same can’t be said for McNeill and Jackson.

In the recent past, Chargers training camps have been devoid of news and spirited competitions – a tribute to the success the team has enjoyed of late. But the early buzz for this camp is just as much about the players not here as the ones returning from a 13-3 team – one that capped its season with its third playoff loss in four postseason games.

CAMP CALENDAR: The first practice was Aug. 1. There will be practices in Qualcomm Stadium Aug. 4 and Aug. 7. Camp closes Aug. 23.

NOTES, QUOTES

—Chargers president Dean Spanos was among those relieved that top pick Ryan Mathews is in camp. Mathews has some big cleats to fill in replacing future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson.

“We are excited to have Ryan here and ready to go,” Spanos said. “Aside from his outstanding talents on the field, he’s a class young man and the kind of player we’re proud to add to our team.”

—The nickel role has been one the Chargers have had trouble filling. Just maybe in newcomer Donald Strickland the Chargers finally have their man. The seven-year veteran signed this offseason after playing there with the New York Jets in 2009 and San Francisco, Philadelphia and Indianapolis before that.

“That’s been my role the past four or five years and it’s something I have a knack for,” Strickland said. “You have to be a capable tackler and a coverage guy. It’s a little bit safety and a little bit cornerback, which I believe suits my strengths.”

—QB Philip Rivers annually shows up for training camp with his hair closely cropped. But it seems he went overboard this year. Let’s just say he would fit in as a Marines Corps poster boy for his latest buzz cut. “We cut it at the house and my (daughters) sure got a kick out of it,” Rivers said.

—CB Antoine Cason is comfortable with his early camp role of playing with the first string. “I came in to camp relaxed and ready to work,” Cason said. “I know what I’m capable of doing, which makes me confident when I go out there and play. I feel comfortable out there right now, but I’m still working to get better.”

—OL Brandyn Dombrowski started two games at right guard and seven at right tackle last season. But this season he has been plopped on the left side with tackle Marcus McNeill not in camp. And that is fine with Dombrowski.

“That’s my natural side,” Dombrowski said. “I feel more comfortable and that I can move better on the left, so I don’t think the adjustment will be that big of a deal. I’m going to pour focus into my technique, especially the little things. I’ve learned that poor technique gets you beat on game day. I have to be perfect, or as close to perfect as I can be moving forward.”

—SS Steve Gregory was on the sidelines but he became part of the play when Rivers overshot a receiver. “Hey Steve, head’s up!” Rivers shouted as the ball sailed toward Gregory. He saw the ball at the last moment and made a nice catch.

— Jets CB Antonio Cromartie, a former Charger, had this to say about his new training camp digs; his remark didn’t go unnoticed by the Chargers. “Now this is training table food. Ribs, mustard greens, bake beans, and mac cheese. Man I love it.” Cromartie was fined $2,500 last summer by the Chargers for criticizing the quality of the food they provided during training camp.

—Coach Norv Turner is a bit ticked about the constant talk about the players not at Chargers camp and what that means for the season. “We still get to play with 11 guys,” Turner said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s always about health in this game. The physical ability will still be there for me, because I didn’t play college football and endure all the wear and tear that comes with it. That being said, I believe I’ll play through this contract. But I don’t want to be forced into retirement. I want to go out on my own terms, and no matter what, I’ll make sure that happens.” — TE Antonio Gates on if he’ll still be able to play at age 35, after his current contract extension reaches its end.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Little movement here with the big three: Marcus McNeill, Vincent Jackson and Shawne Merriman. They are restricted free agents and have yet to sign their tender offers.

But the Chargers did get RB Ryan Mathews in the fold thanks to a $25 million deal which includes $15 million in guaranteed money.

PLAYER NOTES

—LT Brandyn Dombrowski has been running with the first team. That development could mean that he’s for now the first-stringer, as well as the team being cautious with wearing out 35-year-old Tra Thomas. Both are getting long looks with Marcus McNeill not reporting.

—CB Antoine Cason is getting the first shot at replacing Antonio Cromartie in the starting lineup. Cason, a former first-round pick, was unable to hold down the nickel role last year. Cromartie was peddled to the Jets in the offseason because of his lack of consistency and physical play.

—DT Ryon Bingham spent last season on injured reserve but has come back and been playing with the first unit. The Chargers are seeking a replacement for three-time Pro Bowler Jamal Williams; he left as a free agent for Denver. Williams played in but one game last year before getting hurt.

—The team released SS Kevin Ellison, a nine-game starter last year, before training camp. It did so because it was impressed with rookie Darrell Stuckey; Stuckey has been running with the first team.

—With Jackson absent, Malcom Floyd has moved into his spot. Floyd has a lanky build similar to Jackson, but not the downfield speed Jackson possesses, which keeps defenses honest.

EXPECTED BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Brandyn Dombrowski vs. Tra Thomas for the starting left tackle spot. Dombrowski’s stock rose significantly last season with the Chargers after the undrafted free agent filled in for Louis Vasquez at right guard and Jeromey Clary at right tackle. But can this unsung player take care of Philip Rivers’ blind side? If not, does Thomas, entering his 13th year, have much left in his tank after contemplating retirement during the offseason? The Chargers season – if Marcus McNeill stays out for a lengthy period – could decide the Chargers’ chances for success this year.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Antoine Cason vs. Donald Strickland vs. Nathan Vasher for starting left cornerback spot. Cason gets the first licks in here, but he is no means a shoe-in to replace Antonio Cromartie. The Chargers were reluctant to hand the job to Cason and they proved it when bringing in Strickland and Vasher, two veterans, as insurance policies.

ROOKIE REPORT: RB Ryan Mathews signed in time for the team’s first workouts in pads after missing the first four sessions. … ILB Donald Butler, a third-round selection, got some early work before the veterans reported; he could be seeing the field mostly on special teams. … SS Darrell Stuckey, a fourth-round selection, is splitting duties on the first unit with Steve Gregory. … DT Cam Thomas is getting a good grasp on the team’s 3-4 alignment.

INJURY REPORT: The Chargers, in a nod to how early it is in camp, haven’t sustained any injuries. All are working and the team has yet to rest anyone.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mathews is officially a Charger!!

Source: SD Tribune

Ryan Mathews' agent came to Chargers Park this morning, and the sides finished up the first-round pick's deal face-to-face.

Mathews received slightly more than $15 million guaranteed in a $26.65 million deal.

Mathews is expected at today's 4 p.m. practice. Though, because he has missed the first four practices, it isn't known how much he will participate in the first full-pads workout.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gates rewarded new contract; 5yrs, $36.175million

Source: NFL News World

San Diego Chargers renewed Pro Bowl tight end, Antonio Gates contract for five-years. The deal between San Diego Chargers worth’s $36.175 million. Antonio Gates became a NFL’s highest-paid tight end with the new deal.

Antonio Gates will receive $20.4 million as guaranteed money and he will continue with San Diego Chargers till 2015. Antonio Gates will earn $7.235 million per season from 2011 to 2015. Antonio Gates is a three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl pick.

The other star players in San Diego Chargers are not satisfied with their deals. So, San Diego Chargers focused more on Antonio Gates, who has several big catches with San Diego Chargers.

Gates is happy about continuing with Chargers as he started his career with Chargers from 2003 and he will continue till 2015 with the same team.

“I’ve been blessed my whole career to be with one team,” Antonio Gates said. “It’s always good to get it out of the way. The goal is to win a championship. We all are human and it becomes a distraction even though you might not want it to be. It’s always great to be able to go ahead and do what you need to do and get it out of the way.”

On Thursday, all the players of San Diego Chargers have to report to the training camp. The San Diego Chargers will start the training camp with full squad from Friday onwards. Antonio Gates has caught 79 balls for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns in the 2009 NFL regular season, which is his career best so far.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chargers sign draft picks Butler and Thomas

Source: Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP)—The San Diego Chargers have agreed to four-year contracts with third-round draft pick Donald Butler and fifth-rounder Cam Thomas.

The only unsigned draft pick heading into training camp is running back Ryan Mathews, the 12th selection overall.

Butler is an inside linebacker from Washington. Thomas is a defensive tackle from North Carolina who could eventually replace Jamal Williams, a 12-year veteran who was released and signed with the division rival Denver Broncos.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chargers Team Report 7-4-2010


Source: USA Today

An eventful offseason for Vincent Jackson has taken another turn.

Jackson, the Chargers' Pro Bowl wide receiver, has been suspended for three games by the NFL for violating its personal-conduct policy. This comes in the wake of Jackson's second conviction for driving under the influence.

Jackson was already in the news, but again for the wrong reasons as far as the team is concerned.

Jackson, along with left tackle Marcus McNeill, declined to sign their restricted free-agent tender offers last month. That move will cost both men some $2.5 million in 2010 compensation.

But Jackson and McNeill have no plans of playing a full season at a reduced wage. Instead, indications are Jackson and McNeill will be absent through the Chargers' first 10 weeks, coming in late just to accrue a season of playing.

The NFL's punishment assures Jackson of missing at least three games; the penalty could be lessened upon appeal.

Chatter has picked up that the Chargers are actively trying to move Jackson. He would seem to be a valuable piece in which the Chargers could possibly receive what the Broncos did — two second-round picks — when trading Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins.

But Jackson, too, comes with baggage.

Not only could be potentially miss nearly a quarter of the season with his suspension, but he is in the market for a rich long-term deal.

His production shows he deserves one. But his decision-making off-the-field might have some to wonder if he is worth the risk to obtain.

Plus, can Jackson be the same receiver without top-notch quarterback Philip Rivers heaving passes his way?

Fans who know their Chargers' history can't help but be reminded of John Jefferson. He wore No. 83, like Jackson, but was got caught in a contract dispute with the club during the Air Coryell days.

Jefferson was a key part of that aerial assault, then was traded to the Packers and never reached the same production level.

Depending on the team, that same fate could follow Jackson.

But there is no doubt he is talented and motivated. He's never been accused of not working hard.

A possible Jackson trade has drawn interest, it's believed, from the Redskins and Seahawks.

And if the offer is right, hard-nosed general manager A. J. Smith wouldn't hesitate to peddle Jackson.

But now with a suspension to add to his in-limbo status, trade talks could be compromised.

—Are the Chargers headed for a drug scandal?

The team's offices, along with those of the San Diego Padres, were raided by the Drug Enforcement Agency last week.

Some concluded the DEA's focus on the Chargers comes after former safety Kevin Ellison was arrested for possession of 100 Vicodin pills. At the time, Ellison, who started nine games last year for the Chargers, was a member of the team. He has since been released and signed by the Seahawks.

Ellison's agent, Jerome Stanley, said there is no connection between the two incidents.

"Kevin has nothing to do with that," Stanley said. "Whatever happened (Tuesday) is between the Chargers and the DEA."

The Chargers issued a statement after the raid that said Ellison didn't get his pills from their medical staff.

Stanley said that was a cheap shot.

"Now they're trying to make him somewhat responsible for their issue," Stanley said. "It's not our issues at all. It never was."

According to the DEA's statement, the searches were conducted "to verify the correctness of controlled substance inventories, records and reports."

Ellison became expendable after the Chargers drafted Darrell Stuckey, and were impressed with Stuckey's play in the offseason drills.

NOTES, QUOTES

—Rookie RB Ryan Mathews has found a mentor and role model in former Chargers FB Lorenzo Neal. Not only do both share of love for the Chargers, they were stars at Fresno State.

"He's become a mentor in a lot of ways, someone to rely on regarding football or the life that surrounds it," said Mathews, the Chargers' top pick. "I think he respects me, my ability and how I work."

Mathews, and the rest of the Chargers' rookies, will report to camp on July 25.

—The Chargers' first full-squad training camp workout will be July 30.

—QB Philip Rivers is having his inaugural football camp, July 10-11, at UC San Diego. It is open to players ages 7-14.

—ILB Donald Butler absorbed plenty of lessons at the NFL's recent rookie symposium.

"We get some of the veteran guys out here to talk to us, different doctors and people who really care about our well-being and want us to understand that this isn't going to last forever and hopefully give us some information that's going to better us after we play," Butler said. "As a rookie you can't help but like that. It gets a little tedious, but you take it all in and take pointers that you can use to better yourself."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Ryan succeeded at every level; it hasn't been determined if he can make it in the NFL. But I believe he can be great at the professional level, I really do." — Former Chargers Pro Bowl FB Lorenzo Neal on the potential of Ryan Mathews, the Chargers' heralded rookie running back.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Chargers, facing the possibility of Marcus McNeill not being with them for the regular-season opener — unless an unexpected reduction or elimination of Vincent Jackson's three-game suspension, he's assured of missing that game even before a potential holdout is considered — are fast-forwarding the learning curve of two possible replacements.

Veteran left tackle Tra Thomas was signed as a possible fill-in for McNeill. Thomas is a three-time Pro Bowler, but he's not close to that level as a 35-year-old.

Josh Reed was also obtained, but he's not the same dynamic pass-catcher as Jackson. Reed is more of a possession, underneath route runner while Jackson is a down field threat with his speed and great leaping ability.

Both positions, are how fast those possible voids can be filled, consumes the Chargers as they head for training camp.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

—*OLB Marques Harris (not tendered as RFA).

—C Dennis Norman (not tendered as UFA.

—*LB Dontarrious Thomas (not tendered as RFA).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)

—*WR Vincent Jackson (tendered at $3.268M with first- and third-round picks as compensation).

—*LT Marcus McNeill (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation).

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED

—S Darrell Stuckey (4/110): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

—QB Jonathan Crompton (5/168): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

—TE Dedrick Epps (7/235): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

—OLB Antwan Applewhite: ERFA; $470,000/1 yr.

—DT Alfonso Boone: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

—OT Jeromey Clary: RFA; (tendered at $1.684M with second-round pick as compensation); $1.684M/1 yr.

—*WR Malcom Floyd: RFA; (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation); $3.168M/1 yr.

—*DT Antonio Garay: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.

—*DE Travis Johnson: RFA; (tendered at $1.226M with first-round pick as compensation); $1.226M/1 yr.

—*OLB Shawne Merriman: RFA (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation): $3.168M/1 yr.

—*RB Darren Sproles: RFA; (tendered at $7.283M with first- and third-round picks as compensation); $7.283M/1 yr.

—FB Mike Tolbert: ERFA; $470,000/1 yr.

—TE Kris Wilson: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

—RB Marcus Mason (waivers Redskins).

—TE Randy McMichael: Not tendered as UFA by Rams; 1 yr, terms unknown.

—WR Josh Reed: Not tendered as UFA by Bills; terms unknown.

—CB Donald Strickland: FA Jets; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

—OT Tra Thomas: FA Jaguars; 1 yr, terms unknown.

—CB Nate Vasher: FA Bears; $4.5M/2 yrs.

PLAYERS LOST

—RB Michael Bennett (released).

—WR Demetrius Byrd (released/non-football injury).

—CB Antonio Cromartie (traded Jets).

—*ILB Tim Dobbins (traded Dolphins), had been re-signed as RFA; (tendered at $1.176M with fifth-round pick as compensation); $1.176M/1 yr.

—S Kevin Ellison (released).

—*C Eric Ghiaciuc: Not tendered as RFA/Browns; terms unknown.

—TE Brandon Manumaleuna: UFA Bears; $15M/5 yrs, $$2M SB/$3M RB.

—WR Kassim Osgood: UFA Jaguars; $6.675M/3 yrs, $2.975M guaranteed.

—OT Jon Runyan: UFA (retired).

—DT Ian Scott (released).

—RB LaDainian Tomlinson (released).

—*QB Charlie Whitehurst: RFA; (tendered at $1.176M with third-round pick as compensation); re-signed, traded to Seahawks.

—NT Jamal Williams (released).

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chargers 2010 Draft Review

Source: Chargers.com

The San Diego Chargers opened the 2010 NFL Draft with a blockbuster trade, moving up 16 spots to select Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews with the 12th pick of the first round.

The San Diego Chargers opened the 2010 NFL Draft with a blockbuster trade, moving up 16 spots to select Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews with the 12th pick of the first round. A 1,808-yard rusher with 19 touchdowns as a junior for the Bulldogs, the 6-0, 218-pound Mathews became the first running back selected by the Chargers in the first round since 2001. The Chargers traded with Miami to move up to the 12th spot to select Mathews and also received the Dolphins’ fourth-round pick (No. 110) and their sixth-round pick (No. 173). Miami received the Chargers’ first (No. 28), second (No. 40) and fourth-round (No. 126) picks, as well as inside linebacker Tim Dobbins.

Without a pick in the second round because of the Mathews trade, General Manager A.J. Smith made another move in the third, trading with San Francisco to move up 12 spots to select inside linebacker Donald Butler from the University of Washington at No. 79 overall. A two-year starter for the resurgent Huskies, the 6-1, 245-pound Butler racked up 238 tackles during his UW career, including 28 tackles for loss and four sacks. In the trade, the 49ers received the Chargers’ third-round pick in this year’s draft (No. 91), the sixth-round pick that was acquired from Miami in the Mathews trade (No. 173), and the Chargers’ fourth-round pick in 2011.

To open the third and final day of the draft, the Chargers selected strong safety Darrell Stuckey of Kansas with the 110th overall pick in the fourth round. The 5-11, 205-pounder played both safety spots for the Jayhawks but the Chargers envision him as a strong safety. He is comfortable playing down in the box as evidenced by his 295 career tackles, including 11 behind the line of scrimmage. Stuckey was a two-time first-team All-Big 12 choice at KU.

There was more trade movement for the Chargers in the fifth-round as Smith swapped picks with Philadelphia, moving up 13 spots to select massive defensive tackle Cam Thomas from North Carolina at pick No. 146. The 6-4, 330-pound Thomas anchored the ACC’s top-ranked and the NCAA’s 10th-ranked run defense in 2010. In exchange for the 146th pick, the Eagles received the Chargers fifth-rounder (No. 159) and the Bolts’ fifth in 2011.

The Chargers were awarded a compensatory pick by the NFL in the fifth round and used that pick to select quarterback Jonathan Crompton, a 6-3, 222-pounder from the University of Tennessee. As a senior in 2009, Crompton passed for 2,800 yards, 27 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions for the Volunteers. The Chargers needed a third quarterback to replace Charlie Whitehurst, who was traded to Seattle on March 18.

With their sixth and final pick in the weekend’s NFL Draft, the Chargers selected tight end Dedrick (DEE-drick) Epps from the University of Miami in the seventh round (235th overall). A two-year starter and a four-year contributor, Epps lined up at tight end, H-back and fullback for the ’Canes and finished his career with 49 catches, 634 yards and six touchdowns.

Chargers move up in 3rd round to take Butler

SAN DIEGO—The San Diego Chargers have traded up in the third round of the NFL draft to take Washington inside linebacker Donald Butler with the 79th pick overall.

The pick is somewhat surprising, considering that the Chargers had a bigger need for a defensive tackle.

Butler was a two-year starter for the Huskies. He’s likely the replacement for Tim Dobbins, who was sent to Miami on Thursday as part of the deal that allowed the Chargers to move up 16 spots in the first round to take Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews with the 12th overall pick.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ahh yeaah! Say hello to the fututre...

Source: SD Tribune

The Chargers got the running back they wanted, and Ryan Mathews got the team he wanted.

“It’s really unbelievable,” Mathews, seemingly still in shock, said shortly after the Chargers made him the 12th pick in Thursday night’s NFL draft. “It’s a dream come true.”

Mathews followed the Chargers and wore No. 21 at West High School in Bakersfield and Fresno State in honor of LaDainian Tomlinson, the man he will replace in the Chargers backfield.

“He’s my favorite running back,” Mathews said. “It’s hard. You can’t fill shoes like that. … There is a lot of pressure, especially after LT … I have to go in with my own mindset and play ball. I think I play good under pressure.”

To get Mathews, the Chargers paid a steep price to move up 16 spots in the first round.

They sent their first-round pick (No. 28), second-round pick (40), fourth-round pick (126) and linebacker Tim Dobbins to the Miami Dolphins and in addition to the 12th pick acquired the Dolphins’ fourth-round pick (110) and a sixth-round choice (173).

“We can say anything we want,” Chargers head coach Norv Turner said. “When you see this guy play, you’re going to understand why we made the deal we did.”

Mathews, who is 5-foot-111/2 and 218 pounds, led the nation as a junior last season with an average of 157.5 yards per game and averaged 6.55 yards per carry. He was slowed by various injuries, missing eight games over three seasons. A concussion sidelined him for one game last year.

He declared early for the draft and was immediately identified as the second-best back available. But the Chargers had him and Clemson’s C.J. Spiller rated well above the rest of the running back class.

In seeking to move up, the Chargers began with the Dolphins, who wanted a second-round pick after trading theirs to Denver as part of the Brandon Marshall deal. Over the course of the past few days, the sides hammered out the rest of the deal. It was the 40th pick, which the Chargers acquired as part of a deal with Seattle last month for quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, that was key.

As it turned out, the Chargers likely had to make the move in order to get Mathews.

Spiller was selected ninth, by the Buffalo Bills. That meant he would not be available to the Seahawks, who had reportedly coveted him, at No. 14.

“We could either wait for the player, or a player we really wanted we could go get,” said Jimmy Raye, the Chargers’ director of player personnel. “And instead of waiting to see if he was going to go to someone else before we picked, we decided to put a package together and see if Miami would take it. They did, and we went up and got the player instead of sitting there thinking, ‘Gosh, is a player going to fall all the way to us?’ and then not get the player that we coveted.”

The Houston Texans, who picked 20th, had long been reported to be interested in Mathews as well.

“There was some talk about Houston, and it started to scare me,” Mathews said. “I’m lucky and blessed (the Chargers) traded up, and I’m super excited.”

The Chargers had identified running back as their No. 1 priority, but it was thought they could wait until the second round or later, or that they might make a trade for a veteran as they attempt to move on from the mostly spectacular nine-year LT era.

Instead, they went and got a player Raye and Turner last night made the bold step of comparing in various ways to Tomlinson.

“They have some similarities,” Raye said.

Turner was here as offensive coordinator in 2001 when the Chargers traded down four spots in the first round and drafted Tomlinson with the fifth overall pick.

“I know how excited I was that day,” Turner said. “And I’m very excited to get Ryan … I think he’s extremely special. I think he’s a complete back — physical, fast, he’s got great feet, great vision. He is complete in terms of catching the football.

“And I’m thrilled to get him here, I know our offensive line is going to be thrilled to get him here. I think Ryan is going to be excited when he gets around our guys. He knows we’re a good football team, he knows we’re a very good offensive football team, and I think when he sees our offensive line, he’ll know that we’re outstanding in the offensive line and that he’s going to have the opportunity to do some special things here.”

While he has moved up to take players he targeted in later rounds — Eric Weddle in the second round in 2007 and Jacob Hester in the third round in 2008 — it was the first time in his eight drafts as general manager that A.J. Smith moved up in the first round.

Late Thursday, Smith talked about what prompted the move.

“I think the player is special,” Smith said. “I think he’s a championship-level back. He can run, he can catch, he can block. He’s physical. He’s got home run speed. … We’re not just going to twiddle our thumbs and hope that a player of Ryan Mathews’ stature falls to the Chargers.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New 2010-2011 Schedule

http://www.nfl.com/schedules/interactive#/team=SD

Friday, April 16, 2010

2010-11 Charger Girls


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Great turnout of veterans at Chargers Park

By: Scott Yoffe

There was a buzz around Chargers Park on Tuesday morning when 55 veteran players turned out for the official start of the team’s voluntary offseason strength and conditioning program.

Tuesday was the first day that many veterans were on hand as one at Chargers Park. It was a group that included quarterback Philip Rivers, running back Darren Sproles, tight end Antonio Gates, defensive end Luis Castillo and cornerback Quentin Jammer. Coach Norv Turner talked to the team about setting the tone and tempo of the team’s long-term goals for the upcoming season.

“We’ve had a number of guys in here working out on their own for the last month or so to get ready for today,” said a very pleased Turner. “What that says to me is that our guys are hungry and can’t wait to get going.”

While the roster changes as it does every year, the team remains focused and seems to welcome and embrace the changes. The players interviewed are looking forward to the new season and new opportunities ahead. One of the players who exemplified that feeling is Jammer, who is excited to see one of his close friends and former college teammates, cornerback Nathan Vasher, on the team’s 2010 roster.

“There’s a different feel around here and I think it will be good for us to have a fresh start with a fresh group,” said Jammer. “We always talk about change and change is good. I think it’ll be good for us.”

There were a lot of smiling faces on the field, inside the weight room and around the locker room. This is the time of year when teams build camaraderie, before two-a-days and summer’s sweltering heat sets in. Jacob Hester is one of those who embraced being around his teammates for the first time since late January.

“It’s good to get back here and work out with the guys, have a few laughs and get the camaraderie going again,” said Hester. “You get used to seeing them every day for 9 or 10 months and then for two months, you don’t see or hear from them. So it’s good to get back and see everybody.”

Jammer echoed those sentiments.

“It’s always good to get back,” said Jammer. “When people say you become a family, it sounds cliché, but it’s really not. We are a family and you start missing guys the longer you’re away from them. It was good to get back and joke around with the guys.”

Though offseason workouts are completely voluntary for players, it was impressive to see the number of veterans milling around Chargers Park for the unofficial kickoff to the 2010 season. For the first time in three years, Gates can train this offseason without coming off surgery or a major injury. Two years ago it was a toe and last year it was an ankle. But this past season, Gates played right through to the Pro Bowl and his body feels fresh and rested. He too could feel the vibe from his teammates who were all excited about being back on the Chargers’ campus.

“It’s always exciting to come back and be a part of the offseason program,” noted Gates. “Just to come back and see the energy and the number of guys that showed up, it means something to them.”

One particular player for whom this offseason has special meaning is defensive tackle Ryon Bingham. His entire 2009 season was derailed when he fell victim to a triceps injury during a training camp practice. The injury became all the more painful to absorb as he watched a number of his teammates on the defensive line fall victim to a rash of injuries that plagued the line throughout the ’09 season. Bingham says this is the best that he’s felt in a long time.

“The biggest thing is that I’m in shape and my arm feels good enough to come back and play,” said Bingham. “I’ve done this before, having to sit out a season, but to have it happen later in my career was a bummer. Last year would have been a really good opportunity since there was potential for me to play a lot. But God has a plan for everyone, that’s how I look at it, and this year is it. I’m ready to hit the ground running.”

Offseason workouts will continue for the team until late June. Most weeks the players will work out four days a week with Wednesday being the scheduled day for rest and recovery. Current workout sessions are scheduled for 7:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Each session lasts approximately 90 minutes with work split between conditioning on the field and strength in the weight room. Jeff Hurd, Vernon Stephens and former wide receiver Eric Parker run the team’s strength and conditioning program.

Notes

Three of the team’s restricted free agents were not on hand for the first day of voluntary workouts, including tackle

Marcus McNeill and wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd…Rivers is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Padres home opener against the Atlanta Braves next Monday...it will be the second time he’s thrown out the first pitch for one of their games…in 2007, the Padres invited Rivers to throw out the first pitch before a game against San Francisco…Sheila Chudzinski, wife of Tight Ends & Assistant Head Coach Rob Chudzinski, gave birth to a girl named Margaret Ruth on Saturday…it’s the couples’ third child and first daughter…Director of Security Dick Lewis was recently honored during Black History Month at the San Diego Police Museum with a plaque that will permanently hang on the museum’s wall…Lewis worked for the police department for 21 years and is still highly regarded for his work in keeping a lid on racial tension and gang activities during the ’70s and ’80s…Lewis has worked for the Chargers since 1989…one player who is back with the team is running back Curtis Brinkley…he was with the team in 2009, but just before the start of training camp Brinkley was the victim of a shooting incident in his native Philadelphia…he spent the entire 2009 season recovering from his injuries and Brinkley is now healthy and cleared to participate in all team activities.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sproles signs 1-year tender

Source: ESPN.com

Chargers halfback Darren Sproles signed his one-year, $7.2813 million restricted free agent tender Friday, according to a source.

Sproles was the Chargers franchise player last season but the uncapped year prevented him from being a free agent because he didn't have six years of experience. To prevent him from leaving, the Chargers designated him a restricted free agent. Any team that wanted to sign him would have had to surrender a first- and third-round pick.

Sproles has averaged 4.5 yards a carry during his career. He's also one of the top return specialists in the NFL.

Stadium Update 4-2-10

Source: 10news

The city of San Diego and San Diego County are on the verge of joining forces in an effort to build a new downtown stadium for the San Diego Chargers.The possible stadium would be built about four blocks from Petco Park, and now a plan is in the works to get the project done using some tax dollars but not at the expense of public safety and basic city services.Well aware of the political battle over the building of Petco Park, several elected officials have moved cautiously in whatever might be done about a new stadium for the Chargers. Just a few months ago, a consultant was hired to explore what worked in other cities and to see what would be best for San Diego. Officials found the key word to be cooperation.
The idea of building a new Chargers home next door to where the San Diego Padres play has several benefits, and sources told 10News the city and county have been working closely behind the scenes to make it happen. The infrastructure has already been upgraded and redevelopment money makes it attractive for outside investors and to neighboring governments.
"We look at the Chargers as a regional asset. Most of the fanbase comes from outside of the city of San Diego, so we would hope other agencies, particularly the county of San Diego, would be part of the process and will be partners with us," said Darren Pudgil, spokesman for San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders."Is the county working with you?" asked 10News' Steve Fiorina."Certainly open to it, yes," said Pudgil.The financing package is still to be ironed out, but it would not include any money from the city's general fund, 10News learned."We are focusing on redevelopment dollars. We wouldn't use any general fund dollars that would take away from police, fire, libraries or the park & recreation programs," said Pudgil.
It is an exciting prospect for the Centre City Development Corporation, as it looks at how well earlier projects of this nature paid off.Derek Danziger of the CCDC said, "Horton Plaza in the mid-1980s was a huge success story as a public-private partnership. Not only did it bring shopping and retail back downtown, but it stimulated the entire growth of the Gaslamp Quarter and the residential community within Marina District. You move to 2004, Petco Park. We had $311 million of assessed value expected. It's now $2 billion worth of development that's happened around there, with another $2 billion in the pipeline, completely transforming the entire neighborhood … really looking forward to what a stadium could mean to the East Village neighborhood."
CCDC would run out of money in the mid 2020s, but is also taking steps to increase its spending cap which would make things easier.The Chargers, the city, county or CCDC have not committed to this proposed plan, observers believe the stars appear to be aligning.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chargers Pre-Season Schedule Announced

Source: Chargers.com

The San Diego Chargers’ 2010 preseason schedule features games against some of the NFL’s marquee teams, including the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and the reigning Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

The San Diego Chargers’ 2010 preseason schedule features games against some of the NFL’s marquee teams, including the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and the reigning Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

The Chargers will open the preseason at home against the Bears on the weekend of Aug. 13-15. The exact date and time is to be announced.

San Diego’s high-powered offense will be put to the test by a Bears defense and six-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher. The game also will renew the rivalry between quarterbacks Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler and mark Cutler’s first game against the Chargers since being traded to Chicago in 2009. The Chargers roster features several former Bears, including recently signed cornerback Nathan Vasher, and several of San Diego’s coaches, including Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera, also spent time in the “Windy City” as members of Bears’ coach Lovie Smith’s staff. This will be the Bears’ first visit to San Diego for a preseason game since 1982.

Preseason Week 2 (Aug. 20-22) brings another exciting opponent to San Diego when former Chargers Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips leads Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys into Qualcomm Stadium. These teams met just three and a half months ago at the Cowboys’ new home in Arlington, Texas and the Chargers prevailed in a defensive struggle, 20-17. The Cowboys’ high-powered offense features Romo along with running backs Marion Barber and Felix Jones, and receivers Miles Austin and Roy Williams. Dallas’ roster also lists one of the league’s top outside linebackers in NFL sack-leader DeMarcus Ware. This will mark the second time in three years that the Cowboys will play a preseason game in San Diego. The Chargers beat Dallas, 31-17, in a preseason game in San Diego in 2008.

Again, the exact day and time of the game will be announced at a later date.

The Chargers are on the road in Preseason Week 3 when they are featured in a nationally-televised game on CBS against the reigning Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. It’s a special Friday night telecast on Aug. 27 with kickoff set for 5:00 p.m. PDT. These two teams are extremely familiar with one-another as the Saints are led by former Chargers quarterback Drew Brees and running back Reggie Bush, an alum of Helix High School (La Mesa, Calif.) and the University of Southern California. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton also has San Diego ties, having started his coaching career at San Diego State in 1988.

It is extremely rare for these two teams to meet in the preseason. In fact it will be the first time it’s happened since 1985. The Chargers and Saints had a memorable regular-season meeting in 2008, facing off in an NFL International Series Game in London, a game that wasn’t decided until late in the fourth quarter with the Saints barely prevailing, 37-32. Rivers and Brees posted nearly identical numbers in that game with Rivers passing for 341 yards and three touchdowns, while Brees threw for 339 yards and three scores of his own.

The Chargers will conclude the NFL Preseason slate against one of their oldest preseason rivals, traveling to San Francisco to meet the 49ers at Candlestick Park the weekend of Sept. 2-5. The Chargers and 49ers have met every year in the preseason since 1987 and a total of 37 times dating back to 1968. The Chargers hold a slight 19-18 edge in the series. The 49ers are one of the NFL’s up-and-coming teams, led by Head Coach and Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary and quarterback Alex Smith, a former Heisman Trophy finalist and prep teammate of Bush’s at La Mesa’s Helix High.

Exact dates and kickoff times for the Chargers preseason games against Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco will be announced in the coming weeks.

Chargers season tickets for the 2010 season are on sale. They can be purchased by calling 877-CHARGERS, visiting www.chargers.com or stopping by the Chargers’ ticket office at Gate C at Qualcomm Stadium, open Monday through Friday from 8-5 pm.