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  • Rivers' playing time churns speculation

    Rivers' playing time churns speculation
    Chargers QB could get prime work vs. Seattle
    By Jim Trotter
    August 26, 2004

    CARSON – Oliver Stone, where are you when Chargers fans need you most?

    Conspiracy theorists were out in droves yesterday after coach Marty Schottenheimer announced that rookie quarterback Philip Rivers "might" get some work with the first team in tomorrow's exhibition game against the Seattle Seahawks in Qualcomm Stadium.

    Rivers, the fourth selection overall in April's NFL draft, missed 25 days and 29 practices while at a contract impasse with the club. But that didn't stop Schottenheimer from saying the former North Carolina State standout could cut into Drew Brees' playing time tomorrow.

    Might this be a prelude to Rivers starting the season opener Sept. 12 at Houston, even though he has completed just four practices since joining the team on Monday?

    Schottenheimer cautioned not to read between the lines, even though he has yet to name a starter and refused to rule out Rivers when asked about the possibility Monday. For one thing, this is one week, one exhibition game.

    "He's done a nice job here, so my expectation is that he'll play (tomorrow)," Schottenheimer said.

    The second half?

    "I haven't really made that decision," Schottenheimer said. "He might even get in earlier than that.

    "If we do it in the second quarter, I wouldn't think it would be with all the starters. At this point we kind of have groups. There's not a dramatic difference, maybe, between first (team) and second, as we speak."

    Rivers seemed surprised when told he would play not only in the second half, but possibly as early as the second quarter. Teams generally play their starters into the third quarter of the third exhibition game, then rest them in the fourth and final exhibition game to guard against injury.

    "Really?" Rivers said when told of Schottenheimer's comments about playing time. "Great. I think they know I'm pretty much up to speed, as far as all the run checks and all that stuff."

    Rivers acknowledged he's not as comfortable as he will be tomorrow, or a week from now, or a month from now. He said that will come with time. The goal is to reach the point where everything feels as if it's second nature and he can act instead of react.

    Like some outsiders, a few teammates arched their eyebrows when they learned Rivers might play in the second quarter. They too wondered whether to read anything into the situation.

    Management spent the offseason saying it had to upgrade the quarterback position after Brees, who ranked 15th among 16 AFC quarterbacks in passer rating last year, was benched for five games and pulled from two others.

    Rivers started an NCAA-record 51 games in four seasons at N.C. State, completing 1,087-of-1,710 passes for 13,484 yards and 95 touchdowns, with 34 interceptions.

    What will it mean if Rivers has a stellar performance against the Seahawks? Schottenheimer chuckled at the question. If nothing else, it will be a positive situation for the Chargers, because teams can never have enough depth at quarterback.

    Brees has been good in two exhibition starts this year, completing 24-of-35 passes for 328 yards and a touchdown, with one interception. His passer rating of 105.4 ranks 10th in the league.

    The cynic would say Brees should be playing well at this point. He's a third-year starter going against vanilla defenses. While true on a certain level, the bottom line is that he has produced when called on.

    But one possible concern is that Brees is 0-for-3 passing on third-down attempts in the red zone. He struggled in that area last season, and Schottenheimer reiterated after Saturday's win at Arizona that the offense has to improve in that area.

    At 6-foot-5 and 228 pounds, Rivers is 5 inches taller and 19 pounds heavier than Brees. Some believe that could allow him not only to see the field better, but also to be more stout in the pocket when facing a rush.

    Let the games begin? In some ways, they already have.

  • #2
    Re: Rivers' playing time churns speculation

    So, you miss most, if not all, of training camp and this is the repayment? What a joke, I'll be cheering for Drew Brees to show up the rookie.

    Too bad the Chargers started with such outrageous contract demands or this guy would have been in camp sooner.


    • #3
      Re: Rivers' playing time churns speculation

      Typical Charger decision making with regard to their quarterbacks. They're still feeling the effects of the Ryan Leaf curse.


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        Chargers still mulling choice between Brees and Rivers
        by Nick
        Chargers still mulling choice between Brees and Rivers
        By: JAY PARIS - Staff Writer

        SAN DIEGO ---- In the city where "The Catch" became famous, Philip Rivers hopes to snag "The Job." Tonight's matchup between the Chargers (1-2) and the ***** (0-3) at San Francisco features more drama than most exhibition finales. Rivers, the draft's fourth pick, and incumbent Drew Brees are leaning toward the tape to be declared the winner of the team's quarterback derby.

        Coach Marty Schottenheimer continues to state that the position is up for grabs, despite the fact that Rivers missed 29 practices and two preseason games in a contract dispute.

        Rivers, who counts ***** great Joe Montana ---- he threw the ball to Dwight Clark in the NFC championship game following the 1981 season, resulting in "The Catch" ---- among his idols, aims to land a title bestowed upon only 32 men: NFL starting quarterback.

        "I actually pulled for the ***** a little bit because of Montana," Rivers said. "Joe Montana was obviously one of my favorites growing up. They were good then, and you always pull for a proven winner."

        Much like the Chargers, the ***** haven't struck gold of late. If nothing else, they know their starting quarterback is Tim Rattay. The Chargers? Their key training camp question remains unresolved a little more than a week before the season opener.

        "Obviously, the faster (Schottenheimer) makes the decision, or announces it, the better," said Brees, whose summer passing numbers are 26-of-40 for 361 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. "I'm not sure where he is on that. I hope I know where he's going, but I don't."

        Rivers' destination is clear-cut: he's the future of a franchise that is eager to escape its recent past.

        But just how soon he's crowned the offensive leader is to be determined, with tonight serving as the final audition.

        "I'm always confident going into a game, but I definitely have more confidence than I did last week," said Rivers, who was 5-of-14 for 79 yards, with two interceptions. "I only had three days (of practice) before my first game.

        "This game, I feel I already know what the game is kind of going to be like. The first game is out of the way, so that, plus mentally, I feel more prepared with what we are doing."

        Rivers got off to a hot start on Friday ---- three straight completions ---- then returned to earth with a resounding thud: seven straight incompletions, including two interceptions and two sacks.

        But Rivers chalks up the outing as part of his learning process.

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        -09-02-2004, 10:00 PM
      • Keenum
        Chargers Starts to Play First Half Against Rams
        by Keenum
        Turner likes team’s physical play, mistakes are "correctable"

        When Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner popped in the tape of Sunday night’s preseason opener, he saw several plays that made him smile, a few mistakes that made him shake his head and a handful of missed opportunities that left him feeling encouraged.

        “It was good for us to go out and play,” Turner said. “I wanted to be a physical team. We were extremely physical. I wanted to see our young guys who have been going good in camp step up and show what they’re going to be able to give us and play fast. I thought a lot of our young players played fast. I didn’t want to see certainly the mistakes that we had, but after looking at it, they’re correctable. They’re things we’ll go to work on tomorrow when we start practice.”

        The evidence of the Chargers’ physicality can be found in the rushing statistics. The Chargers gained 124 yards on 22 carries, an impressive average of 5.6 yards per carry. However, Turner pointed to the first series run by his first-team offense as an example of how his team needs to improve. That series saw Philip Rivers and company move the ball 45 yards in just four snaps, but a holding penalty on the fourth left the Chargers on the Seattle 41-yard line instead of the 31.

        “It nullifies a 13-yard run,” Turner said. “Those are things we can correct; things we have to correct. The physical part of that play, that’s as well run a play as any we had. There were a number of plays in that game, particularly early, that demonstrated the difference is so small between having a successful play, having a big play and having a negative play.

        He also pointed out Drayton Florence’s interception that was called back.

        “He makes the right play,” Turner said. “He hooks the receiver a little bit. He doesn’t need to. He’s in great position. Obviously there are times when that gets called and there are times when he gets away with it. But he makes a great play on the ball. That’s the kind of play that gives you a great start early in the game.”

        Turner believes some of the issues were also young players being put in positions they haven’t been in before. Late last week, Tony Pape was moved from tackle to guard because of injury.

        “Two of the sacks that we had are a result of him not handling a ‘game’ (by Seattle’s defensive linemen),” Turner said. “ With three more days at right guard before we play in St. Louis, hopefully he’ll have a better understanding of what he’s being asked to do.”

        Chargers players were given the day off Monday. They’ll resume practice Tuesday afternoon and will have just three full days of work before they leave Friday for St. Louis. Turner believes that his squad will make the adjustments necessary to have a strong showing against the Rams.

        “I’ve always believed that Week 1 to Week 2 in the preseason and the regular...
        -08-14-2007, 06:08 PM
      • Nick
        Chargers Rumble to Win - Wagoner
        by Nick
        Chargers Rumble to Win
        Sunday, August 21, 2005

        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        SAN DIEGO – While the Rams saw a lot of things to like from their first-team offense, the amount of horrifying defensive flashbacks canceled out most happy feelings.

        San Diego used a dominant performance from its starting offense to build an early lead that the Rams couldn’t overcome on its way to a 36-21 win at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The loss dropped the Rams to 1-1 in the preseason and the Chargers improved to 1-1.

        It didn’t take long for San Diego to impose its will as running back LaDainian Tomlinson set the tone for a big first half with a 55-yard touchdown run. Both teams used their starters for the first half with the exception of Tomlinson.

        San Diego’s starters racked up 257 yards in the first half, 139 of those came on just 11 carries for an average of over 12 yards per carry. The Chargers’ running attack was reminiscent of the Rams-Falcons NFC Divisional Playoff game in January when Atlanta shredded St. Louis’ defense on the ground.

        The Rams’ offense did what it could to get back in it, driving for a pair of touchdowns. But the air attack of quarterback Marc Bulger and Co. couldn’t keep up with San Diego’s ground game.

        Check back to later tonight for full game coverage.


        -Bryan Barker kicked his first punt as a Ram and it was a beauty. It hung in the air long enough for the coverage to get there and it bounced inside the 10. It’s a shame it was wasted by a penalty on Mike Furrey for running out of bounds and touching the ball first. There were about five others that could have touched that ball inside the 5.

        -With about 12:50 to go, Brian Howard got a nice push off the left side, but leave it to Brandon Green to finish the job for a sack. Green continues to take full advantage of his opportunities and his chances for landing a roster spot continue to improve.

        -Terrell starts these games out OK, but he is not in good enough shape yet to play a full game at a high level. That’s a big part of the reason he is playing the whole game, so that he can learn through experience.

        -Cleo Lemon is the new quarterback for the Chargers. That isn’t of much importance, but it’s fun to see his name in print.

        -Clifford Dukes sacked Lemon with about seven minutes to go. Dukes isn’t a bad player, but he seems like too much of a tweener to find a home in St. Louis. He isn’t out of the question for a practice squad spot, though.

        -More pressure from Green on the quarterback. The pass was completed, but Green is still all over the place.

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      • eldfan
        Rams' offense remains ineffective
        by eldfan
        By Jim Thomas

        Those looking for positive signs from the Rams didn't have much to hang their helmets on in Saturday's exhibition game against San Diego.

        The first-team offense, albeit minus running back Steven Jackson, was held off the scoreboard. The first-team defense was so-so at best against the potent Chargers running game. And special teams sprang several leaks, including one tidal wave: an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown by Darren Sproles.

        It all added up to a 30-13 loss to the Chargers that must have left the Rams' coaching staff thankful that it's still only August.

        "There's not a whole of positives in the loss," coach Scott Linehan said. "I'm sure when we watch the film (Sunday) ... there's going to be some things we're going to look at and say, 'That wasn't so bad.' But right now, it's hard to put a lot of positive spin on it."

        With their starting offenses on the field, San Diego and the Rams both advanced the ball twice into enemy territory in three possessions.

        The difference? San Diego converted its first such possession into a touchdown. The Rams, meanwhile, lost the ball on turnovers on both of their possessions. And that pretty much was the difference in Saturday's exhibition contest played in a half-empty Edward Jones Dome — that, and San Diego's punt return for a touchdown.

        Keep in mind that neither team's Pro Bowl running back touched the football Saturday. The Rams' Steven Jackson, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage a year ago, was in for only one snap. The Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson, who finished No. 2 in yards from scrimmage last season, was not in uniform.

        The Rams nickeled and dimed their way down field after taking the opening kickoff. Despite no play gaining more than 9 yards, the Rams advanced the ball to the Chargers 26, where they had a first down with just over 8 minutes to go in the opening quarter. But after taking a short pass from Marc Bulger, Madison Hedgecock had the ball stripped by San Diego linebacker Shaun Phillips. Shawne Merriman recovered the fumble for the Chargers.

        Linehan looked at the replay not once, but twice, on the big scoreboard screen in the dome before tossing his red flag. But Linehan's replay challenge was unsuccessful.

        In any event, San Diego made the most of the turnover, marching 71 yards for a touchdown. Tomlinson's understudy, Michael Turner, had gains of 17 and 9 yards on the drive, with linebacker Will Witherspoon and cornerback Tye Hill missing tackles that could have shortened each gain considerably. ST. LOUIS RAMS
        Wide receiver Vincent Jackson scored the touchdown on a 5-yard reception from Philip Rivers with 1:48 left in the first quarter. Jackson came down with only one foot in bounds, but members of referee Larry Nemmers' officiating...
        -08-19-2007, 08:38 AM
      • r8rh8rmike
        Rams Aren't Fooled By Chargers' 2-3 Record
        by r8rh8rmike
        Rams aren't fooled by Chargers' 2-3 record

        Thursday, October 14, 2010

        The San Diego Chargers are first in NFL total offense, second in total defense, yet tied for last in the AFC West. How can this be?

        "You look at the numbers on offense and defense and you figure they're a 5-0 football team," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "And I'm sure they're disappointed in that. But we're treating them as a 5-0 football team because they're really good."

        The Chargers actually are 2-3, and in large part because their special teams have been a disaster area:

        • Kansas City's Dexter McCluster returned a punt 94 yards for a touchdown against them in the season opener, a 21-14 San Diego loss.

        • Two weeks later, Seattle's Leon Washington returned two kickoffs for TDs in a 27-20 defeat.

        • Last week, two blocked punts resulted directly in nine Oakland points in a 35-27 loss to the Raiders.

        All three of those contests took place on the road. San Diego has been a different beast at home, winning those two games by a combined score of 79-23. So the Rams can only hope San Diego's special teams and road woes continue for one more week, what with the Chargers visiting the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday in a noon kickoff.

        "I'm quite sure they're going to come in here with a mindset to win, especially the way we performed last week," defensive tackle Clifton Ryan said. "They're going to come in here a pretty confident bunch."

        The Rams were humbled in Detroit 44-6, with the 38-point defeat tying for the seventh-worst loss in 73 seasons of Rams football. They're hoping to get back in their comfort level in the dome, where they've won the past two contests.

        "After a tough road loss it's good that we get to come back home where we seem to be a little more comfortable," cornerback Ron Bartell said. "So it'll be good to get back in the dome in front of the fans. Hopefully, they'll get loud enough to give (Philip) Rivers some trouble when he's out on the field."

        Be it fans, team mascots, or opposing defenses, not many have given Rivers and the San Diego offense much trouble this season. A disciple of the "Air Coryell" offense pioneered by the late Don Coryell and popularized by the Washington Redskins of Joe Gibbs, the Dallas Cowboys of Aikman, Irvin, and Smith, and the Mike Martz Rams, veteran Chargers coach Norv Turner remains one of the game's best play callers.

        "They're scary to watch on film," Spagnuolo said. "I'm sure they'll be scary to watch live. Norv does a great job. He's been doing it for a lot of years in this league. I remember when I was in Philly and him and (defensive coordinator) Jim Johnson would go head to head. They were some great battles to watch. I've...
        -10-15-2010, 04:39 PM