Up and Comer: Vincent Jackson

Courtesy of i2.chargers.com/assets/162/31185_282wh.jpg

Did you know?  (Some factoids about WR Vincent Jackson.)

1.  Played basketball in high school in Colorado Springs, CO where he earned the nickname “Frisbee” because of his speed.

2.  Chose to attend the University of Northern Colorado after being recruited.

3.  Was selected 61st overall by the Chargers in the 2005 draft — the highest selection ever for a UNC player.

4.  Caught the game-winning TD pass from Rivers in Seattle on Christmas Eve 2006 to give the Chargers 13 wins, a franchise record (a win the following week against the Cardinals earned them a 14-2 record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.)  Jackson had 6 TDs that season.

5.  Unanimous consensus among Fantasy magazines and websites that he would have a breakout year this season.

6.  His mother, based in Colorado, and grandma, based in Arizona, try to travel to all of his games.  They don’t like the Denver home games.

7.  He signed my Chargers tattoo after the 8/25 preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals this year.

Signed tattoo

(Sources:  wikipedia.org, sports.aol.com, nfl.com)


Week 8 Post-game, Houston @ San Diego

San Diego, 35 — Houston, 10

Kudos to the Chargers DST today, in particular Antonio Cromartie, the Chargers 1st pick last year, for 2 INTs, one for a TD, plus the recovered fumble in the end zone for a TD.  Philip Rivers never looked more comfortable in the pocket, and no wonder since he only attempted a total of 11 passes for 130 yds and 3 huge TDs.  LaDainian Tomlinson, a huge factor 2 weeks ago against Oakland was held to just 90 yds today and no scores; but he wasn’t needed.  Antonio Gates caught 2 TDs and newcomer Chris Chambers got his 1st TD as a Charger.  To round out the highlights, Eric Weddle intercepted Sage Rosenfels at the Texans’ 10-yd line with just over a minute left to end the game.

This victory extends the Chargers’ win streak to 3 games, bringing them to 4-3 on the season; tied atop the AFC West with Kansas City who currently holds the tiebreaker.

Chargers/Texans

 

 


Chargers/Texans Week 8 Pre-Game Report

After being displaced by the wildfires, the Chargers finished up their training in Phoenix and have returned to San Diego to play as scheduled against the Houston Texans Friday.  The mayor of San Diego notifed the league that the stadium would be ready for the matchup as scheduled, and the NFL and Chargers organization decided it was a go.

But irrelevant to the venue, both teams are on a must-win mission.  San Diego needs a win, which would be their third straight, to stay atop the AFC West with Kansas City, who has a bye this week.  The surprising Texans need a win to keep them close to their division-leading team, the undefeated Indianapolis Colts.

With the addition of Chris Chambers, Houstons’ defense has yet another offensive weapon to cover, and there is not enough of a secondary to be able to contain Chambers, Jackson, Gates, or even LaDainian Tomlinson.  As long as the Chargers’ offensive line protects Rivers, he has many outlets from which to choose.

The key for Houston is to contain LT; however, this would extend to Michael Turner as well.  Even with Nick Hardwick out for a couple of weeks, replacement center Cory Withrow is more than adequate in protecting his quarterback.  The Texans also need to establish a running game — something quite difficult to do against a Chargers defense which is 6th against the rush.  Therefore, they will need to establish a passing game, and a lot of this depends on whether Matt Schaub will be healthy to play.  Backup Sage Rosenfels did well in the 4th quarter last week in a close loss to Tennessee; however he did throw 3 INTs in addition to his 4 TDs (interestingly, tying Joe Montana, Ken Stabler, and Vinnie Testaverde for the only QBs in history to throw 4 TDs in the 4th quarter.)  San Diego is currently tied for 13th in the league with 7 INTs.

Hopefully, the Chargers will be able to overcome the events of this past week, of worries and stress, and be able to focus on the game.

(Sources:  nfl.com, Chargers.com)


Chargers Return Home

After wildfires in San Diego chased the Chargers to Phoenix, AZ where they practiced this week at the Cardinals’ Training Facility in Tempe, they are on their way home to host the Houston Texans, as originally scheduled at Qualcomm Stadium.  San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders notified both the Chargers organization and the NFL that the stadium would be ready should they decide to play there. 

Most of the 10,000 evacuees have left Qualcomm, either going home or to better evacuation centers, as the stadium was going to close Friday.  Cooler and more humid weather entered the region assisting firefighters with their attempts.  Several crews from adjoining states and Mexico have assisted local efforts.

Mayor Sanders has assured everyone involved that there will be enough public safety personnel at the game, which will not impact the continued efforts to extinguish the blazes.

Merriman

(Shawne Merriman paying homage to San Diego’s firefighters.)


Week 8 Injury Report

Nick Hardwick remains inactive with a foot injury sustained in week 6 against the Raiders. He is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Jamal Williams did not practice after having a double knee arthroscopy. His return in week 8 is questionable at this time. Craig “Buster” Davis (ankle) and Drayton Florence (knee) were limited in practice.

For Houston, Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Ahman Green, and DeMeco Ryans were limited in practice. Kris Brown, Kasey Studdard, and Jeff Zgonina did not practice. Should Schaub not play, backup Sage Rosenfels (who had a great showing last week) would get the start. Andre Johnson may return from a lingering knee injury which has kept him sidelined since week 2.


Chargers v. Texans Game Venue Still Undecided

With the winds dying down a bit and firefighters getting a little better handle on the fires, the Chargers may be able to play at home Sunday, as originally scheduled.  About one-third of the 15,000 evacuees staying at Qualcomm have been able to return to their homes, and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has been evaluating the needs of the evacuees still there before making a final determination.

Even if Qualcomm is empty by Sunday, the air-quality still remains an issue. 

Source:  Acee, Kevin.  “Indications are Bolts won’t bolt Qualcomm.”  San Diego Union-Tribune.


Class Act: Cory Withrow

Backup center Cory Withrow had a “long and winding road” to follow before he became a Charger.  An all-state tackle on both sides of the ball in high school, he passed on a partial scholarship to Eastern Washington to walk on with the Rose Bowl Champion Washington State Huskies where he snapped the ball to none other than Ryan Leaf, drafted by San Diego in 1998, the second overall pick behind Peyton Manning.

Thanks to Leaf’s “meltdown”, the Chargers 2000 season was miserable — 1-15 — the sole victory at home against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs.  (I was at that game, the crowd was very excited!)  As a result, San Diego earned the #1 draft pick in 2001, where they traded with the Atlanta Falcons, letting Atlanta pick Michael Vick while the Chargers went after LaDainian Tomlinson.  The rest is history, for both Vick and Tomlinson.

When illustrated to Withrow, he laughs, claiming that “it makes me look a lot more important than I really am.”

Prior to coming to San Diego, Withrow played for the Vikings for 3 years, a team the Chargers will be playing in Minneosta in Week 9.  Withrow knows his role, in his words as a backup for “a Pro Bowl center” — a role he’s happy to do.  He knows Hardwick will be out a couple of weeks, and he really would like to start in Minnesota.

Cory Withrow

Source:  Posner, Jay.  “Chargers Can Thank Withrow for Leaf, LT?” San Diego Union Tribune.)


Wildfires in San Diego Send Chargers to Arizona

Exactly 4 years ago this week, San Diego County was ravaged by wildfires.  Now, they are battling another deadly round of wildfires, along with 7 other Southern California counties, including star-studded Malibu, caused by Santa Ana winds and, in one case, possible arson.

I lived in San Diego 4 years ago.  It was a nightmare unlike anything else I had ever experienced.

As a result, Qualcomm Stadium has been turned into a refugee camp of sorts for the hundreds, if not thousands, of people evacuated from their homes.  The fires are threatening several areas of the county, including portions of Poway, where many players reside.

The Chargers organization has announced that Tuesday, Oct. 23rd, they will be flying into Phoenix, AZ to practice at the Cardinals training facility in Tempe.  As the Cardinals have a bye this week, they were more than happy to oblige, just like they did last year when fires forced a Monday night game between the Chargers and the Dolphins to be relocated to Arizona.  If the fires aren’t extinguished soon, the Chargers home game vs. the Houston Texans might fall subject to the same, and be held at the new Cardinals Stadium.

Understandably, many players are anxious, including 2006 MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, who was one of 40 members of the organization forced to evacuate.

Governor Schwarzenegger deployed over 1500 troops to San Diego to assist firefighters, as well as calling President Bush to have a state of emergency declared in Southern California.

(Sources:  “Schwarzenegger Deploys Troops to Battle Fires.”  news.com.au

“LT and other chargers among wildfire evacuees; practice cancelled.” The Canadian Press

Pearce, Casey. “Chargers to practice in Arizona.” Chargers.com)


Revisiting the Past

Leave it to LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates and Kris Dielman to come up with this.

Some friendly conversation turned into reminiscing about the ‘good ole days’ and last Thursday’s practice found the team in their old college jerseys.  Fun was had by all, particularly for Gates who wore his #44 Kent State basketball jersey and safety Clinton Hart, a center fielder for the Central Florida Community College Patriots, as neither played college football.

The favorites, as judged by their teammates, were WR Kassim Osgood’s San Diego State #1 jersey and CB Quentin Jammer’s Texas #6.  When Norv Turner was asked about the absence of his University of Oregon jersey, he replied, “…the moths got it about 10 years ago.”

Practice ended with some testosterone-enducing relay races; the most entertaining one between FB Lorenzo Neal and OT Marcus McNeill, who is 13 years younger, 8 inches taller, and 80 lbs heavier than his teammate.  McNeill won easily and plans to challenge Tomlinson in the near future.

(Source:  Pearce, Casey.  “Chargers all smiles as long weekend arrives.  Chargers.com.)


Chargers Injury Report, Week 7

Center Nick Hardwick left last week’s game against Oakland early in the 1st quarter with a sprained right foot, confirmed via MRI.  Cory Withrow entered the game, played well, and will fill in for Hardwick as he could be out 3-4 weeks.

DT Jamal Williams is happy for the bye week as he had a double-knee arthroscopy to remove some loose debris which had hobbled the pro-bowler in practices.  He is hoping to start in Week 8 when the Chargers host Houston.

WR Eric Parker, who broke his big toe in mini camp in June is seeking a second opinion.  After his surgery in August, both he and the Chargers expected him to be out ten weeks.  Well, ten weeks later and….

(Source:  www.nfl.com/fantasy/playernews)