Spanos and LT have a little heart-to-heart

Great article at chargers.com regarding what the Chargers need to do to get over the playoff hump that has hampered the team the past 3 seasons.  Among the options, taking a good hard look at which players/coaches would likely help the team (Darren Sproles is #1 on my list) and which may be nearing the end of their lifespan in San Diego.  Of those names, LaDainian Tomlinson tops the list.  Only time (and negotiations) will tell what the future holds for LT and others.  Already, 4 Chargers coaches have been released.

According to the NFL, Feb. 9th marks the day teams can begin releasing players, franchise players may be designated Feb. 19th, and trades can’t be made until Feb. 27th.  It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what transpires.


Congratulations Arizona Cardinals – 2008 NFC Champions!!

courtesy of Chris Graythen, Getty Images

courtesy of Chris Graythen, Getty Images

Great game Cardinals!!  Way to beat the chronically overrated Donovan McNabb!

That said, go Baltimore!!


Pathetic….They ALMOST looked as bad as Denver

Chargers 24 , Steelers 35

San Diego must have listened to everyone picking the Steelers because it looked like they bought into the whole bullcrap “Steelers mystique.” For a team that thoroughly dominated the Colts last week and winning 5 in a row up to this point, they looked like they did for the first 12 weeks of the season, committing far too many penalties and relying upon crap play-calling. At least the defense made some decent plays, but they also gave up some critical yardage and first down conversions.

I won’t mention the lousy officiating by Bill Leavy and crew.

Well, since I also write the Cardinals blog, I shall jump upon their bandwagon and hope they can win the whole thing!! 

Good luck Arizona!!


In this week’s SI

courtesy of Ben Liebenberg, nfl.com

courtesy of Ben Liebenberg, nfl.com

On page 30, there is a great article about the Chargers “road to redemption” and the fabulous game vs. Indianapolis last weekend.  The article focuses upon Philip Rivers and how his on-field persona is nothing like his true self – a quiet, devout Catholic, country boy who met his wife, Tiffany, in the 8th grade.  He is continuously humored by the replay of his heated vocal exchanges with Jay Cutler and the Colts’ fans last season.  The Chargers call him passionate and are more than happy to have him on their side.  So are we fans!  I’ve met Rivers, he is pretty quiet and kind of shy, but that was last year.  We’ve all heard him during post-game interviews.  I think he’s coming out of his shell!

Also, on page 15’s “Hot or Not”, Mike Scifres is deservedly in the “hot” column, with Nate Kaeding commenting that without Scifres’ FOUR punts pinning the Colts inside the 20 yd-line, “we don’t win.”  Interestingly, Indy’s Clint Session is opposite Scifres in the “not” column for his drive-extending face mask penalty on Darren Sproles as well as letting Sproles blaze by him for the winning TD.


A little anti-Steelers humor

This is pretty funny.  It is comment #10 at http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/rumors/post/Job-of-Steelers-offense-Don-t-blow-it-for-defen?urn=nfl,133002

10. Posted by Master H Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:28 am EST Report Abuse
TYPICAL D1CKHEAD SQUEALER FAN GAMETIME CHECKLIST:
1. Toodle-Loo Towel
2. Bright yellow sweat pants (uniform color)
3. Kordell Stewart jersey..lots of food stains
4. Terry Bradshaw lucky rubber skinhead head cover
5. Quart jar of Appalachian moonshine for toasts
6. Full pot of ‘pig bunghole’ chile
7. Mean Joe Green lifesize blow up doll to celebrate
8. 17″ suction cup black cyberskin penis to ‘luckyjackon’during tense 3rd
and long plays
9. ‘I’m with Stupid’ t-shirts for those hot husky hairy babe
girlfriends/wives to wear
10. Book of 101 ‘excuses’ why its ok to eye gouge, kick in the crotch,
blindside, target knees, and pay off the refs
11. Bee Gees Cd to set that 70’s mood back when they weren’t losers
12. Village People ‘YMCA’ karaoke for sing-a-long halftime fun


LOL Jamal

So, I was watching NFL Replay for the 3rd time this morning because I can’t seem to get enough of watching the Chargers beat the Colts and wanted to know if anyone else noticed that during the overtime coin flip, when the Chargers won the toss, Jamal Williams exclaimed, “Game over!”  Now, THERE’s some confidence for ya!!


Getting ready for the Steelers…

Next weekend the Chargers will return to the city in which they recorded the biggest win in franchise history. Their 1994 AFC Championship Game upset of the Steelers allowed the Bolts to advance to the club’s only Super Bowl appearance. – chargers.com

The Chargers are happy with the extra day of rest this week.  On Friday, the team travels to Pittsburgh, where the temperature is expected to be in the low 20s with snow, but the Chargers don’t seem to be concerned.

Both LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates reported no new pain surrounding their injuries.  LT is day-to-day, but Gates is expected to play, and his 8-reception game Saturday night his best all season.  Nate Kaeding’s thigh/groin strain doesn’t appear to give the team any concern or pause.  As for the sore and exhausted Darren Sproles, Norv Turner joked that he will remain packed on ice until Friday’s departure.

At any rate, all of the guys are excited to vindicate themselves vs. the Steelers as they did Saturday vs. Indy. 

While weather may play a factor in the passing game, with Sproles, Jacob Hester, Michael Bennett, and Mike Tolbert on the ground for San Diego – and possibly LT – I believe that they have more than a legitimate chance.  Also, don’t underestimate the power of momentum and heart.  And if the defense continues its stellar play, in addition to the amazing punting of should-have-been-elected-to-the-Pro-Bowl Mike Scifres, an upset cannot be ruled out.

GO CHARGERS!!!!


Chargers players honored

Philip Rivers was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Month for December, joining Ed Reed of Baltimore as Defensive Player of the Month, and Oakland’s Justin Miller as Special Teams Player of the Month.

Rivers led the Bolts to an undefeated month following a very shaky start – one which had many Chargers fans, including myself, writing them off early in the season.

For the month, Rivers completed 80 of 121 passes (66.1 percent) for 1,054 yards with a NFL-high 11 touchdowns and only one interception, culminating with an impressive 120.3 passer rating.  In fact, Rivers has been leading all QBs in passer rating all season.  Versus Kansas City in Week 15, Rivers was also named AFC Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Chargers’ 4th quarter rally for a 22-21 win.  In the season finale vs. Denver – a must-win game for both teams, in fact, -Rivers earned a 141.0 passer rating on 2 more TDs as the Chargers defeated the Broncos 52-21.  Rivers recorded a league-high 105.5 passer rating this seaso, while tying Drew Brees for a league-best 34 touchdowns.    

LaDainian Tomlinson was named Fed Ex Ground Player of the Week for week 17 after his 96-yds, 3 TD performance vs. Denver on 12/28, giving the Chargers the AFC West Title for the 3rd consecutive year.  Rivers earned the Fed Ex air honors in both weeks 3 and 6 as well.

Congratulations to both of them!!

(Source: chargers.com)


Great article from Yahoo sports…

‘Hot and healthy’ flies out the playoff window

Yahoo! Sports

SAN DIEGO – Tony Dungy stood in the hallway outside the visitors’ locker room at Qualcomm Stadium Saturday night, his facial expression lacking the usual serenity. Given that he had just lost an intensely contested playoff game in overtime that may turn out to be the last he ever coaches, pending his decision in the next week or so, he had every right to be more fretful than philosophical.

Yet the Indianapolis Colts coach knows from experience, good and bad, that postseason dreams are often realized and undone by a missed block or a fortuitous bounce or some other nearly imperceptible force that tips the outcome. And when asked, following his team’s 23-17 defeat to the San Diego Chargers, what he has learned after coaching 10 consecutive teams to the playoffs about how to identify a potential Super Bowl champion, Dungy managed a smile and said, “Well, it’s hard to tell, because what you have is a lot of good teams in the playoffs. Once you’re in, you can’t just play hard – you’ve got play smart as well, and you’ve got to execute.

“The bottom line is if you’re hot and healthy, it doesn’t matter where you’re seeded. Whether you’re talking about the Giants last year or us the year before or Pittsburgh before that, if you’re hot and healthy, you’ve got a real shot.”

Or, conversely, you could be the team that Dungy coached at Qualcomm, a 12-4 Colts squad with a nine-game winning streak and an MVP quarterback and virtually all of its important players in the lineup facing an 8-8 division winner with its star halfback barely functional, its star pass rusher on injured reserve and its star tight end playing on a bum wheel.

And you could still lose, in this case hot and healthy turning to done and anguished in the span of a Darren Sproles scoring sprint down the left sideline.

That’s the NFL in the 21st century, and if we learned anything from the first weekend of the 2008 playoffs – conveniently staged in 2009, just to add to the confusion – it’s that the conclusions we breathlessly draw during the four-month regular season mean very, very little when it comes down to what Jemaine and Bret from “Flight of the Conchords” would call business time.

Just ask the Baltimore Ravens, who on Sunday went on the road to defeat the Miami Dolphins in such ridiculously dominating fashion that it’s very easy to envision them joining the ‘05 Pittsburgh Steelers as a No. 6 seed that wins it all.

Or ask the sixth-seeded Philadelphia Eagles, who in Sunday’s second game smacked around the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. Philly muddled through an inconsistent regular season that included an embarrassing tie at Cincinnati, a benching of longtime quarterback Donovan McNabb that could have become permanent had second-year replacement Kevin Kolb not struggled in relief, and a lifeless 10-3 defeat to the Redskins in the second-to-last week. On the season’s final Sunday the Eagles needed upset victories by the Raiders and Texans to avoid elimination, yet upon earning an invite to the postseason, they behaved as though they were the party’s rightful hosts.

You could also ask the Arizona Cardinals, who after clinching the NFC West – their first division title in 33 years – tanked so miserably in their next two games (a 35-14 home defeat to the Vikings and a 47-7 road drubbing by the Patriots, who didn’t even make the postseason) that they were lampooned as the playoff field’s resident laughingstock. On Saturday the Cards looked sharp and fierce in subduing the 11-5 Atlanta Falcons, setting the stage for the Saturday night drama in San Diego that featured an even more impressive display by the other lightly regarded division champ from out west.

With LaDainian Tomlinson (torn groin muscle) limited to five first-half touches and tight end Antonio Gates (high ankle sprain) unable to push off with his right foot, and with outside linebacker Shawne Merriman (knee surgery) watching from the sidelines in street clothes, the Chargers made their doubters – and yes, that would be me near the front of the line, right behind Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler – do double-takes for 3½ hours.

As the gritty, inspired performance unfolded, we were forced to discard everything we thought we’d learned about the champs of the dubious AFC West in ‘08: the Chargers’ 4-8 start; the fact that they needed an onside-kick recovery in mid-December in Kansas City to stave off elimination; their 0-5 record against playoff teams and 2-7 mark in games decided by eight points or fewer.

Instead, we now recognize Sproles, a 5-6 halfback who until a playoff upset over the Colts in Indy last January was a third-stringer restricted almost exclusively to special teams, as the breakout star of the playoffs.

And we honor Mike Scifres for having, given the stakes and setting, what I would declare to be the greatest game by a punter in NFL history.

I could give you the numbers – Scifres put all six of his punts inside the Indy 20-yard line and four within five yards of the goal line; his astounding 51.7-yard net average was an NFL playoff record – but statistics alone don’t do it justice. I could tell you about the context, how Scifres’ final punt skipped out of bounds as if guided by a Norv Turner-held remote control and backed up MVP Peyton Manning at his own 1-yard line with 2:41 to go in the fourth quarter, inspiring a defensive stand that gave the Chargers one more chance to force overtime.

But what I really want to point out is that on Nate Kaeding’s 26-yard field goal that tied the game with 33 seconds left in regulation, San Diego’s Dave Binn – a 15-year veteran who may well be the best long snapper in NFL history – flipped the ball between his legs with a hauntingly low trajectory, an uncharacteristic slip that could’ve spelled disaster for San Diego and propelled Dungy’s team into the next round.

The holder who fielded it cleanly and, in one motion, placed it down so perfectly that Kaeding didn’t even realize the snap had been off-target? Ladies and gentlemen, Mike Scifres.

Then came the overtime coin toss, where hot and healthy took a backseat to lucky. The captains came to midfield, and Manning, before making the call, deferred to teammate Darrell Reid, who chose heads.

Up in a luxury suite, the quarterback’s wife felt her stomach drop.

“I don’t know why he did that,” Ashley Manning said afterward. “Peyton always picks tails.”

The coin came up tails, and 68,082 fans erupted, and San Diego defensive tackle Jamal Williams, who was also at midfield, yelled “Game over!”

It wasn’t quite that simple, but after a couple of key plays and three defensive penalties, San Diego was at the Indy 20, well within Kaeding’s range.

Now Dungy was helpless, and Turner, San Diego’s embattled coach, had a decision to make. On first-and-10 he ran Sproles off left tackle, and the halfback was slammed for a two-yard loss by linebacker Clint Session.

What next? Should Turner go ahead and send in Kaeding on second down? Should he run another play, and if so, what? There was a lot of hemming and hawing on the sidelines, and suddenly Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was in Turner’s field of vision.

“Iso! Iso! Iso!” Rivers screamed at his coach, urging Turner to call a running play that would isolate the speedy Sproles against an Indy linebacker off left end.

Turner obliged, and then Sproles was alone in space, where he burst forward and made a sweet inside cutback. Then he was in the end zone and the Chargers were in the divisional round (they’ll play the Steelers in Pittsburgh next Sunday) and Dungy, whose team won the Super Bowl as a No. 3 seed two years ago, was entering that dark decompression zone that may push him toward retirement.

“When you play football, the playoffs just drain you,” Rivers said afterward. “In other sports like baseball and basketball you get a series, and there’s a margin for error, but for us, if you lose one game, it’s just over. So yeah, anyone can win, and not everything is as it seems going in.

“We played so many close games this season where we had little things go against us – in Pittsburgh, in Denver, against Carolina – and we couldn’t overcome them. This time, we found a way. And here we are.”

And here the rest of us stand at attention, getting ready for what should be a highly entertaining divisional playoff weekend. Don’t worry if what you think you know turns out not to be so. Just sit back and enjoy.

(Source: yahoo sports)


Player Spotlight – Stud CB Antoine Cason

First of all, HI ANTOINE’S MOM!!! IT WAS NICE MEETING YOU AFTER THE GAME!!!

Second of all, here’s a pic of Antoine and me after the game (he is so cute and sweet, er, I mean tough and scary!!)  Hi Antoine….it was awesome meeting you after the game as well!!

Now, some interesting factoids about the Chargers first-round draft pick this year.

1.  Born July 9, 1986 in Long Beach, CA and attended the University of Arizona before being selected 27th overall by the Chargers.

2.  His dad, Wendell, played for the Oregon Ducks and the Atlanta Falcons (some people are just born to play, eh?!)

3.  He started as CB his freshman year at Arizona and was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week after his first game, as well as earning the title of Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.

4.  In 2006, Antoine was a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

5.  He was eligible for the NFL draft in 2006, but, instead, finished his degree and “continued his committment to turning Arizona football around.” (Mom, you should be so proud!!)

6.  Antoine won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2007, as well as being a consensus First-team All-America choice, not to mention earning All-American honors in Track and Field for the men’s 4×100 relay, finishing in the top 8 at the NCAA Championships.

7.  Highlights this season include his first INT vs. Denver in the Ed Hochuli debacle game on Sept. 14, 2008 and his first TD vs. Tampa Bay – a beautiful 59-yd INT pick-6.  In Saturday’s playoff game vs. Indy, he recorded 5 big tackles.

I can’t wait to see the career Antoine will have in San Diego.  He is truly a special person and player!!

(Sources: nfl.com, wikipedia.com)


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