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News » San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-03

San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-03

San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-03
The Chargers could be getting taxed at the safety position with Clinton Hart nursing a neck injury and Steve Gregory rebounding from a shoulder ailment as well.

What that means is Paul Oliver, a second-year pro, could get some extended playing time if either of the ailing Chargers aggravates his injury.


--RB LaDainian Tomlinson has rushed for more yards (1,815) and scored more touchdowns (21) against the Raiders than against any other foe.

--TE Antonio Gates' production continues to dwindle, as he has gone three games without a touchdown catch.

--LG Kris Dielman is back practicing after missing Sunday's game and Monday's workout with the flu.

--WR Chris Chambers had only one catch Sunday and hasn't scored a touchdown since Oct. 5 in Miami. He missed two games in that span with an ankle injury.

--QB Philip Rivers didn't have a touchdown pass last week, but he still has a career-high 23 this season. He needs 10 more to tie Dan Fouts' team mark.

--OLB Shaun Phillips' production continues to baffle those thinking he was an elite pass rusher. In the past seven games, Phillips has half of a sack.

--RB Darren Sproles had six carries against the Dolphins on Oct. 5. Since, he hasn't had more than three carries in a game, and he has only three total in his last three games.

GAME PLAN: The Chargers have gone to a pass-first mentality, but that might not be the way to attack the Raiders defense. Instead, the team could go to a throw-back mentality, when its running game was among the best in the league.

The Raiders are having issues stopping the run, and it figures they will encounter a ticked-off LaDainian Tomlinson. He had only 24 rushing yards in Sunday's loss to the Falcons and will be bent on showing he and the team aren't yet finished.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Chargers passing game, which struggled in the last game to get the wideouts involved, vs. Raiders pass defense, which is ranked No. 8 and paced by CB Nnamdi Asomugha, considered one of the top players at his position. The Chargers need to stretch the field not only to get their wideouts in the mix but also to loosen up room underneath for runs by LaDainian Tomlinson and routes for TE Antonio Gates. But QB Philip Rivers completed only one pass to WRs Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson in the loss to Atlanta. Rivers will try to change that, but he has to do it by going into the teeth of the Oakland defense. The Raiders have 13 interceptions, with nine players collecting at least one. Rivers has 10 interceptions this year, but he hasn't had one since throwing his fourth in a two-game span on Nov. 16 in Pittsburgh.

Chargers run defense, which was punched for 141 yards in the last game, vs. the Raiders running game, which features rookie Darren McFadden. The Chargers had kept opponents under 92 rushing yards in three of the previous four games before being pushed around Sunday by the Falcons, who ran for 141 yards. If the Chargers can squash the run, it would put more pressure on inconsistent QB JaMarcus Russell. And if the Chargers can't stop the run, it figures to give the Raiders a better chance in staying in the game. The Raiders don't want to get into a shootout with the Chargers, as Oakland is ranked 30th in points per game and 32nd on third-down conversions. That latter statistic reveals that the Raiders aren't getting the necessary yards on the early downs to stay out of third-and-longs.

Chargers running game, led by LaDainian Tomlinson, vs. Raiders run defense, which is ranked No. 29 in the NFL. In his last game, Tomlinson got to go against Atlanta's 30th-ranked run defense. But the result wasn't what was expected, as Tomlinson rushed for 24 yards, the second-lowest total of his stellar career. This is too big of a matchup for the Chargers to overlook, although their running game is a shadow of what it once was. With the return of RG Kris Dielman to the lineup, the Chargers could have more luck running the ball after being stopped time and again by the Falcons. The Raiders will counter with an aggressive linebacker unit led by Kirk Morrison and his team-high 101 tackles. It marks the fourth consecutive season Morrison has reached the century mark.

INJURY IMPACT: DE Luis Castillo (groin) worked Tuesday and will be able to play Thursday.

FB Mike Tolbert (shoulder) didn't work Tuesday, and he will be down again this week.

DT Jamal Williams rested on Tuesday; he will start Thursday.

S Clinton Hart (neck) didn't practice but will try to work Wednesday. He said he will play Thursday.

OLB Marques Harris (hamstring) didn't practice, and he could be out this week. Harris has battled the injury for most of the year.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 3, 2008

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Kris Dielman Name: Kris Dielman
Position: G
Age: 27
Experience: 6 years
College: Indiana
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