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News » San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-14

San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-14

San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-14
--DT Jamal Williams had both knees cleaned out in the offseason and he has practiced sparingly. But in a good sign for the Chargers, he played in the exhibition season opener.

--WR Vincent Jackson has had a stellar camp interrupted by missing more than a week of practices with a tender hamstring. He is expected to practice leading up to the Rams game.

--DE Luis Castillo didn't test his balky back against the Cowboys. The team keeps saying it is nothing serious.

--K Nate Kaeding worked hard on giving his right kicking leg more strength this offseason. It was evident when he nailed a 52-yard field goal and had ample length on his kickoffs.

--C Jeremy Newberry played well in a starting role. That could be the veteran's position come the regular-season opener as the availability of Nick Hardwick (foot) is questionable.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Antoine Cason vs. Cletis Gordon for the nickel starting CB job -- It looks like this remains a spot that is Cason's to lose. So far, so good for the team's top pick as it tries to blend more youth into the secondary. Cason got beat a play or two Saturday night, but he also had a great break-up of a pass. Gordon was OK, but it still seems Cason has the inside track here.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Jacob Hester vs. Darren Sproles for backup RB -- The two players combined for 23 yards on 13 carries in the first half of Saturday's 31-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the exhibition opener against most of the Cowboys' starters. It didn't clear up much of the mystery of who will get the first call behind LaDainian Tomlinson. But it did show both offer different looks. Hester is more of the bruiser going between the tackles, while it's important for the shifty Sproles to find the edges. This situation could become more muddled when Andrew Pinnock is a full-go from his knee surgery. "It's early," coach Norv Turner said. "I just want those guys to play. I want them to have a chance to compete and play. They're all good players. This is a great experience for them."

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: RB/FB Jacob Hester -- The Chargers snagged Hester in the third round, eager to plop him in the lineup quickly. It looks like they'll be able to do just that after an impressive showing in the exhibition opener. Being used as a tailback more than a fullback, Hester shows he has a nose for the goal line as he scored two touchdowns from and one and two yards. Hester is going to fill the short-yardage role this season, while likely also blocking for LaDainian Tomlinson. "I have plenty of things to work on," Hester said. "There were some holes I probably should have hit and some cuts I should have made, but it felt good to get out there and get my feet wet."

ROOKIE REPORT: CB Antoine Cason continues to shine. ... RB/FB Jacob Hester is proving he can block and run -- he's that versatile. ... RB Marcus Thomas rushed for 48 yards on 13 carries against the Cowboys. ... FB Mike Tolbert, an undrafted free agent, is opening some eyes. It'll be tough to crack the depth chart, but it's possible he could land on the developmental squad.

INJURY REPORT: TE Antonio Gates (toe) is running with the trainer in drills, but still appears to be weeks away from practicing.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson has a groin injury but it's not serious.

C Nick Hardwick (foot) could miss the season's first month.

WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring) could return to practice on Monday.

C Cory Withrow (groin) should be back soon.

DE Luis Castillo's back is not considered serious.

Also ailing are: OT Marcus McNeill (neck stinger); WR Legedu Naanee (groin); FB Andrew Pinnock (knee); and WR Billy Pittman (hamstring).

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 15, 2008

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Mike Goff Name: Mike Goff
Position: OG
Age: 32
Experience: 11 years
College: Iowa
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